It begins, next Wednesday, in Bujumbura. The President of Burundi will flag us off, the bus will pull out into the mid-morning traffic and we’ll be on our way, next stop Rwanda, final destination: Durban, South Africa.
This is the Caravan of Hope - a two-and-a-half week campaigning journey across central, eastern and southern Africa – that will give a voice to the millions of Africans whose lives are already affected and whose futures are jeopardised by climate change.
The title is, admittedly, a bit of a misnomer. The vehicle we’ll be taking has more in common with the coach I used to take every day to school than a traditional African caravan. And having experienced the soreness of an extended camel trip, I for one am relieved about that. But the hope bit is crucial.
On board, the activists from across the continent will be coming together to share their stories and demand fair and decisive action. Rallies, concerts and stunts will be held at many of the cities we pass through to galvanise support for a strong African stance on the issue. The caravan is a reflection of the growing strength, confidence and diversity of the African climate change movement not a distress signal from a continent in peril.
When we reach Durban, the caravan members will take their message to the UN negotiations on climate change. But if you’ll allow me one hoary old traveller’s cliché (I make no promises there won’t be more to come!) this really is a case where it’s the journey as much as the destination that counts.
So I hope you’ll follow our progress - I’ll be sending photos, podcasts, video clips, and written reports back from the road. And I hope they’ll give you a flavour of the journey itself – every fascinating, exhausting, unforgettable bit of it.
Listen to Ally's podcast
Ally talks us through packing his bag and his expectations of the trip. Listen to this podcast here.