Katrina and Nicole with the converted Land Rover in which they will attempt the challenging journey. SUR
British grandmother sets gruelling challenge to help Ugandan children

British grandmother sets gruelling challenge to help Ugandan children

Katrina Smith has converted her Land Rover into an overland vehicle in order to drive from Malaga to Cape Town

Friday, 3 February 2023, 15:11


A 55-year-old grandmother will take on the mammoth challenge of driving from the Costa del Sol to Egypt and on to South Africa to raise money for the Little Angels children's home in Uganda, a charity that is very close to her heart.

Katrina Smith, a former car mechanic from Kent, will set off on Monday, 6 February, and hopes to complete her journey in Cape Town in September or October.

The mother-of-four has had a lifelong passion for Land Rovers, and her choice of vehicle for the trip is a Defender 110 TD5, which she has named The Beast.

Katrina has converted the Land Rover into an off-road vehicle complete with a shower and a bed for her African mission, although this will not be the first time she has undertaken a gruelling journey for charity.

In 2010, the adventurous expat and a friend rode two quad bikes in memory of her grandmother, who lost her life to lung cancer. They rode the bikes on a 12,000km route from Malaga to Timbuktu to raise money for the Macmillan cancer charity, and a hospice in her hometown in Kent.

"Now is the time to make my next epic journey. I have personally converted my Land Rover into an awesome overland camper, and found myself a fantastic travel companion and fellow fundraiser, my friend, Nicole Taylor. We decided that it would be a great idea to raise as much money as possible for the Little Angels home in Uganda," Katrina told SUR in English.

Katrina, who also worked as a technology teacher, passing her skills on to young offenders, underprivileged children and adolescents with special needs, will stop off in Uganda to deliver the money she raises, plus food, blankets and clothing. Along with her 60-year-old travel companion, Katrina will spend some time helping out at the children's home, before continuing on her journey to South Africa.

The 20,000 km route through deserts, forests and mountainous regions will take Katrina and Nicole, who will drive for five to six hours each day, through at least 16 countries, and they know that it is not going to be an easy journey.

"Although I have done a lot of preparation, it's not the same as actually doing it. I'm sure we will have some perfect days and probably a few terrible ones," she said.

Leaving her comfort zone

Katrina, who describes herself as a "Land Rover Anorak", has lived in Spain for more than 20 years, and she has now decided to come out of her "comfort zone" to help children with her momentous challenge.

She has set up a GoFundMe page (, which currently stands at 335 euros, but she is hoping to raise a lot more money than this by the time she finishes her trip in the autumn.

"If in my life I can put a smile on the face, or have the opportunity to make even a tiny difference to the life and well-being of at least one child on my journey, I will be the happiest person alive," she declared.

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