Thursday, February 7, 2013

Land Rover or Toyota: 2012 Trip Statistics

2011 was a unique year.  It was the first year that the preferred vehicle choice for a Trans-Africa overland adventure was a Toyota.  Prior to 2011, Land Rover had been the most dominant vehicle choice for majority of overlanders who opted to list their adventure website on The Africa Overland Network.

Interested in the 2010 and 2011 statistics?  Read them here:

Roll on 2012

A few comments to make on the statistics:
Total trips listed on the website have continued to decline year on year since the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) yet 2012 turned out to be a year that people opted to predict that they would travel for longer periods.
The Africa Overland Network - Trans-Africa Trip count
The website Kapp 2 Cape (Oyvind & Sheelah) are heading South from the UK.  In a recent blog (from Senegal) they wrote the following:
We have, since our journey started, wanted to meet up with other overlanders. Both to share information with, and maybe to spend some time on the road with. To our surprise, the roads are otherwise very quiet; there doesn’t seem to be very many overlanders around. And further, most of those we meet are either on their way north, or just staying in one country.



2012 was also the year that the preferred vehicle was once again the Land Rover.
Olly & Lisa's Trips
The website 'Our Big Trip (Olly & Lisa)' summarizes nicely why Olly choose a Land Rover:
The obvious vehicles (to me) were a Toyota Landcrusier, Land Rover Defender, and also the reliable and very common, but possibly less rugged/lower payload Toyota Hilux. To be fair any of these vehicles and many other utes/wagons would do the trip, with the set up changing depending on what vehicle body type you go for. We decided on an older turbo-diesel (300tdi) 110 Defender station-wagon as it fitted the requirements above, is very capable carrying heavy loads off road for an older vehicle, and for the very logical reason that I have wanted one since I was a boy!!

The Africa Overland Network - Vehicle Choice
Combined, Land Rover and Toyota counted for 36 of the 44 trips started in 2012.

Average Travel Time

The average travel time for 2012 saw a noticeable increase in the length of travel.  The year has only just finished which means that majority of the 2012 departures are still travelling.  Early prediction for 2013 indicates that trips departing this year will spend more time travelling than those from a few years ago.
Average Travel Time - Days

Review of 2012

I certainly got the predictions wrong for 2012, which I wrote back in January 2012:
Early signs for 2012 are indicating that trans-Africa trips will be back to the 2007/2008 levels rather than the bumper levels of 2009/2010.  It's fairly clear that Toyota will dominate trans-Africa overland trips for the next few years based on the availability of Toyota Land Cruiser vehicles in the Northern Hemisphere and the availability of spares and accessories.My expectation is that travel time across Africa will continue to shorten as routes become more defined and the pressure to take a year long overland trip comes under financial pressure.
I had thought that the number of trips would start to increase but this has proved the opposite - they have once again started to decline.  Possibly Facebook is the preferred 'website' to share adventures and as a result overlanders are opting to bypass the difficulty of creating a website. As a result, I am not capturing enough websites on The Africa Overland Network to reflect the number of annual trips.  Or The Africa Overland Network has been superseded by newer, modern websites rather than simple linking.

I also predicted that Toyota would continue to dominate but I got this wrong.  It seems the attractiveness of the Land Rover Defender still has a strong pull.

Surprisingly travel time in 2012 increased with a few trips pushing past the 1000day mark.  Without these few long trips, the average was still higher than 2007 and beyond at 323 days

Predictions for 2013

Travel time for 2013 will be below the average (2000 to 2012) of 364 days as people head South from the Northern Hemisphere in a mad rush to complete overland adventures during short work sabbaticals before heading back to work.

BigSky Adventures
My vehicle choice for 2013?  I think it will be Land Rover again.  I base this on the one desire most people have, which is to drive a Land Rover across the African plains as depicted in so many stories dating back decades.

What's your thoughts?



Notes:

I base these statistics on the data from 'The Africa Overland Network' website.  The website currently lists over 700 live websites and over the years has listed up to 1000+ websites, many of which have now faded into internet history.  Majority of these overland websites are written in English and have a start point in the Northern Hemisphere.  I recognise that these statistics don't count the majority of European overlanders (like the Germans & French) who opt to travel overland, however, I am unable to find a website that has enough data to count travel time and to compare Land Rover vs Toyota for those travelers.