Thursday, May 10, 2012

The 1st 'Live' internet Overland blog... In Search of Lovedu*

Kevin Muggleton
1995: The internet was young (ave users 16million) and connectivity was limited. Live overland travel blogging was limited to posting floppy disk's home to a local webmaster who would upload the blog and photos to a very basic website.

1995 was also the year Ann Jones and Kevin Muggleton left the UK in search of the South African tribe 'Lovedu'.  The unique aspect was the live blogging Ann Jones did as she traveled overland in a Land Rover Series III.  This was the first website I had found whilst attempting to navigate around a very limited internet. In correspondence with Ann Jones, she described how she used to type up her blog and find a post office to send the updates back to the USA.  Her webmaster would then upload the monthly report of her trip.  She wrote a book detailing her trip (details below).

I have described how that single website flamed my desire to link to overland websites, which eventually lead to the creation of 'The Africa Overland Network'.

Kevin Muggleton
Having read the old website and the book 'Looking for Lovedu' I have often wondered who Ann Jones linked up with and simply called 'Muggleton' in her book.  Introducing:  Kevin Muggleton: Artist, photographer and designer.  Plus overland driver, navigator, mechanic for the 1995 overland trip 'In Search of Lovedu'.

Kevin and Ann's route South took them across North Africa and eventually into Central Africa crossing Cameroon, Central Africa Republic, Zaire (DRC) and into Uganda (now very much a lost route). Here is an extract from Kevin's article in LRO:
Three weeks into Zaire and I was nowhere near where I needed to be. At times I was hiring up to 25 Africans to help dig, shove and cut a way through the rainforest. In hindsight, five more shovels would have helped. Even walking through the potholes to gauge the depth was no guarantee of success.
Although I was weighed down by a full fuel load, at least the jerrycans could be unloaded: a huge benefit over using extra fixed tanks. Driving was a test of nerves as, to avoid grounding the diffs, I had to climb the wheels onto the central ridge at a precarious angle. Driving like this for two kilometres at a time forced the vehicle against the mud banks, chiselling the side, smashing the lights and denting every inch of bodywork. 
Kevin Muggleton
Kevin Muggleton has published two articles in the Land Rover Owner International magazine (see his website) and has written a number of articles for other travel magazines.  Be sure to visit his website and his family run business: Redverz Gear.  One of their very unique products is this tent aimed at the motorcycle touring enthusiasts.

Additional Reading:
Idea Mensch - Kevin Muggleton interview

* I am pretty certain that 'In Search of Lovedu' was the first #overland travel website using the internet to publish details about the trip. Feel free to let me know of any other websites that might have been uploaded travel reports prior to 1995.

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