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Trans Africa North South - anyone?

Discussion in 'Expeditions' started by Cliffordjol, May 29, 2017.

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  1. Cliffordjol

    Cliffordjol New Member

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    Hi all,

    Does anyone still do, or are you considering, doing the classic North to South - Trans Africa overland expedition?

    It looks like the West & East Coast routes are still possible although the days of having a choice of routes down the middle of North Africa are no longer safe/possible due to the numerous geopolitical problems in the region.

    Number one on my bucket list is spending 1-3 years making the trip and seeing as much of Sub-sahara Afica as possible. Maybe going down one side and up the other with plenty of time spent enjoying the trip. I am not looking at setting any speed records. At the moment it remains a dream but I am targeting 2019/2020 as the start date and have now started things off by aquireing and fitting out of a rig for such a trip. 2004 Land Rover Defender Td5 SW.

    I plan to get the rig built-out this summer and then start practicing later in this year and into the following year by making various trips around the UK & Ireland, then mainland Europe, then down to Morocco etc and building up to joining the Spain to Dakar International Ralley in the adventure category in early 2019. If this lengthy shake down works out then maybe starting the Trans Africa towards the end of 2019 or early 2020.

    Not sure how far (if anywhere) I will get with the plan but if I don't try I will grow old sitting by the sunny window wishing I did.

    Step 1. Outfit - underway
    Step 2. Explore - just need to get on with getting out there

    i would love to hear if anyone has similar dreams, hopes or plans, or if you are already on such an expedition.

    Clifford
     
    Gunscrossed likes this.
  2. NiallRussell

    NiallRussell Well-Known Member

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    I have always wanted to do an African journey but the speed at which the world changes is astonishing.

    I was planning to do a trip from UAE to Iran and through to Turkey. But a month before we were due to start Iran changed their visa rules and UK passport holders could travel independently in the country. So we had to change.

    If I ever get the chance to hit the road again for a long trip I think the route will change constantly due to conflicts and emergency's that emerge during planning. Knowing just how safe a country is can be guess work I'm sure, I'm not convinced that Africa would be that do-able (maybe I'm a coward).

    I remember in the biography about the 'first' landrover overland from UK to Singapore one of the team members said something to the effect of: 'People said it must have been very difficult to do a trip like that in the 1950's, in truth it's harder now. There are more conflicts and closed boarders'
     
  3. Alan Crossley

    Alan Crossley Well-Known Member

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    Sounds very good to me Clifford. Go for it.
     
  4. Cliffordjol

    Cliffordjol New Member

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    Kinda answering my own question. This guy is on the Westcoast (heading south) route at this moment and is posting country by country updates on all things encountered from fuel price to visas to boarder crossing, police and army checkpoints, bribes and much more. He plans a two year run down and back up the other side.

    I think must have read my bucket list:)

    As Niall says things change daily but this is 2017 "hot off the press" and "breaking news" updates as he makes his way from one country to the next..

    http://theroadchoseme.com/

    Cheers guys

     
  5. RKServicing

    RKServicing Active Member

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    ive done north to south via the west coast... best thing ever!, i did it ver 11 months starting in oct 2015, im still here now (with my landy) and just purchased a house.

    west for people, east for animals, the road chose me is a fella called dan grec... all his blog is money making (sponsored by jeep also) so its all hyped up drama.

    all i can say is plan a little bit. its Africa and rules change less than hourly. and just go and enjoy.
     
  6. Desert Driver

    Desert Driver Member

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    I started a trip back in 2010 with my 300 Tdi and did the west coast down and planned to come back via the east coast the following year.. Its 7 years later and I am still travelling. I spend 2-3 months a year on the road and have done all west coast, all southern Africa and have been up the east coast as far as Uganda. I turned south again and I am presently in Arusha, Tanzania and planning on taking 2-3 years to reach Cape Town, as there are many places I want to either revisit or see for the 1st time that I missed on my way up.

    I started the 1st few years with a website but have run out of steam as the other 9-10 months I work flat out and have little time for it. Anyone interested or looking at doing something similar then drop me a line, I would be more than happy to answer any questions Most of my travelling has been bush camping and I try to stay away from major towns and get out in the bush and do serious off roading. www.across-africa.com
     
  7. NiallRussell

    NiallRussell Well-Known Member

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    How does paper work go with being on the road that long? with MOT and Tax?
     
