Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Overland Trip Budget Planner

How do you budget for an overland trip?  That's a tricky question to answer and a question that majority of overland trips don't event attempt to answer.  Nick from Langebaan Sunset attempted to provide a full years worth of budgeting from his recent UK to SA trip.  It is worth visiting his website to get an insight into the costs.

Budgeting and planning is often the most important aspect of any trip, however, the multiple countries and currencies often play havoc on budget planning.  Francois, a member of the Overland Forum, kindly created this spreadsheet which allows for multiple countries and currencies to be integrated into a budget.  It's a fantastic tool which will be very useful for planning.

Here is the link to the Google Group page and the link to download a copy: Overland Forum - Overland Trip Planner.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Sunset over Zambezi

July 2005 - Sunset over the Zambezi river
The sunset above was the perfect ending to another day in Africa.  Later that evening we clambered aboard a dusty Land Rover and headed out with a few other guests for an evening game drive in the South Luanda park. Shortly after departing the park gates, along a dusty track, an African Spotted Eagle Owl swooped over us.
Our driver slowed the vehicle to a halt before explaining that in his culture, an African Eagle Owl was never a good omen. If he was on his own, he would turn the vehicle around and head back to camp.
We listened in awe as he told the story and started to ponder his thoughts an hour later after not seeing any game. 90min after the Owl had swooped we spotted one lone Hyena. The promised evening game drive turned out to be a taxi ride around a game park.

Perhaps, in hindsight, we should have listened to the omen of the African Eagle Owl and turned the vehicle around...

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Overland eBooks

I must admit that I have a passion for my Amazon Kindle - I read a book, and then very quickly skip onto the next.  This little ebook reader is fantastic and a must have for any overland trip as it can contain your whole library.    Owning one prompted me to investigate if any overland related ebooks were available:

Here's a list of the books I found (links to Amazon UK).  There are not as many as I had hoped, including no ebooks from author Chris Scott (Overland Handbook).  Most of the older titles are not available which I would have thought would have been easy to do.

What the hell are we doing here
Malachite: a Journey in Africa
Lonely Planet Africa
Jupiter's Travels
Lois on the Loose
Red Tape and White Knuckles: One Woman's Motorcycle Adventure Through Africa
Running With The Moon: A Boy's Own Adventure - Riding a Motorbike Through Africa
Tuk-Tuk to the Road: Two Girls, Three Wheels, 12,500 Miles

More Kindle Overland Books
Here is a link to additional Kindle Amazon UK books.
Amazon UK Bestsellers in Africa Travel (Kindle)
General Africa Travel

Updated: 26 January 2012
The world of overland digital ebooks is constantly growing which has resulted in this blog post being outdated in a very short period. Keep checking the digital ebook websites for the latest updates. One last thought: be sure to support our fellow overlanders through the purchase of their books...

Monday, October 17, 2011

Lagos to London - 1973

Vehicles, technology, and people have changed across the decades.  However, the one familiar trait is the need to use a vehicle, a bit of technology and to travel.  In 1973 Brian M left Lagos, Nigeria heading for London, UK.  His Land Rover Series II 109 was loaded and packed... the route simply headed North and finally in Algeria and across the Med to Europe.

The photo below is linked to Brian's additional photos he scanned from slides:
Brian M - 1973 Overland
Brian mentioned in an email the reason the bonnet was open:

I do indeed remember why the bonnet was open a lot :-) Most picture opportunities were at stops, first thing in the morning was always a good time. You'll see that from the shadows. We checked fluids, hoses and belts every morning, as well as having a look around the vehicle checking that all was OK. 
One picture shows shorter shadows, so was closer to midday. We had two stops for problems, one for a stop due to loss of power. We stripped the carb and found the float bowl was full of sand, due to the wonderful oil bath "air filter" standard in those days :-) A good clean out and all was well again. 
The other stop was when the fan cowling fell off, onto the fan. The speed nuts has rusted through ! The Land Rover had spent the previous 14 years working in tropical rain forest for a wildlife documentary company. Still, it gave us a huge fright, as it made a huge racket ! You've never seen anyone de-clutch and switch off as fast as I did ! A great relief to find it was only the cowling making a break for freedom :-) We simply took it off and put it in the back, checking the belts and hoses were undamaged. 
It was scary until we saw there was no serious problem, as we were midway between Tamanrasset and In Salah, about 590 miles if my memory of the Michelin map is accurate. A long way to walk if it was a blown engine, which was my first thought as the noise started. Whew :-)

Otherwise, we had no other vehicle problems in about 12000kms (road distance) and 29 days.

Just for interest, the mountainous scenery is mostly on the scenic drive around the Hoggar Mountains, when we had a trip up to the Hermitage near to Tamanrasset.

More stories to follow...

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Camper Trailers... Good Idea?

Have you realized the benefits of a camper trailer yet?  Have you thought about the benefits of keep your vehicle independent of the campsite, free to explore without the hassle of packing the rooftent and kitchen away?

I have pondered the benefits of camper trailers for a number of years and have patiently waited for more Trans-Africa overlanders to adopt the concept - yet only a few have.  More in a following blog about overlanders that used camper trailers.

The Camper Trailer market in Australia is huge - every type of trailer is available - from the basic on-road version to fully ruggedized offroad version, complete with independent suspension and brakes.

Here's a slightly different concept (Tvan) that I spotted towed behind a Land Cruiser 80 series, which lead me to YouTube to investigate further:

Personally, I think I am tempted by the concept especially now that 'Toddler J' is on the scene.  I need more space for kids toys!

Let me know if you have experienced a camper trailer and what your thoughts were.  In the next blog, I will highlight a few trips that used a trailer as part of their overland expedition.

Additional Reading:
Here is a link to a website which used a trailer: