Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The African Pothole by Kingsley Holgate

Kingsley Holgate - Google Image Search Results
“No adventure is complete without them” writes Kinglsey Holgate on his facebook page. He was writing in reference to 'The African Pothole'.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Don't miss the ferry...

Organised chaos, the hum of conversation, the smell of diesel, the stench of dirty water... people everywhere... welcome to the Brazzaville to Kinshasa ferry.
Peter Townsend - Land Rover Series I - Congo - Ferry 

Majority of overland routes in Africa involve some sort of ferry crossing, either in the likes of a state funded ferry service, or a simple homemade raft. The most popular ferry that most overlanders encounter is the Egypt to Sudan ferry - a barge takes your vehicle South and you patiently wait out the days on the passenger ferry.  Ferries operate on all major rivers, especially in Central Africa where bridges are hundreds of kilometers apart. These ferry trips take minutes to perhaps an hour max.  The most notorious is surely the Brazzaville to Kinshasa ferry...
Google Maps: Kinshasa to Brazzaville
A bit of history according to Mwana Mboka:
The twin cities of Leopoldville (now Kinshasa) and Brazzaville faced each other across 4 kilometers of the Congo River.  Both were founded at the beginning of the 1880s and boat traffic between the two was a priority from the outset, especially as French Congo received all its imports through the Belgian Congo port of Matadi until the Congo-Ocean railway was completed in 1934.  In 1898, the year the railway arrived in Leopoldville from Matadi, the Ste. Congolia started a ferry service to Brazzaville.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Vehicle Age Statistics

What is the average vehicle age for an overland prepared vehicle?  My requirement was to find out what the average Land Rover and Toyota vehicle age is, the generation of vehicle, plus facts like the newest vehicle, and the oldest.
In this blog post I analyse trans-Africa trips, listed on The Africa Overland Network, which departed in 2010 through to 2014 (departing next year).

Currently, The Africa Overland Network, has 791 websites listed - all based on independent trans-continental overland travel. I visited each and every website listed from 2010 to 2014 to find out what year their vehicle was built - that totaled a whopping 324 websites and took hours to complete.  Only half the websites actually listed the age of the vehicle, which left me with 161 websites, of which 134 were trans-Africa trips.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Paved or Unpaved?

What's your preference?  A paved (sealed) road or unpaved (gravel) road?
Somewhere in Tanzania (BigSky Adventures)
I was recently reading The Hubb forum and these two contrasting posts caught my eye.
The first post was requesting information on a route from London to Cape Town, with as little paved roads as possible.

Unpaved Roads
 The post below, was rather more hesitant and preferred paved roads from Germany to South Africa.
Paved Roads
Personally, I prefer gravel roads.  The World Bank has data on the percentage of paved roads each country has.

Data from World Bank

Feel free to add your thoughts on the Hubb forum.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Trip Report: Olney & Watagan State Forest

The white Toyota Hilux ute, powered by the 3.0TD 1KZ-TE engine, fitted with Cooper Discoverer STT Mud terrains and driven by an enthusiastic Central Coast 4wd member lead our small convoy of Toyota's and one lone Land Rover Discovery towards the Olney and Watagan State Forest.
Unlike previous weekend trips, we had no plan (which is very unusual for me!).  Little did we know what awaited...

Monday, October 28, 2013

The Comradery of Overland Travel

Overland travel in Africa has a number of 'merge' points along the myriad of roads.
Richard, Sophie, Wynand & Talia
At these meeting points, the grapevine is abuzz with travel news, route planning, reports of other overlanders and the usual hearty fireside conversations. The excitement of sharing stories with other overlanders and the serendipitous meeting along a rural road, campsite or website has a unique effect of keeping the travel passion alive.

I was reminded of this after reading four current blogs written in October 2013, all with a common theme of Tanzania. Each blog referenced meeting up with the other overlanders...
It started with Arno & Elize mentioning time spent at 'The Farmhouse' in Iringa, Tanzania.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

1956: Pretoria to London by Karrier Gamecock Bus

Bessie Rutherford - 1956 Africa by Bus route
"Retief carefully set the compass at a point where the Niger River made an obvious bend – the compass was now our only way to navigate. We drove and drove. After days of endless yellow sand, we began to wonder if we’d ever see our families or our country again. One day we came across a heap of bones. We had been told about this landmark – the skeleton of a camel – and it meant we were still on course." 