  8. Desert Driver

    Desert Driver Member

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    you don't need either of those until you get back into countries that require it, as long as insurance is up to date then thats all they care about. Most cars in Africa are falling apart and I think if they had MOT 90% wouldn't pass.
     
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  9. NiallRussell

    NiallRussell Well-Known Member

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    interesting. I've always wanted to do a longer trip but thought that was a stumbling block. Wonder if it would be the same driving in USA / canada
     
  10. Sting Ray

    Sting Ray Well-Known Member

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    Your dream is very similar to mine! It's something that I feel i must do, otherwise I'd rue the missed opportunity when too old/incontinent.

    I'm currently building a 110 (see my thread in the Members Vehicles' section) with a view to taking ~ 11 months to go from Morocco to South Africa via Angloa, Namibia, Botswana, and then back up via Mozambique, Kenya and Tanzania, avoiding (north) Sudan like the plague, as well as areas that continue to have episodes of Ebola in the West of the continent.

    Part of the plan is to have some dates that I'd like to be in certain places by, which may be a requirement anyway due to visas, but give myself enough flexibility to enjoy the freedom and admire the landscapes.

    2020 is probably the earleist credible year that I could do it in, given that I'd like to do a pre-shakedown in Europe to test the vehicle and build up my experience of off-roading; rebuilding the Landy is going to take at least 18 months from now as well.

    Keep us posted with your vehicle configuration - ideas from like-minded folks are always welcome!
     
  11. Cliffordjol

    Cliffordjol New Member

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    Hi Sting Ray,

    Thanks for getting in touch and sharing your dream although I admit that your thoughts are so similar to mine that I had to re-read it to make sure I was not reading my own post:)

    At this time, the stretch between the North West of Africa and Angola appears to be the most problematic in terms of the route ideas that we share - are you planning on driving the West/Gold Coast or shipping around it? Personally, I favour driving it but will keep an eye on the political situation. Ebola is no longer (currently) an issue so at least for now that is one less concern. I occasionally toy with the idea of the East Coast through Egypt (i currently have a good network of contacts there) but many areas such as parts of Sudan and Somalia need to be well avoided.

    The 110 Td5 (2004) is currently at Foley SV in Essex getting kitted out to give it a chance of lasting the (ab) use I intend to put it through. The spec sheet keeps getting longer but for now HD suspension, wing water and fuel tanks, seperate 40l internal water tank, 2x gull wing doors, roll cage, rear drawer system, lights of various descriptions driving, camp and off-road, Ctek dual battery and split charging system, solar charging facility, under-body protection (diffs, steering etc) new snorkel to accommodate roll cage, removal of wheel spacers, hatch to access fuel pump from inside vehicle, installation of fridge/freezer, side and rear awnings (separate not 270 degree type) are just a few of the items fitted. As I said the list keeps getting longer:(

    Like you (again and now getting spooky) late 2019 into 2020 is probably the most realistic start date subject to global politics and route (weather) chosen. Ditto on the European shake down trips. I intend/hope to do the Full UK and Ireland circuits (but not as a single trip) and one or two European (Corsica & also through Central Europe and down to Croatia etc). I was also considering a discreet trip down to Morocco and back if time and funds allow.

    It is good to know that I am not the last headcase on the planet thinking of doing this this adventure or maybe the dementia is already here:)

    Anyway stay in touch - pm if you wish and lets hope our path crosses before, during and after.

    FYI - although my UK home is in Cheshire and the truck is in Essex, I am currently based out in Saudi Arabia which provides the funds but also the challenge of remote preparation of the vehicle

    Cheers
    Clifford
     
  12. Sting Ray

    Sting Ray Well-Known Member

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    I currently plan on driving the whole route, but I confess that I haven't even begun to think about the detailed planning of the trip yet; I am naturally focussing on getting the vehicle together as it is little more than a handful of parts and a V5C at present. That said, a great many places will need to be treated with a degree of caution. The whole Horn of Africa, and indeed northernmost Kenya will be avoided for obvious reasons, and West Africa concerns me a little too; my current 'plan' (think back of fag packet) sees me avoiding there in favour of Mali (subject to the south being agreeable), Niger and Chad; the DR Congo seems somewhat unavoidable given that I'd prefer not to double-back too much. Luanda is out of the question for me based upon current information though.

