Tuesday, January 13, 2015

2014 Africa Overland Statistics - The chosen vehicle: Toyota or Land Rover?

Africa Overland Websites
Land Rover might have dominated the last decade of independent overland adventure travel but Toyota is bouncing back...
The Toyota Land Cruiser has succeeded for the 2nd year as the most popular Africa overland vehicle of choice for trans-Africa trips departing in 2014.

In this blog post I highlight the two primary vehicles for overland travel, the average travel time in Africa and the average age of the overland vehicle in 2014.

I have been recording vehicle choice for the last five years based on websites listed on The Africa Overland Network.  A quick comment on the website and the impact of Facebook.  Facebook has eroded the need to host a blog or website detailing overland adventure travel however a few overlanders have managed to successfully balance published content (website blog) and social interaction (Facebook) whilst traveling.  I fully recognise that many travelers don't blog, speak different languages or simply don't know about The Africa Overland Network.  However, this is still the most reliable website to provide these statistics.

Interested in the previous years statistics?  2010 (LR) | 2011 (Toyota) | 2012 (LR) | 2013 (Toyota).

Roll on 2014...


A total of 873 independent overland travel websites are listed on The Africa Overland Network with the majority of trips listed under the category of Africa travel.
In 2014, the website listed 48 trips departing for Africa.  This is slightly below the average per year and probably accounts for my lack of searching for those independent overland travel websites, people knowing about the website and the impact of Facebook.

The two preferred vehicles of choice were Land Rover and Toyota which counted for 35 out of the 48 trips.


Why Toyota for the 2nd year running and what has prompted overlanders to choice Toyota?
I emailed Julian from 'Overland Cruisers' in the UK and asked him...
"With so few people travelling at the moment it appears that only the more discerning travellers are actually leaving our [UK] shores which is why they chose Toyotas as opposed to being ruled by their hearts and choosing LRs even though the LRs are far more common and far cheaper."


The first Jeep Wrangler?
It was also the first year that the Jeep Wrangler was chosen.  Kristina and Nerijus spent a few months traveling South to Cape Town via the West Coast.  Their website, Lost in HD, has a good set of photos and journal entries and is worth spending time reading through their travels. 

Travel Time

The estimated average travel time for Africa overland adventure travel was 318days compared to an average of 267 days during 2013.

Slightly different this year compared to the previous decade was the fact that the drivers of Land Rovers opted to travel for longer compared to their Toyota counterparts.


Average vehicle Age:

A few years ago I used the data from The Africa Overland Network to confirm the age of the chosen vehicle per departure year.
This lead to a few interesting points:  The survey resulted in the average age of Land Rover's were 15 years old and Toyota vehicles averaged 18years old. The most popular year for Land Rover's was 1997 and Toyota averaged the early 1990's with no specific year standing out.

The Africa overland trips departing in 2014 had the following average age:
Toyota vehicles:  14 Years old
Land Rover vehicles: 20 years old
The average age of Toyota vehicles decreased due to four trips opting for fairly newer vehicles. Three trips this year used the newer Toyota Land Cruiser 76 Series - more on these vehicles later.

Julian from 'Overland Cruisers' had the following to say:
The hardest part of overlanding with a Toyota is trying to find a decent donor vehicle to start with. The number of decent 80 series is dwindling with so many being scrapped for parts or shipped abroad so we now have more customers looking at 100s and those on tighter budgets looking at the 90s.
The average age of the current generation of overland vehicles all fall into the pre-electrics category however, this generation of 4x4 is aging.  It will be interesting to watch the choice of vehicle over the next few years to determine if overlanders opt to continue driving older vehicles or start to move towards 4x4's with more electronics.  My prediction is that confidence in these vehicles will increase and will attract overlanders to consider alternative options to the trusty Defender 300Tdi and Land Cruiser 80-Series.

Note: 

I base these statistics on the data from 'The Africa Overland Network' website. The website currently lists over 800 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 Dutch, German and French overlanders) who opt to complete trans-continental adventures, however, I am unable to find a website that has enough data to count travel time and to compare Land Rover vs Toyota.

Your thoughts and comments are always welcome...