In 1956, Retief and his wife Bessie, led a group of South African's from Pretoria to London. Driving two Karrier Gamecock buses with Rootes engines, the groups of travelers headed North...

Graces Guides describes the Rootes engine as a two stroke diesel marketed with two horizontally opposed piston in each of the three cylinders. More on the engine here

You can read all about the trip, written by Bessie Rutherford, via the Go! website: Across Africa by bus.


Monday, September 23, 2013

Following the early explorers...

Mick O - Sunset: Thomas bluff
Mapping new routes and exploring new areas is certainly a thing of the past... but retracing those footprints of early explorers hold as much excitement today as it did a hundred years ago... especially if it's in conjunction for an old diary and old maps.

Here is an example from Australia: Mick O - In the footsteps of Carnegie

An African example is Kingsley Holgate... he has followed in the footsteps of many of the early African explorers.

Reading the blog of Mick O has got me thinking... perhaps the next overland adventure I undertake should be in the footsteps of those early explorers.

Kingsley Holgate books are worth reading:

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Bright Continent - Nigella

When offered the option of driving someone's prized overland prepared vehicle, do you gracefully accept or decline?
Photo by Bright Continent

Anton Crone, photographer and blogger from Bright Continent recently blogged about his experience with an eggshell blue Land Cruiser called Nigella...
“She’s yours,” he said, and after bashing my way out of the passenger door, I took the controls. She bucked, she bolted, she tried to throw me out, but the driver door was stuck too. She was no kinder to Paul who began looking for an ejector button. He was too kind to state the obvious: Nigella hated me. Her temperature was rising so I handed her back to the one man who knew her. But by then, like most men scorned, I had fallen for her. You see, it’s not just the rejection, it’s the places these wild girls take you.
Anton Crone had explained beautifully how owners and their classic 4x4's form a bond on how to treat it other.  The owner learns to be in sync with every rattle, clank and crunch whereas the new driver needs to learn from scratch and often never has the time to fully appreciate the pleasures of driving an old 4x4.

You can read Anton Crone's blog via Bright Continent and follow him on Twitter.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

The Overlander, Francis Birtles

The word 'overland' and 'overlander' today represents a term associated with travel.  The current overlander is someone who enjoys the journey as much as the destination.  Someone who takes advantage of a vehicle to reach remote locations, solitude and adventure.
Francis Birtles - 1st London to Singapore attempt
A hundred years ago, the word 'overlander' meant something totally different.  It was a job title.  People built their careers as an overlander.  The author Warren Brown describes the early overland cyclist:
"Overlanders were a particular strain of adventurer - part endurance rider, part explorer, part athlete, part bushman and, because of the  mind-numbing and potentially soul-destroying loneliness and boredom, part philosopher".
The overland cyclist and motor car adventurer were on collision paths.  The former were being pushed to the backpages of the broadsheet media whilst the motor car claimed the front pages as new trans-continental records were being established.  Towards the end of the 1920's, overlanders were pushed to the back pages as the dashing aviator thrilled the world with flight.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

The Map Experience

You simply can't beat a paper map...  Enjoy the following fun video:

Original posting by MapPrinter.  Thanks to @HemaMaps for tweeting about it.

Additional Reading:
Tracks4Africa - Paper & Digital

Monday, June 24, 2013

Trip Report - Abercrombie River National Park

Held together with Duct Tape, the 1984 Toyota Land Cruiser 60-series, fitted with the 4.0L diesel engine, had clocked over 700,000km.
Toyota Land Cruiser 60-Series
Its leaf suspension flexed as it kept pace with a new Jeep Rubicon mounted on 35” mud terrain tyres as we traced fire Trails around NSW Central tablelands Abercrombie River National Park.  Gazetted in 1994, this park protects the largest intact patch of open forest in the area and offered us an exciting weekend away traveling the steep fire trails and exploring the various campsites.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Western Sahara Convoy - Departing Tuesday and Friday!

Have you ever needed to wait for an overland convoy, anxiously completing endless paperwork and passport checks simply to continue your overland adventure?
Bike Brothers - Convoy
Today, there is no need to join a convoy to complete your trans-Africa overland adventure.  The closest gathering of overlanders, in a very loose sense, is a convoy on the Wadi Halfa route.  Twenty years ago, it was a very different story.