    When deciding which Defender to get, I was generally steered away from the td5; how do you feel about repairing it in the field? This is one of the reasons that I'm going for a 300tdi; even as an Electronics Engineer by trade, I'd prefer to keep everything as mechanical as possible.

    Are your gull wings Frontrunner by any chance? I saw a pair at the LRO show in Peterborough a week or so ago, and am sorely tempted to get some, although the price is rather eye-watering. I really like your idea about a flap to access the fuel pump - that's definitely getting nabbed! This does mean that the drawer I'll be putting in between the arches will probably need to be entirely removable

    Have you decided on your sleeping arrangements? I'm seriously considering AluCab or Baroud - I don't want to be pitching a tent or sleeping on the deck, but can't stretch to the £6,666 for an Icarus, which would otherwise be ideal.

    Friends of mine recently went to Corsica with Atlas; they had a great time and found some challenging routes for their Disco 2.

    Whereabouts in Cheshire is home? My mum's side of the family is near Northwich.

    By all means give me a shout when you're in the the UK next, and definitely keep in touch.


    Matt
     
  13. Cliffordjol

    Cliffordjol New Member

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    I currently plan on driving the whole route, but I confess that I haven't even begun to think about the detailed planning of the trip yet; I am naturally focussing on getting the vehicle together as it is little more than a handful of parts and a V5C at present. That said, a great many places will need to be treated with a degree of caution. The whole Horn of Africa, and indeed northernmost Kenya will be avoided for obvious reasons, and West Africa concerns me a little too; my current 'plan' (think back of fag packet) sees me avoiding there in favour of Mali (subject to the south being agreeable), Niger and Chad; the DR Congo seems somewhat unavoidable given that I'd prefer not to double-back too much. Luanda is out of the question for me based upon current information though.

    Reportedly the DRC would be a challenge even if they had roads worthy of the name:) that said I like a challenge

    When deciding which Defender to get, I was generally steered away from the td5; how do you feel about repairing it in the field? This is one of the reasons that I'm going for a 300tdi; even as an Electronics Engineer by trade, I'd prefer to keep everything as mechanical as possible.

    Seriously considering taking a pre-programmed spare ECU and a diagnostic tool:) but I think the hype on the (poor) reliability is overplayed - yes, I know it easy to say when not stranded in the middle of the DRC.

    Are your gull wings Frontrunner by any chance? I saw a pair at the LRO show in Peterborough a week or so ago, and am sorely tempted to get some, although the price is rather eye-watering.

    Yes Front-Runner and they look good in the pics

    I really like your idea about a flap to access the fuel pump - that's definitely getting nabbed! This does mean that the drawer I'll be putting in between the arches will probably need to be entirely removable

    You need to thank Paul at FoleySV - I am not that bright other than when it comes to choosing
    advisers:)


    Have you decided on your sleeping arrangements? I'm seriously considering AluCab or Baroud - I don't want to be pitching a tent or sleeping on the deck, but can't stretch to the £6,666 for an Icarus, which would otherwise be ideal.

    This one is one of my biggest and perennial bugbears. I originally loved the idea of the ICARUS was but was persuaded away from it due to my set-up not favoring the internal habitation option (I may still go back to it but the roll cage would likely be an issue. Then I went for the JB but due to my size would need the XXL version, I drifted back to classic RTT and now I have decided to leave the decision until a later date and after the European shake downs. I have a full OZ tent RV5 setup on hand so will use that setup around Europe. My biggest issue is that for the next two years (and with working away) there is a danger that I will not be able to dry out a classic RTT my drive/storage area is not big enough to open it up at home and if it gets wet just before I fly back to work I will return to a mouldy mess of canvas.

    Friends of mine recently went to Corsica with Atlas; they had a great time and found some challenging routes for their Disco 2.

    I was there (Corsica) as a pedestrian/hire-car tourist this year. It is spectacular and has more defenders than Solihull - definitely a target destination before the big trip.

    Whereabouts in Cheshire is home? My mum's side of the family is near Northwich.

    Not far from your mum - Lymm

    By all means give me a shout when you're in the the UK next, and definitely keep in touch.

    Will do and likewise, keep in touch

    cheers
    Clifford


    Matt[/QUOTE]
     
  14. Sting Ray

    Sting Ray Well-Known Member

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    Can you elaborate on your suspension setup please? I'm at a crossroads with mine and not sure whether to go for a 2" lift as well as HD springs etc, or just the latter and helper airbags.
     
