Posted by: wildsidezambia | January 27, 2013

Spice Girl joins BBC’s Celebrity Challenge on the Zambezi


Dara O'Briain practising in the UK - he ain't seen nothing yet... (ph: Daily Telegraph)

Dara O’Briain practising in the UK – he ain’t seen nothing yet… (ph: Daily Telegraph)

Starting today, six well known Brits take on ‘Hell & High Water’, a 5 day, 68-mile stretch of the great African river in aid of ‘Red Nose Day’ Comic Relief. Melanie C, Phillips Idowu, the Olympic triple-jumper, comedians Dara O’Briain (one of the ‘Three Men in a Boat’) and Jack Dee as well as the Radio One DJ Greg James and actress Chelsee Healey are all household names in the UK.

They hope their efforts will help raise £1m to help educate children in Zambia.

Peter Kermers’ sturdy and fast 12 seater safari boat, the African Finfoot, is accompanying the trip as one of the safety boats. On day three the team will pass in front of Kayube, and flags and banners are ready to cheer the celebs and the entourage on.

The Zambezi river trip will be ‘self-powered’, with the team required to paddle for up to 18 miles each day. Each night will be spent wild camping by the banks of the river in a stretch of water that is known to have hippo and crocodiles, as well as poisonous snakes.

“If I had to choose between encountering a hippo and a black mamba, it would probably be the mamba – at least there I could try ducking it or avoiding it,” O’Briain said. “There is no antidote to being bitten by a hippo, put it that way.”

According to pre-trip publicity, the team “will push themselves to the limit… battling torrential downpours and negotiating rapids officially known as ‘Gnashing Jaws of Death’, ‘The Washing Machine’ and ‘Oblivion’.” The journey culminates near the Victoria Falls, the world’s largest waterfall in terms of the amount of falling water.

Despite the fearsome billing, there is one aspect of the trip that O’Briain, also the presenter of Stargazing Live, is anticipating in particular. “The whole thing seems so overwhelming at the moment, it’s difficult to say what’s most exciting – but in the evening I am looking forward to looking up at some proper open skies.”

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