The Namibia Special is the first two-part special Christmas episode that ex-Top Gear presenters Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May presented as part of the Amazon Prime motoring series The Grand Tour. It aired at New Years - on the 30th and 31st of December, 2016 - as the seventh and eighth episodes in the show's first series and was entitled The Beach (Buggy) Boys. Though technically the first special episode of the The Grand Tour, the show was really the twelfth special episode featuring Clarkson, Hammond, and May, following the Patagonia Special which aired as part of Top Gear's twenty-second series. The special follows the trend set by the presenters' former travels across Patagonia, Burma, and Africa in being aired in two parts. The first part chronicles the presenters' journey through the Namib desert in search of a road while part two focusses on the journey from Windhoek to the Angolan border.
Part I Edit
To prove to their producer, Mr. Wilman, that beach buggies aren't terrible, the presenters are challenged to drive across Namibia to its border with Angola. After first customising their own buggy, the guys meet at the Namibian coastline to formally receive their challenge. The guys set off into the desert in search of a road leading to a town where they can buy a map. Having not found a road, and with the sun setting, May and Hammond entrust Clarkson to be the navigator after he tells them he can determine where to go by reading the stars. They set off following Clarkson but fail to find a road and are forced to sleep under their cars. The next morning, the guys realise that Clarkson has led them back to their starting point and they decide to simply follow the beach north to find a road. In doing so, however, they realise that they are becoming trapped between unclimbable sand dunes and the incoming tide of the Atlantic Ocean. The situation is made worse when they arrive at Namibia's salt pan at the top of the beach, which they are forbidden from driving across, and are forced to race the tide back down the beach to escape. Having spent a second night sleeping under their cars, the guys decide to head inland to search for a road. However, this means that they must contest with the Namib desert's enormous sand dunes. Clarkson and Hammond both have close calls with two separate sand dunes while May struggles to climb them with his underpowered buggy. Later, Clarkson's buggy breaks down and he is forced to attach a rope between the buggy's engine in the rear and the front windshield in order to be able to decelerate. Eventually, however, the guys find power pylons and follow them to a dirt road. Overjoyed, they begin to head down the road when Clarkson is forced to stop again. Hammond and May decide to leave Clarkson and head off in search of a town. Clarkson hails a passing motorist for some water and mends his car as best as he can. However, his efforts are only somewhat effective, as he is forced to stop every two or three miles to prevent his buggy from overheating. Over the next four hours, Clarkson manages to travel just twenty miles and he sets in for a long cold night on the road. Elsewhere, Hammond and May finally arrive at a town - Windhoek, the capital and largest city of Namibia. There, they head straight for a hotel with a bar to wait for Clarkson.
Part II Edit
The guys continue their journey across Namibia, with the situation looking bleak as Clarkson's buggy begins to break down with several hundred miles still to go. Along the way, the guys also partake in the local rhino conservation effort. And, in a final challenge, the boys come up with an ingenious way to cross the final obstacle between them and the Angolan border.