  15. Cliffordjol

    Cliffordjol New Member

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    Hi

    I am no expert but, those Africa savy and experienced heads that have advised me (and I see their logic) recommend staying as near standard (but beefed up) as possible. This is especially so for trips away from UK and probably not critical until outside of Europe, where break down and spares services are a bloke with a donkey and/or a bike if that. I therefore went (as professionally advised) with Heavy Duty rear springs and 130 inner helper springs plus dual HD shocks on each rear side. I kept it all standard (no lift) as this prevents undue component stress and keeps everything standard size but, better weight handling without need for lift. if one shock blows on either or both sides it would mean I can still drive however, far I need to reach a replacement (in effect you have your spares already fitted plus the additional damping of dual shocks on each side in normal use). I will then carry a spare front shock. FYI as I am overlanding not rock crawling I had the sway bars reinstated for better handling on the long tar roads and numerous towns and cities between the more interesting landscape

    personally I would only consider adding airbags on a Defender as a luxuary add-on for pure comfort however, having driven in Africa comfort is subjective and I would not bother using them as a primary load bearer.

    If in Europe where breakdown, tow-home services are available then it is less important to stay standard.

    FYI - I am now back in UK (Lymm) and itching to get out and about testing the rig. Will probably do some vehicle based camping in Lakes and Scotland over next few weeks/months and try and get to the pyrenees and possibly Morocco in the next 6 months or so.

    I have also ordered a custom length (2.5m long) Bundutop roof tent to try out and to see if it is robust enough for the overland africa trip. Meanwhile I will use my selection of ground tents for practice trips.

    let me know how it is going with the build and if you are visiting your mom let me know.

    cheers
    Clifford
     
  16. Sting Ray

    Sting Ray Well-Known Member

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    Hi Clifford - good to hear from you again and thanks for the quick reply.

    Twin rear shocks are certainly an option for me as well, although I'll need to look into what, if any, chassis modifications are required.

    The thinking behind helper air bags is to cushion the spring such that its compression ratio is effectively increased, and doesnt sag so much; this maintains ride height rather than adding comfort.

    Do you know which brand of shocks and springs are on yours?

    I can imagine that you're very keen to give it a proper shakedown - I think somewhere like Morocco is a good idea to see if the configuration will suit you for longer trips. We need some photos of your Landy fore then though ;-)

    Progress is being made on my build - hopefully I'll have a chassis in the next couple of weeks...
     
  17. Sting Ray

    Sting Ray Well-Known Member

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    Just visited the bundutop site...wow!
     
  18. RKServicing

    RKServicing Active Member

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    hows the planning going? any shakedown trips done? leaving date? im nearing my 4th year on the continent now and love it,

    current security concerns on west are burkina faso. lots of attacks recently specifically on tourists. and around 5/6 months ago a couple attacked in the night in DRCongo, just out of matadi, the husband was killed.

    getting a visa into Angola can still be a problem but they are making it easier. the issues are communication between all the boarders.
    Nigeria is also a problem currently with visa, although i have seen people arriving at the boarder with a letter optained online (EVISA), and then getting an escort to Lagos airport to physically get the visa.
     
  19. mpescatori

    mpescatori Member

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    Hello all,

    Maurizio here from Rome, Italy. I joined long ago and read a lot but never really contributed much - until now.

    My previous 4x4 was a Tata Safari 3.0, wonderful offroad but with hideous electronics worthy of the best Peter Sellers - if you'll forgive the pun.

    I'm now "shopping" for a new (read "another") 4x4 and am quite undecided whether to go Defender (veryfew TD300 nowadays, most are TD5 or TD4) or a petrol Range Rover Classic.

    Having said that, I still have Colin McElduff's 1st edition of "Trans Africa Motoring", and while the chapters describing politics are hopefully out of date, his description of the routes is, to my eyes, still reliable.

    Actually, I do ask myself just how much a Defender is a "must", i.e. if low gears and lockable differentials are still a do-or-die requirement... or if a properly equipped SUV can still make the journey.
    PS Northern Kenya: what's wrong with the Moyale-Marsabit route? I know of people who did it on a Harley Davidson...

    Cheers,
     
  20. doriz

    doriz Well-Known Member

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    Have you seen Midnight Express?
     
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