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Weekend guidelines

Useful information to read before you leave

Teams and team leaders

There are approximately 50 vehicles on each Rally and we visit 10/12 schools on each. The vehicles are divided into 5/6 teams, with each delivering materials to 2 schools each. Each team has a team leader who knows his/her way to the schools; is fully briefed on the programme; & is knowledgeable about off-road driving.

Your team leader’s task is to ensure that your team delivers the right materials, to the right schools, at the right time. He/she is also there to ensure that you enjoy the trip. Team leaders carry a vehicle repair kit as well as a small first aid kit. Please keep your team leader’s cell phone number handy.

Information about the Rally

The Rally to Read folder contains general information about your rally, the weekend program, information regarding the schools that you will be visiting as well as information from READ Educational Trust regarding their quality assurance framework. Your journey will surely be enhanced if you read it en-route.

The briefing session on Saturday morning (Friday evening for the N Cape, Mpumalanga’s, Freestate and Limpopo) aims to provide information about the project, area, schools and plans for the weekend.

Meeting & departure

Your team leader will contact you in the week before the Rally to confirm the meeting time and place of your team. The meeting time is normally 05.00 on Saturday morning, except for the two night rallies, which depart Gauteng on Friday around midday, and the N Cape, where participants meet at an allocated place on the Friday evening. Should you be running late, please contact your team leader as we stick to a tight schedule and therefore leave the meeting place on time as planned.

Loading of materials

The box libraries and other materials will be loaded into your and others’ vehicles.  As such please take a small amount of luggage in order to leave maximum space for the loading. That is, after all, one of the main reasons why you are going!

Rallies differ as regards when the materials are loaded - at the initial meeting place or at the breakfast spot. The details are in your Rally weekend programme.


Most Rally participants travel in their own vehicles. We do, however, make a limited number available – Budget Rent a Car and the McCarthy dealerships loan us some of their demo and staff vehicles.  We do our best but we can only assist as far as we can access vehicles and are loaned on a first come first served basis.

  • These are normally double cabs which are most suitable for our weekend tasks.
  • The vehicles are McCarthy Company assets so please take care of them. They are precious to their “owners”. Although we anticipate the vehicle will be dusty and muddy after the weekend, we’d appreciate if you treat the vehicle as a “smoke-free zone” and that its interior is tidied before being returned.
  • We insure the vehicles for this period and each vehicle carries an excess, for which the driver or the company (as you determine) is liable should there be any damage, including a chipped windscreen.
  • The vehicle will have an empty tank when you receive it so be sure to fill up soon after collecting it.  It can obviously be returned in the same empty state.
  • An important note in this regard: we are unable to loan vehicles in the E. Cape and N. Cape as McCarthy does not have a trading presence in these 2 areas. We can however arrange to hire a vehicle through Budget Rent-A-Car for you – on your behalf - in both places but please note there is limited stock available in these areas.
  • We charge a nominal rate – R1,200 for the period from Friday afternoon to Sunday afternoon which represents almost a 50% discount on a normal hiring fee. This covers the cost of insurance and other direct costs.  
  • The vehicles are collected from a designated pick up spot on the Friday and generally returned on Sunday afternoon, unless an early Monday morning return is negotiated. Your driver’s licence MUST be presented when you collect the vehicle otherwise the vehicle will not be handed over.

Fuel and toll fees

Fuel and toll fees are payable by the sponsor. Please ensure that you have a full tank before joining your convoy or team. Filling up on Saturday morning can add an hour to the convoy’s journey and, as mentioned earlier, our schedule is very tight.

You will probably use 1 - 2 tanks of fuel over the weekend (approximately 800 kms) although the trips to Limpopo and Mpumalanga will require more. Your team leader will know the where-a bouts of petrol stations in the Rally area. Inform him/her when you need to top up your tank.


Dress is casual / comfortable all weekend. Bear in mind, however, that the reception at the schools usually involves teachers and community representatives who are elegantly dressed. Somehow shorts and skimpy clothes can look inappropriate.

Visiting the schools

The purpose of visiting the schools is to deliver the materials and to meet the learners and educators, who will benefit from the training. Our visits also serve to ensure that these schools do not feel so isolated and to remind the teachers of the importance of their task at hand. As such your interest in their schools is appreciated. Each school visit lasts about 1 – 1 ½ hours.

  • The key people to greet when you arrive will be the Principal, the Chairperson of the School Governing Body and, possibly, a leader from the community.
  • Although we inform the schools that we do not expect refreshments, should these be served, you are encouraged to be sociable and to enjoy their hospitality.
  • It is critically important that all of us participate in the reception and presentation at the schools. The schools anticipate this.
  • Feel free to ask for a tour of the school and to ask questions. 

Useful things for the road

Wet wipes, tissues, water, binoculars, a camera, picnic blanket, torch and mozzie spray are all useful things to take along. If you walk in long grass, you are advised to spray mozzie repellent on your shoes, socks, lower legs or pants. It apparently discourages ticks from choosing you as their means of transport.

Accommodation, meals and drinks

There are host companies that fund the cost of the accommodation for the weekend. This varies – in quality and type - and is largely determined by what is available in these remote areas. In addition, it would be a bit unfeeling to spend unnecessarily when the core purpose of the programme is to assist the schools.  As such please do not expect too much – and you will be pleasantly surprised!

We will provide all meals for the weekend and a picnic pack for Saturday lunch. Your team leader will have a cooler bag of soft drinks/water in the vehicle. Please feel free to request a drink.

Driving in convoy

Driving in convoy in the rural areas is considered quite safe. We experience unfailing courtesy and assistance from the local people, however please exercise normal caution.

Your team leader will brief you on driving in convoy but these 4 “rules” are simple and useful, but mostly not followed by un-informed drivers!

1.   Ensure that the person driving behind you – your “buddy” vehicle - is always visible in your rear view mirror. Should you not see this vehicle for a while, slow down and then, if necessary, stop and wait. The vehicle in front of you will do the same, and so on, until the team leader returns to see if there is a problem.
2.   Indicate well ahead of time when you are about to turn, and then wait for your “buddy” vehicle to see you before you take the turn.
3.   If you have a problem, flash you lights at the vehicle in front of you and slow down. The vehicle in front should do the same until the team leader returns to investigate.
4.   And don’t forget to leave sufficient space between you and the vehicle in front, as this minimises your chances of getting a chipped windscreen.

Thank you for being such an integral and important part of this literacy programme which takes us to such wonderful parts of our country.


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