A convoy had transitted about six weeks before but nothing had happened since. Some people had been waiting the full time - Under African Skies

After four days of paper work we can join the convoy that will take us to Mauritania. It is an international group of travellers. Germans in a Unimog, Australians in a Land Rover, Spanish in an old Peugeot, Dutch in a very old VW bus and we on our Suzuki motorbikes - The Bike Brothers

What a fantastic experience the convoy was - Hujambo Africa

Welcome to The Atlantic overland route heading South through Western Sahara towards Mauritania.
It is worth noting that this was not the primary route South during the early 1990's, with majority of overlanders opting for the route South across Algeria and into Niger.  It was, however, a route gaining popularity especially after Algeria closed its borders mid 1990's thus forcing overlanders to keep West along the Atlantic.

In this blog post, I highlight a decade of commentary on the route.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Notorious Overland Routes: Nigeria to Cameroon

As overlanders, we generally love the challenge of tough routes.
BigSky Adventures
We love finding alternative ways around political conflict zones and sometimes even those unnerving border crossings.  As overland travelers, we will always find a way.  Sometimes though, there is only one way...

Welcome to the notorious Ekang, Nigeria to Mamfe, Cameroon road...

A few quotes to set the scene:
18 hours after crossing the border in Cameroon we eventually reached the town of Kumba - David Priddis
Reports from other overland travelers said that it was bad, very bad - Tale of Two Travelers
Too describe it as a road is misleading. It is a track hacked through the jungle by locals and others desperate to pass - Adventurous Spirits

Monday, June 3, 2013

Report: Sydney Overland Meetup

How do you recover an overland prepared Land Rover Defender from a muddy river?
Sounds easy, doesn't it?  Well, how do you recover it when the clutch plate has disintegrated and the vehicle has no gears?

Hosted by Daniel (Expedition Centre), the 1st Sydney Overland Meetup attracted a like-minded bunch of overland enthusiasts who were keen to hear the stories, like the one above, from fellow overland travelers.

David Priddis was our first guest speaker.  He is a veteran overlander having completed a trans-Africa (Defender 200Tdi) and recently Asia and The Americas in his Land Rover Defender TD5.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Sydney Overland Meetup - 1st June 2013 + Google Hangout

A quick shoutout... Expedition Center and Overland Live will be hosting an evening with David Priddis (Walkabout 2408) on Saturday, 1st June 2013.
David Priddis - Walkabout2408
David is a veteren overlander, having completed Africa, Asia and recently The Americas.

Come along and here his stories...
David Priddis - Africa
 We eventually got free by using the winch, and it was not long before we used the winch again to free an old jeep stuck in the mud and blocking our way. This set the theme for the rest of the night. Driving, winching and digging our way along the piste, with various peoples help. We decided to carry on through the night as we were covered in mud, and would only get more gear dirty if we stopped to sleep. 18 hours after crossing the border.

David Priddis - Mongolia

Expedition Centre
69 Anderson Road, Mortdale NSW 2223

Please bring a chair as we will be hosting the event in the Expedition Centre garage.

4pm till 7pm
David will be giving a talk from 5pm

Google Hangouts
Join us via Google Hangouts from 5pm (GMT+10).  Link to event: Sydney Overland Hangout

Martin - 0417 759 357 -
Daniel - 0438 183 507 -

Please contact us if you will be attending so that we can ensure that we have enough catering.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Infographic Planning by @T2T_Trace

How much planning do you do before your trans-continental overland trip?
T2T Africa Infographic
Do you spend hours researching countries, cultures, events before departing?

How do you document your pre-trip findings?  Traditional highlighter pen in a guide book or typing endless notes on your computer?
Or do you simply wait until in-country before quickly referring to the guide book for things to do?

Regardless of how you plan, here is a neat idea from Tracey, a team member, of the Tsitsikamma to Tataouine Expedition:

Tracy has researched the various countries that the team will be traveling through (departing August 2013) and have created a set of infographics for each country:

An example of the Tanzania infographic highlights the official language, time zone, plus a few other interesting stats like the top award winning Tanzanian beer.
Tanzania Infographic by T2T

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Rooftop Tent - Very useful modification: A balcony

Roof top tents are practical - but they are also very impractical.
Roof Top Tent - Table
Where do you keep your shoes after climbing up the ladder?  What about that first morning brew? Who gets the job of exiting the tent and making a cuppa before climbing back inside?

