08/12/2017 11:25 SAST | Updated 08/12/2017 11:26 SAST

Young Capetonians In Bold Cape-To-Cairo 'Space Truck' Trek

The industrial design team put together by software company ZaiLab came up with something that looks like it belongs in a science-fiction movie.


A group of young industrial designers from Cape Town have built a once-off "space truck" that is on a mission to conquer Africa in its maiden trek from Cape Town to Cairo.

The ZaiTruck, developed by local software company ZaiLab, tasked its industrial design team with a unique challenge: to design and build a futuristic truck, then drive it from Cape Town to Cairo –– and take the project from brief to completion in just 300 days.

The custom-built vehicle features a repurposed military chassis, while the bodywork design was inspired by futuristic vehicles from science fiction films such as 2001: A Space Odyssey, Tron and Star Wars.

Yielding to more practical considerations, it's powered by a heavy-duty V10 diesel engine.


With its six impressive wheels raising its sturdy military skeleton high off the road, the ZaiTruck can survive even the toughest terrain –– an essential feature that has proven its worth several times in the team's great trek across the continent.

The expedition, which includes ZaiLab CEO Nour Addine Ayyoub and ZaiLab staff members Dominique Vandenhoudt (videographer) and Roelf Mulder (industrial designer), set off from Cape Town in September.

The route thus far has taken them north via Namibia, and they have passed through Zambia, Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia and Sudan so far. The journey hasn't been without its challenges –– electronic failure, flat tyres and potholes have inevitably caused delays –– but that hasn't deterred the team from their mission.

They even got to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in early October.

The impressive ZaiTruck, looking awfully like it escaped from Moonbase Alpha on the set of Seventies TV classic Space: 1999, is currently trundling across Egypt.

The team should make a triumphant arrival in Cairo later this month, before heading to the U.S. for the Enterprise Connect Expo in Orlando, Florida in March 2018.