Botswana is taking part in the Crete to Cape Vintage Air Rally with planes due to pass through Mashatu and Gaborone on December 11. The rally is already underway with a Botswana duo – father and daughter - being part of those flying in one of the planes. Puma Energy General Manager Mahube Mpugwa said they are proud to be part of the experience and to be the sole provider of fuel for the Vintage Air Rally because never in the history of the event have so many planes embarked on the race like they did this year. “We are fully dedicated to keeping these magnificent aircrafts fuelled along the Rally’s route and we are committed to ensuring the security of supply through refuelling stops and guarantee that the fuel is available in the right quantities at the right places,” he said. The adventure team will be raising funds for Seed Bombing, Birdlife International and UNICEF.
Vintage Air Rally Representative Agapitos Hatzipetros said there are many reasons for the rally to pass through Botswana, one of them being the country’s peacefulness and also because of the duo that that is also flying from here. “There is also Birdlife Botswana which will be benefiting from this since they are one of the beneficiaries of the rally. We will be raising awareness in regard to the vultures that are becoming extinct not only in Botswana but to the rest of the world,” he said. He said the rally is unlike any other event because there are 12 biplanes all manufactured before 1939 that are taking part. The 12800km race is expected to take 35 days and when it lands in Botswana President Ian Khama will be part of the audience to cheer them up. The 2016 Vintage Air Rally team comprises of teams from 18 countries including among others Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, Russia, United States of America, Britain and South Africa which will be the last destination.
Botswana Tourism Organisation’s Keitumetse Setlang applauded Puma for the support that they have always extended to them in many of their events by providing them with fuel. She said that they are excited About the Vintage Air Rally passing through Botswana. “You couldn’t have chosen a better place because then so many people around the world will know about our product since the rally will be filmed all the way,” she said. The Director of Birdlife Botswana Dr Kabelo Senyatso said a lot of awareness needs to be made in regard to the extinction of vultures, where in India they have become extinct and because of that the country is spending about USD1.5 billion in health issues that arise from not having vultures to feed on carcasses. “Through this rally we hope people will understand the dangers they are doing to the environment either by killing them intentionally or not by intention,” he said.