Wes Craiglow, owner of Central Overland, recently blogged about a wooden shower mat that he had been given.  Thinking through the endless possibilities of the design, Wes started modifying the original shower mat - first he turned it into a table, but then started thinking how this modification could be used as a 'balcony' for his Eezi-Awn tent.  He blogged the following:
in addition to its use as a table, I have developed a way to attach the AJIK mat against the front edge of my Eezi-Awn roof top tent using some string for support and two 3/8″ steel rods secured by four similarly-sized pipe straps as braces.  It basically creates a “balcony” for dirty shoes and sandals just to the left side of our ladder.  (I can’t tell you how nice it is to not bring them into the tent anymore.)
 Read the full blog post: This Shower Mat is a Jack of All Trades

This simple and very practical roof top tent modification will benefit any traditional style rooftop tents but won't work with the 'Tourer' style tents.

Thanks to Wes Craiglow for the use of his photographs and for 'thinking outside of the box' and coming up with this unique idea.  Be sure to visit the Central Overland website.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Mercedes G Entdecker Expedition Vehicle

Looking for an alternative overland expedition vehicle?  Fancy something like the Mercedes G-Class or G-Wagen?
How about a fully kitted vehicle prepared by a team in Germany and Austria?

Head over to Mercedes G Entdecker Expedition Vehicle website for some inspiration (Updated 2013).

As described on the website:
“ENTDECKER” is German for explorer and discoverer.  An appropriate name for a vehicle designed, accessorized and built in Germany/Austria and created by a team with over 30 years of  experience in G-wagen based overland adventure travel. 

Friday, May 3, 2013

My Land Rover Memories...

Land Rover is currently celebrating its 65th birthday since the launch of the iconic Series I. I thought I would add my Land Rover ownership to the mix...

I had my first Land Rover experience as a kid growing up in Namibia.  A friends dad picked us up in his new Series III.  I can still recall the white, five door station wagon.  With no seat belt restrictions, the two of us jumped across from the rear bench seat into the back tub and chose a spot on the rear side facing seats.  My friend mentioned to his dad that we should bounce the Land Rover - I had no idea what he meant, but recall his Dad doing a u-turn on a tar road and the Land Rover bouncing in the turn. I know now that he must have engaged the centre diff and performed the u-turn, causing a major wind-up of the axle and the outer wheels bouncing to remove the tension.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

$99,000 Toyota Land Cruiser Ambulance

Got a spare AU$99,000?  If you do, Ebay Australia has a Toyota Land Cruiser Ambulance available...
Toyota Land Cruiser Ambulance

My search for an alternative vehicle for overland travel has lead me to Ebay searching for 2nd hand ambulances.  I am aware of the older Land Rover 101 Ambulances, the few Land Rover Defender ambulance models plus an old Range Rover.  But my knowledge of Toyota based Ambulances is rather limited...

Listed on Ebay Australia for a mere AU$99k, this 2008 vehicle has just about everything you would need to turn a Toyota Land Cruiser 78 Series Troop Carrier into a neat expedition vehicle

Fitted with the Toyota VD Engine (V8 4.5L diesel engine), this will cover any terrain that you might encounter.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Trip Report: Sydney Caravan & Camping Show

The annual Sydney Caravan and Camping supershow is currently taking place.
Open over a whopping 8-day period, this show aims at showcasing the very latest caravans (on road and offroad), camper trailers, tents along with the usual big brands like ARB.

I was curious to explore the various camper trailers on offer plus any internal vehicle modifications that might look useful.

Here are a few photos from the day...

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Spotted: Toyota Land Cruiser Troopy - unique roof conversion

Overland vehicle modification is big business. Just look at the number of 4x4 garages, retail outlets and online sellers.  Even with all of these professional outfitters offering similiar products and services, independent overlanders always tend to find a unique way of modifying their vehicle.  Take for example this Land Cruiser
HZJ75RV Troopcarrier (6 cylinder Diesel Aspirated 4.2L)
1994 Land Cruiser Troopy

Spotted on Gumtree Australia, this 1994 Toyota Land Cruiser Troopy has had an interesting roof conversion.  Unfortunately no photos of the interior were posted online, however, the exterior photos make it look interesting.

