TWO men from Buckinghamshire hope to set off on their epic journey to South Africa by the start of next month.

Tom Picton, from Beaconsfield and Carl James, from Chalfont St Peter have been planning their trip called 'Hel and Back' since 2005 and are now completing the finishing touches.

The duo, who finished university in June, plan to drive from Buckinghamshire to Die Hel near Cape Town in South Africa, in a P-reg Land Rover Defender.

They will travel down the East Coast of Africa and once there, they will drive back again covering 30,000 miles and 40 countries.

Mr James, 23, said: “We wanted a constructive element to what we were doing.

“We wanted to do something big before we settled down. At first we didn't know where to start and we had to do a lot of research to work out our route through Africa.

“We need a guide in Libya as it is a legal requirement to have one.”

The route will take them from the savanah to the sahara, drop them to the lowest point on the African landmass to the highest.

They hope to raise £10,000 for Link Ethiopia, which supports education in the country, and Alzheimer's Research. They have so far raised just over £2,000.

Mr Picton and Mr James both attended Dr Challoner's Grammar school and Seer Green Scouts and say they have scout leader, Chris Rumsey, to thank for the idea of the trip.

Mr Picton, 22, said: “It fits with the scouts ethos of challenge. Chris could take a lot of the blame for instilling this sense of adventure.

“The impact that has on you is brilliant.”

They have received sponsorship from a number of companies including All Parts in London Road which provided financial support.

To find out more and sponsor the lads go to