Africa With Autism – The Project

Africa with Autism is a challenge first.   It is mother and daughter travelling from the UK to South Africa on a motorbike with a side car.   Not sticking to tarmac, but rather sticking to the route of highest interest and experience, so on road and off road alike.

The challenge is going to be on many levels so here is just a few of the most obvious ones:

1)   Learning to ride a motorbike – be it on road or off road, Melanie has no real experience of a motorbike, however, whilst this might sound like a problem, most road motorcyclists would probably not be in any better position if they were attempting such a journey themselves.  Melanie is a fast learner, with a practical sensibility which will see her through this experience regardless of the many problems that might be faced.

2) Planning – with only a year to plan such an adventure with such a high cost, leaving mid December will be a monumental challenge all of its own.   The costs at £65k, will be of particular challenge in an economical environment of austerity.

3) Autism – Whilst Sofia is high functioning autism, she will still be subject to some generic issues that all autistic children face, including sensory, overwhelm, and inability to process and information outside of her own fear response.   This challenge will be met by ensuring that she is prepared as much as possible for each of the scenarios she may experience and the confidence that she will be able to cope.

4) Physical fitness – From couch potatoes to athletes is a goal that both Melanie and Sofia will need to achieve before the trip.   Even for the fittest, a journey like this can be exhausting.

5)  Safety – The balance between safety and seeking experience will be a constant challenge of the trip.   Whilst experiencing wild camping is wonderful, doing it in a game reserve near a hyena den may not be such a positive experience.

6)  Media – it is important with a trip like this to generate media interest so that charities and sponsors get to benefit from it as well.

I hope you will find this challenge as exciting as we do and will join in supporting it.  Please visit the shop and buy your own Africa With Autism t-shirt!




4 thoughts on “Africa With Autism – The Project”

  1. Hello,

    I saw your the link to this amazing adventure/initiative of yours on Dr. Janet Lintala’s website.

    If you will be in Africa around July/August, I will love to invite yourself and Sofia(I can’t wait to meet her) to an art fair for autism in ile ife( . The art fair is part of our annual project on autism in AIESEC Ife( the local branch of the world largest student-run organization).

    Coinciding with the art fair is the Osun-Osogbo festival(an international cultural festival… ). Attending the festival will also be Dr. Lintala whose centre for autism( is our partner for our project on autism.

    It will be a chance to meet our international volunteers working on our project(We should be having more than 10 students from different countries) and also get to know a little of our project and autism in Africa generally..Your presence I believe will go a long way in driving our awareness initiative.

    The comment box is too small to type out everything. Maybe an email will do..

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi,

    Saw your post on the Horizons Unlimited page.

    I live and work in Uganda as a motorcycle and 4×4 driver trainer and it would be great if you could pass this way (I know you are currently notn planning on apssing through Uganda).

    There are plenty of people here who’d be only too happy to help with accommodation, bike maintenance etc, including a sidecar riding, ex TT racer friend of mine based in the town of Jinja.

    And we have gorillas.

    Best wishes,


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow – Thanks for making contact Richard. I have been mulling the last week about expanding the trip to include Uganda, Rwanda and Malawi, and get a bigger piece of Zambia. Once I have the costs settled for existing route (hopefully in the next week or so, I will be in touch – and how could I possibly say no to gorillas! 🙂


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