ong Way Down is the most recent motorbike adventure with Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman. Leaving on 12 May 2007, they travelled through Europe, and then Africa – from Tunisia to South Africa, via countries such as Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania and Namibia – a total of 15,000 miles. The team arrived in Cape Town, South Africa on 4 August 2007. It is a follow-up to the Long Way Round trip in 2004, where the pair rode their motorbikes from London to New York, travelling east across Europe, Russia and the United States. As on Long Way Round, they were accompanied by Executive Producers/Directors Russ Malkin and David Alexanian.
Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman are best mates, and passionate motorcyclists. As well as undertaking Long Way Round and Long Way Down, they ran a motorcross team together for years, and Charley took on the Dakar Rally in 2006. Ewan and Charley supported UNICEF on Long Way Round and continued to do so on Long Way Down. They visited various UNICEF projects along the way, and are raising money for the charity on the Long Way Down production website.
The team travelled from their base in Olympia, London to John o’ Groats at the northern tip of Scotland to begin their journey. The start was almost delayed after Boorman, frustrated by an official at London Gatwick Airport, made an off-the-cuff comment related to terrorism, and was detained for questioning by local police. After being released without charge, Boorman took a later flight to Inverness and the journey was able to begin as scheduled. The team took four days to ride from John o’ Groats back to London, via the McGregor family home in Crieff and the Silverstone racetrack, where they camped in the middle of the circuit. They took the Eurotunnel to France, and rode south to Italy. The European leg of the journey ended in Sicily, where they caught a ferry to Tunisia.
In Tunisia, McGregor and Boorman visited the set of Star Wars (McGregor was not recognised despite the fact there were pictures of him) and from there they rode into Libya. However, American producer David Alexanian and cameraman Jimmy Simak were unable to obtain the necessary entry visas and were forced to fly from Tunisia to Egypt where they rejoined the team. After visiting the pyramids they boarded a ferry and travelled to Sudan, continued into Ethiopia and then into Kenya, where they crossed the equator. (Cheeky Kenyans didn’t miss the opportunity to trick another stranger with their Coriolis Effect misconception show.) From Kenya they rode to Uganda and then Rwanda, where they had an audience with President Paul Kagame. They went from there to Tanzania, and then into Malawi, where they were joined by Ewan McGregor’s wife Eve. The final leg of the trip took them through Zambia, Namibia, Botswana and finally into South Africa. The journey ended at Cape Agulhas, the most southerly point on the continent, to where they were accompanied from Cape Town by a phalanx of bikers, similar to their arrival in New York on the Long Way Round journey.