12 September 2013
Our expedition has come to an end so it is time to sell our beloved ‘Landy’. Our 1996 Land Rover Defender 110, station wagon model (5 doors) with a 300 TDi engine, carried us around Africa for about 58,000 kilometres. It has a cleverly designed interior that is suitable for two people, is equipped to deal with the roughest terrain imaginable and is altogether a very suitable vehicle for even the most serious overland expedition. We will sell the car with all of the expensive sponsored upgrades, expedition equipment, rooftent and a whole lot of advice on maintenance, overlanding and caring for our ‘Landy’. This Land Rover is ready for its next adventure – one life, live it! Lees meer »
3 June 2013
While visas on the East coast of Africa are relatively easy, the West coast can be an absolute nightmare. We have made a list of where we applied for which visa, along with a number of other details (required documents, duration, cost etc.). Download the file here. Here are four valuable tips for visa applications:
- Things change, so always check in advance.
- You normally always need copies of passports and passport photos (preferably with a white background).
- Many embassies refuse to help you because you are not a resident of the country you are in; try to convince them to help; get a letter from your embassy and try to speak to the ambassador if you have to.
- Normally, it is best to already have the visa before you enter the country before the country you want to visit – visa fees are usually higher if you don’t because your destination is close by, lots of business people travel there, and they can just charge you more as you have no choice.
The best of luck to all of you! You’re going to need it…
19 November 2012
Wearing the right clothing in difficult conditions is important. Clothes should be reliable, durable and perform the function they are intended for, like providing warmth on a cold evening in the desert, keeping you cool in the heat or drying quickly in wet conditions. We chose five main suppliers of our expedition apparel, and these companies are briefly discussed below.
Tough, reliable footwear is very important in the African bush. It should withstand thorns up to 3cm in length, keep out hot sand, protect your feet from rough objects and keep out water. The Courteney Safari boots have performed excellently in the six months that we have worn them, and we are certain they will last us the rest of the trip too.
Triple Aught Design
This American company designs clothing for people who are serious about the outdoors. Its mission is to create legendary apparel and equipment by blending innovation, classic design and modern technology. We were sent the Amphibious Cargo Pant and the Overland Long Sleeve Shirt. Both are very comfortable, draw moisture away from the body and dry very quickly. They also sent us two rugged backpacks.
Buitenmens.nl warm clothing
Some people think Africa is always warm and sunny. It may be sunny a lot of the time, but that does not mean it is always hot. The early mornings, evenings and nights can be very cold, so warm clothing is essential. Buitenmens.nl supplied us with warm pants and sweaters that hunters and other fans of the outdoors often use while they are out in cold, wet European weather conditions.
Outdoorbrands.nl for Icebreaker t-shirts & socks
This online shop provided us with some socks and t-shirts. The socks are short with a reinforced heel, which is perfect when you want to wear your boots with shorts. The t-shirts are from Icebreaker and are made from merino wool, which does not hold transpiration scent and is very comfortable to wear.
Even though you will rarely see an African wear sunglasses, the African sun does require you to protect your eyes from UV rays. Eye-wear provided us with Nike sunglasses that have two sets of lenses; ideal for any conditions. We often also wear Polaroid sunglasses as they have polarised lenses that reduce reflections off the road surface.
11 August 2012
About a year ago I posted a poll on the website asking people how far they thought we would get on our journey around Africa. Many replied, about 63 in total, some of whom thought that we wouldn’t even make it out of Europe! As I write this, we’ve been on the road for well over a hundred days, travelled nearly 19,000 kilometres and have reached Tanzania following what has not always been the easiest route. Many people have now started asking us the same questions, and so I decided to make a list of the top 10. Lees meer »
20 April 2012
Two days before our departure, it seems right to thank all those involved. We could not have organised our expedition without the help of family & friends and sponsors. Likewise, information from fellow-travellers and the assistance of those who have contributed in other ways has been invaluable. Many of you are mentioned on the Partner page, but there are also those who have showed their support in other ways, or have created an account on Wakibi or Kiva. We would like to thank everybody from the bottom of our heart. We will now enjoy our trip and hope to return safely!
