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Reserve Forces & Cadets Association
Northern Ireland



11 September 2016

Ex AFRICAN DRIVE is a support phase to prepare all vehicles that an infantry battle group use on training in Kenya. The vehicles range from quads with trailers, through to fuel and water tankers as well as generators.

Myself plus 5 others volunteered for this exercise, 4 Reservists from Royal Logistic Corps (RLC) units and 1 Reservist from the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME). We all met at Heathrow Airport for the 8 hr flight to Kenya.

When we arrived we were met and directed through immigration and customs, then we got on the transport to Kifaru Camp, Nairobi before travelling on to our base location at Nanuyki Show Ground (NSG). On arrival at NSG we were met by the MTO and given a quick brief before heading off to our accommodation which was located at LAB-E about 3 miles from NSG. This is where most of the vehicles are inspected and maintained and would be our base for the duration of the exercise.

It was not all work and no play; we also had the opportunity to go on safari and check out the local wildlife. The safari took us to a local conservation area where we saw all of the big six animals you try to see when in Africa. One of the highlights of the trip was getting close to a white rhino, and seeing all the other animals in their natural environment and how it is possible for the local farmers to tend their flocks while coexisting with all these wild animals. The trip to the animal orphanage was a great day and it enabled you to get close to animals you would not have thought possible; playing football with a cheetah and being able to stroke it was a once in lifetime opportunity.

(Monument to last rhino killed by poachers)

If like me you thought that being in Kenya was going to be hot and sweaty and you only brought summer clothes you would be quite shocked to find that, being on the Equator at 6000ft above sea level, it gets quite cold and it rains nearly every day - not that in any of the briefing packs does it warn you about the weather.                

(The Equator Line)

Ex AFRICAN DRIVE is a fantastic opportunity to deploy in a very different support role and undertake new challenges. Being able to go on safari, and see animals in the wild, was an extra bonus and hugely rewarding.  

Article by SSgt DaveThomas, 40 Signal Squadron, 32 Signal Regiment