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...