Vintage aircraft complete adventure-filled Africa rally

Vintage aircraft after they landed at Baragwanath airfield in South Africa as part of the Vintage Air Rally airshow (12 December 2016) Image copyright AFP

Vintage aeroplanes mostly dating from the 1920s and 1930s have finished a 13,000km (8,000 miles) rally flying from the Greek island of Crete to Cape Town in South Africa.

The rally began in November and pilots have had adventure-filled journeys.

The planes have mostly open cockpits and are equipped with only rudimentary navigation and safety equipment.

They landed beside the Egyptian pyramids and flew over Mount Kilimanjaro on the way.

The Crete2Cape rally, which began on 11 November, follows "in the footsteps of the pioneering flights in the 1920s" connecting "some of the most beautiful and evocative points in Africa".

It is meant to recreate the first African aviation route drawn up in the 1930s.

Image copyright AP
Image caption The vintage planes were given rare permission to land beside the Egyptian pyramids
Image copyright AFP
Image caption With open cockpits, the planes have basic navigation and safety equipment
Image copyright AP
Image caption Many of those taking part in the rally are professional pilots and vintage plane enthusiasts

The Vintage Air Rally website describes the route as "flying low along the Nile from Cairo to Khartoum, past the highlands of Ethiopia before the plains of Kenya and the home of African aviation in Nairobi".

The rally took the pilots past Mount Kilimanjaro and over the Serengeti national park before flying over Zanzibar, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

One of the pilots on the route is reported to have experienced total engine failure.

Another, 72-year-old British man Maurice Kirk, went missing twice, was arrested in Ethiopia and touched down in battle-hit South Sudan instead of Kenya.

Rally organiser Sam Rutherford said that, although the rally had been successful, "I'll breathe a massive sigh of relief when we get to Cape Town".

Seven aircraft from a total of 11 starters were due in South Africa.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption The arrival of the planes in Kenya generated huge public interest
Image copyright AFP
Image caption The rally is meant to recreate the first African aviation route drawn up in the 1930s

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