Timmy Mowafi headed out with Jeep and a motley crew of Cairo creatives to test drive the 2015 Wrangler Unlimited in the gorgeous Western Desert and found much, much more than just a great car (which he almost crashed)...
Jeep Club Egypt - A band of brothers born through a love of wearing cargo shorts and living out their Indiana Jones fantasies on four wheels. Founded in 1999 the club is open to all Jeep owners, promoting the beauty of 4x4 exploration, companionship and having the exact right amount of fun that doesn't compromise safety. Having almost capsised my assigned Jeep Wrangler 2015 going full speed across the Western Desert's most lethal spot of terrain, I wish I had adhered to that imaginary line between fun and safety, or the very real line between jagged rocks and dune, or at least had worn cargo shorts... because I nearly pissed myself.
For one unforgettable weekend out of time, 25 fun and feisty influencers were chosen to join Jeep on an amazing adventure into the Western Desert. Follow the #JeepAdventures ...Posted by Cairo Zoom on Thursday, 7 May 2015
Aside from that near death experience, and a damaged suspension - "In the history of the Jeep Club, we've never seen anyone actually shock the shock absorber" - I came away unharmed and feeling very much alive from what was probably the funnest ride of my life.
Jeep had invited 25 of Egypt's movers and shakers, not drivers and racers, but intrepid adventurers to try out the 2015 Jeep Unlimited Wrangler and experience what the Jeep Club was all about. After breakfast and brief at the Mena House Hotel we all set off in our convoy of brand new Jeeps, each equipped with Pop/Hip Hop playlists and emergency walkie talkies, which were then subsequently used for a Taylor Swift karaoke battle between cars.
With its long wheel basis and high centre of gravity, and with more soft-touch material included in the spacious interiors than previous models, this is a car made to be livable on-road on a day-to-day basis as well as through harsh landscapes making it perfect for navigating Cairo's rigged roads and haphazard traffic whilst nailing Swift's "shake it off, shake it off," chorus from the comfort of the back seat.
After a few rounds of Meghan Trainor's All About That Bass blasting out from the car's Alpine weatherproof eight-speaker audio system and 500-watt amplifier (that really made it all about the bass), we finally made it into the open desert terrain. Whilst still in a convoy we didn't yet have the chance to push the Jeeps to the limit, but started to get a taste of just how smooth the drive can be with the four-wheel drive option through the desert's huge peaks and troughs (if you're not a psychotic amateur with a death wish), shifting between its low and high options depending on the pliability of the sand. A magic carpet with better torque.
By the time we got to Flo Rida, the roof was raised, literally. Both the front and back sections easily clipping off and fitting into the boot, we rolled up convertible to a picnic set up for everyone on one of the Western Desert's famous cliff formations, the Qarun lake in the north of Fayoum lingering like a mirage in the distance, which would be our eventual camping spot.
Night fell, the stars came out, the campfires were lit and everybody was just about ready to retire to their tents for the night... And then this happened...
The Jeeps had formed a circle, their xenon lights fueling a two-hour dance party complete with belly dancer and a Bedouin DJ mixing Electro Shaabi with Old School Hip Hop. Once the madness died down, Abo of Abo wel Shebab whipped out his guitar to serenade the eclectic crowd of bloggers, photographers, comedians, entrepreneurs, musicians, actresses and designers as side conversations fluttered around re-living the moment. This truly was a bonding experience.
Those bonds were quickly broken the next day in the spirit of competitiveness. Split up into teams to go on the Jeep Club scavenger hunt, we finally got the chance to see what the Wrangler could do out in the open. Thinking that the scavenger hunt was a test of speed, and not creativity I pushed the V6 engine to its 60 mph in 8.4 second capacity. Between the Electronic Stability Control (ESC) and my sister in the back seat praying to God that she'd be able to see her children again, we survived, and it's a good thing I did.
At the helm of these rumbustious machines I began to comprehend why this 4x4 off-roading culture exists. There are so many awe-inspiring places secluded within the 1/3 of Earth made up of desert that you'd never reach by air, sea, or railway. Aside from testing our ability to work as a team creatively, the Wrangler's GPS system took us to ancient cities like Demmah built by the Pharaohs and occupied by the Greeks, whose former roofs and walls stand defiantly and bewitchingly from within the sand.
Site-seeing aside, there's something incredibly visceral about maneuvering through unforgiving nature, having to fight the landscapes yet be one with them at the same time, driving into the unknown with nothing else in your line of site, figuring out the lay of the land and when to rev or when to relax, flirting with every dune to figure out its weaknesses lest they eat you up, and challenging yourself to take the path less traveled. And that path is a joy to travel with Jeep.
For more information on the Jeep Club visit www.jeepclub.com.eg
Jeep on Instagram: @Jeep_Egypt #JeepAdventures)