Here is the detailed information as posted on Gumtree:
Unique conversion . Pop top with flip over roof carrier creates platform for bed above ground giving full standing space inside, on top of full length pull out drawers.
Complete with winch, limited slip diff. Compressor for tyres and diff. Spots front and rear. Tow bar (unused). Two radios – vhf and other. Completely treated under side at last rego.

Cost 24k 8 years ago. Used only for holiday trips not as a main car. In excellent running order.
Source: Gumtree AU Owner: Guy Baker (unconfirmed).  Asking AU$14,000.

A few more photos from the advert:

What do you reckon?  Neat idea or to cumbersome to setup?  I will follow up with the current owner to see if I can get a few more interior photos.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Right Here, Right Now...

How do you keep updated with all the overland travel blogs?  Do you like current information: Right Here, Right Now? Or do you prefer reading historical overland websites? In this blog post, I mention the rise of RSS enabled websites...

Overland travel has certainly gained a lot of popularity in the last 5 years, and with that, the amount of dedicated overland websites have boomed...

I recall spending hours on The Africa Overland Network visiting each BIO page in turn, attempting to find which websites had been updated since my last visit.  I was looking for updates on current overland travel information, current trip reports and current photos.  

Google Reader
Thankfully, with the advances of the blogging websites, RSS feeds were introduced which allowed me to link all the RSS enabled websites into Google Reader.  I now had the ability to quickly glance through my "Overland Live" folder and view all the current updates from these websites. 

Google Reader then allowed me to publish all my subscriptions (currently 237 Overland websites in my RSS folder) to a webpage.
As a result of this, I launched "Overland Live" and started to display the latest blogs, videos, photos and Twitter feeds.
The website has been archived, but the feed is still available:

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The invite...

Who did you ask to join you on your overland adventure?  Or did you get asked to join as a co-driver, navigator, bottle washer or simply as a paying passenger?

Initially I had been planning to do the trip on my own but after a friend initiated a blind date with Debbie, my plans started changing.  I quite fancied asking her to join me and had often hinted that I had a dream to drive across Africa.

I opted to present her with an invitation highlighting a few key facts and instilling some enthusiasm for a year spent in an overland prepared vehicle.

The challenge of owning your dream is making sure you can share the excitement, the fun and allow someone else, whose ideas might differ from your own to participate fully.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The day before...

Morgans Safari - Packing up
The day before you depart on your epic overland adventure: Excited? Anxious? Frustrated? Emotional?
Or, simply all of the above.

Over the last few weeks, I have been lucky to celebrate the departure of two trips from Sydney, heading to Africa...
First across the Sydney harbor bridge was Gareth and Kirsty from Aussie Overlanders and tomorrow it is the turn of Richard and Sophie from Morgan Safari.

I took the opportunity to pop down to the Mulgo Expedition vehicles workshop to catch up with Richard and Sophie.  A last minute glitch with the fresh water filtration system had Richard re-plumping a stronger pump into the rear of the Mitsubishi Pajero.

Mulgo Expedition Centre

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Twitter: @africaoverland

The latest Twitter updates from @africaoverland

Friday, April 5, 2013

Spotted: UK registered Land Rover Defender: F974 RTW

It's awesome spotting a foreign registered vehicle in a different country... This morning, Sydney time (07:33am), I spotted a UK registered Land Rover Defender (F974  RTW) heading towards Sydney airport.

Took me ages to catch it up and only managed to get a poor quality photo via my phone:

It certainly looked neat with an Eezi-Awn rooftop tent, twin spare wheel carrier and side awning. Unfortunately I could not get close enough to see who was driving.

Five days after spotting the Defender and asking a number of people and plenty of website searching, Daniel (Mulgo Expedition Vehicles & equipment) found the link to the website.

Check it out via:

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Trip Report: Family Long Weekend

"It always rains on the Easter weekend in Australia" stated a friend of mine as we discussed the various options for the long weekend. Traffic chaos was guaranteed if we opted for the rural campsites along the NSW coast line, so we decided on a route heading inland towards the Blue Mountains, in particular, the Newnes State Forest bordering the Wollemi National Park.

There are not many roads left in Australia that the Google Street car has not visited and I wanted to make sure we evaded those roads and followed alternative routes inland.
4x4 Earth Australia was my starting point. The website allows people to upload and download GPS routes across the country. I spent a few hours searching all the tracks until I had successfully downloaded a few that intersected my journey to the remote campsite. The route I opted for covered unsealed roads, fire tracks and potentially a few minor tracks linking the various fire roads.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

30-Second Kitchen by Piranha Offroad

Time for a cuppa?  The freedom of overland travel is the ability to stop anytime, anywhere.  Having the ability to make a quick cuppa tea or coffee makes the experience that much worthwhile whereas faffing about in the rear of your vehicle to find the dual fuel stove, kettle and cups can often lead to a rather frustrating experience.

