The Zebra Safari is essentially the culmination of a 15-year dream for 36-year-old Christian Figenschou, a writer and editor, and divorced father of two young girls.
Ever since he could remember, Christian has wanted to travel overland across Africa. For the past 10 years he has wanted to combine this dream with his passion, which is collecting and restoring vintage Volkswagen buses.
Earlier this year Christian's dotcom employer closed down suddenly and he realised it was time to live his dream, and he set about preparing himself and the Zebra Bus for the journey.
Christian and his former girlfriend Brigid built the Zebra Bus a year ago for the 2000 Africa Beetle Rally. The Zebra Bus is a vintage split-windscreen VW Kombi. The couple bought the scrap bus, stripped it, and completely refurbished it over a period of just five weeks, finishing the car in the nick of time for the start of the rally.
With some 15 years of experience with old air-cooled Volkswagens, Christian is confident he has the knowledge and mechanical abilities to nurse such an ancient vehicle on such a long and arduous journey.
In preparing for his African adventure, Christian was ready to go it alone, but he did want some travelling companions.
At this stage Christian became romantically involved with Gisela Seidel, with whom he had been friendly for about a year. Christian was determined to go on his journey, and wondered what would happen to the blossoming relationship, when Gisela quit her job and committed herself to joining him on the Zebra Safari.
Gisela is a 31-year-old TV producer. Although she holds a BSc degree in home economics from Stellenbosch university, she had spent the past six years working in the advertising industry. She, too, had harboured a dream to drive across Africa and jumped at the opportunity.
With Gisela on board the travel plans took on a new momentum. She acquired a pair of sponsored digital video cameras and, what started out as one man's private quest, became the seeds of a film-making expedition.
Around this time 21-year-old Shaun Woolf heard of Christian's plans and was immediately interested. Shaun and Christian had met early in 2000 while attending a life-skills training course, and the two had developed an instant bond. Shaun comes from a family of travellers, and there is always someone away from home on some or other journey. One of his dreams is to travel the whole world, and he had been planning a backpacking tour of Europe when one of his travelling companions backed out; the Africa trip presented itself at just the right moment.
With Shaun having joined the Zebra Safari, it was only a matter of time before his girlfriend Gina Meneghelli joined the party.
Gina, also 21, is a quiet, gentle woman from a closeknit Italian family. She studied a year of psychology after leaving school, but did not enjoy it, and has been travelling since.
With the travelling party now four, the Zebra Safari is now set up for some interesting interpersonal dynamics. All four of the travelling companions are on a path of personal development and spiritual growth, which is part of the reason why they have come together on this journey. How the journey plays itself out will be a fascinating story both for the participants and viewers of their video footage.