Introducing a neat idea from Piranha Offroad in Australia.  I first saw this product advertised during a 4WD TV show and immediately liked the concept.  I will admit that I have not seen it, or had the ability to test the durability however the concept is unique and makes life on the road that much easier.  The concept is fairly clear:  a small kitchen and table mounted next to the fridge which can be setup in minutes allowing for easy access to the cooker, crockery and cutlery.

Piranha Offroad advert below:
Piranha Offroad - 30 Second Kitchen
The 4WD TV advert:

Link to website: Piranha Offroad

I think this type of kitchen will only work well with vehicles that either have a tailgate or a full rear door (like a Land Cruiser or LR Discovery).  My feeling is that a LR Defender and Jeep won't have sufficient space due to the size of the rear door i.e. access to the rear will be cramped with the fridge and table taking up more than half the available space.

In summary, I think its a unique idea and would consider adding a unit to the rear of my Discovery.  If you own a 30-second kitchen and have any feedback, please let me know.

Additional Reading:
Stimson Explorer Kit - Expedition kitchen in a box
Tea Time

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Book Review: Wollongong to Woolwich by Will Wilkins & Kate Macdonell

Wollongong to Woolwich is the overland motorcycle adventure of Will and Kate.  Departing Australia and heading for the UK via Asia.

The book is an interesting read.  It's not melodramatic, self-confessing travel book, and not technical for the avid motorcyclists. This overland ebook is styled as a personal diary, often highlighting blog entries to enhance the mood of the moment.  The pace is quick, which often leaves you wanting to know more details.

You will enjoy this book if you are considering an overland trip using motorbikes as it highlights aspects of travel that make motorcycle travel interesting and challenging.  One simple example is the daily endeavour of finding accommodation whilst on a motorbike compared to simply pulling over in your overland camper.

Visit the website: Wollongong to Woolwich and follow via Twitter: and

A few interesting paragraphs from the book:
Re. the City of Kathmandu:
The whole city was fantastic. I won’t go into a long-winded description to rival a tourist guidebook, but I will use some key words to paint a picture: Noisy, Hectic, Crowded, Vibrant, Friendly, Safe, Polluted, Ancient, Crumbling and yet so ALIVE

Monday, March 18, 2013

Oisin Hughes - video updates

Oisin Hughes
A quick update on overlander Oisin Hughes - he completed two epic overland motorcycle rides across the Americas and Asia and has published two ebooks detailing his trip.  The reason for the mention is that he has been uploading new video content highlighting his adventures.

As I write this, his blogs and photographs are currently unavailable however the videos are enjoyable and give a real sense of the adventure and journey of overland travel.

The most recent videos from his 'Not Dead Yet' trip:

His two books are available from Amazon:

Monday, February 18, 2013

Book Review: Trans-Africa by Motorcycle: A Father's Diary

Trans-Africa by Motorcycle
Embarking on any extended overland adventure can be quite daunting... opting to do so with your 17year son adds that extra layer of anxiety.  Opting to use a 16year old 1981 Yamaha XT 500 to do the trip on, makes for one major adventure.

"Trans-Africa by Motorcycle: A Father's Diary" is the story of Lawrence & Gareth Bransby and their overland adventure from South Africa to the United Kingdom.

Overland routes varied considerably in the mid 1990's compared to what we have these days.  Central Africa was an option to transit from West to East, along with the option of shipping from Eritrea to the Middle East and heading North into Europe.  Lawrence and Gareth opted for the latter route.

Lawrence & Gareth Bransby
An extract from the introduction:
We opted for Yamaha XT 500's, 1981 models which we bought cheaply and which are renowned for their robustness and simplicity of design. They have points and coil ignition, easy to repair along the side of the road, easy to find spares for. The engine has about 5 moving parts, the gearbox said to be so over-engineered it could be used to drive a tractor...
We couldn't afford expensive aluminum panniers so made one from galvanised sheeting. We constructed carriers from angle iron for the jerry cans, water bottles and thousand and one other things necessary for the trip.