17 April 2012
It’s busy this week, very busy! We’re planning to leave on Sunday the 22nd of April, so a lot needs to happen before then. On Monday we applied for our visas for Libya, for which the paperwork has been very professionally handled by Libya Travel & Tours. We also dealt with some minor electrical problems with the car at Beek Classic Wire in Houten. On Tuesday, we’re picking up our spare parts and changing our tyres, and we’ll also collect the dollars we’ve ordered. In the meantime, we’re packing up the Land Rover with personal stuff, such as clothes and toiletries. We also have to sort out all of our finances, and on Thursday we’re going meet with Wakibi in Amsterdam. The food, sponsored by the Plus Supermarket in Sint Odiliënberg, is also packed. What’s more, we’re working on the carnet du passage, letters of guarantee, stacks of photos & copies of our passports and other paperwork!
Route through Libya
Our current route is, strangely, the one we originally started with. It’s changed dozens of times, but now Libya seems stable enough to travel through anyway. Our route takes us through France to Italy, then from Trapani on the ferry to Tunisia. Then we’ll drive into Libya at the Ra’s Ajdir border. From there, we’ll take the northern coastal road to the Egyptian border. Joris and Merel of expanding-horizons.eu are, coincidentally, entering Libya on the same day, and are certainly also worth following.
26 March 2012
We are not on our way yet, but our route is now clear: we’ll drive to Italy, take the ferry to Tunisia, and then go through Libya to Egypt. This means that in a few weeks time we hope to travel through the French Rivièra and the Italian boot on our way to Trapani, from where we’ll cross to Tunis (Tunisia). However, currently, we are still in the process of graduating from Business School Notenboom, because we want to start our expedition with two Bachelor degrees in our respective pockets.
The unrest in Northern Africa and the Middle East was troubling us over a year ago; on the 15th March, I wrote an article about the Gaddafi problem. This ruthless autocrat is luckily no longer an issue, and peace has slowly returned to both Cyrenaica (East) and Tripolitania (West). Fezzan (South-West) still seems to be unsafe because of arms’ trafficking, Gadaffi-supporters and Touregs. Nevertheless, the first overlanders travelled through Libya in mid-January, so we plan to do the same along the coastal route of Tripoli – Homs – Sirte – Bengazi. In the meantime, a few more overlanders have also travelled this route, generally without problems.
We are also dealing with some paperwork, such as international drivers’ licences, cart grises, carnets du passage, letters to certify proper behaviour and the visas for Libya. The first two are readily available at the Dutch ANWB (or your own motor association, such as the British RAC or German ADAC). The letters certifying our proper behaviour will be used to make applying for visas easier, but we will need them in four languages (English, French, Portuguese and Arabic). At the moment, only an expensive business visa is available for Libya, since tourist visas are probably not yet being granted. In the meantime, we have got in touch with Libya Travel & Tours, whom are very helpful in arranging our trip through Libya.
The Land Rover is almost ready to go. At the moment, we are still working on the roof tent cover, sponsored by PLUS Geurts & Crombach. We also want to add some curtains behind the front seats to stop prying eyes. The new seat covers from Exmoor Trim have been fitted, are very comfortable and look fantastic! We also got the second spare wheel on the roof rack. We hope we haven’t loaded too much onto the roof though, since we’ve also added a roof tent, ammunition cases, a second spare wheel, sand ladders and two jerrycans along the sides. We’ll certainly have to take it easy going around tight corners! For those of you who are interested, you’ll find a few more pictures of the almost-complete Land Rover below.
6 March 2012
Birdie is desperate to come with us on expedition. Whenever I take the Land Rover for a drive he wants to come with and stand on the cubbybox or with his head out of the window, and he likes wearing the Buitenmens.nl buff, Courteney Boots, Hoggs of Fife hat and new Nike Siege 2 sunglasses from Eye-Wear.nl. Today he was even checking out the new Stagefreaks.nl flightcase and survival tin from HettyKat.nl. However, Birdie is my folks’ dog, so he has to guard the fort until I get back. Besides, he gets scared when he sees little white dogs, let alone African wildlife. The only dog we would consider taking is a well-trained Rhodesian Ridgeback, the African dog used to hunt lions, which is immune to insect bites and can run 50 kilometres uninterrupted!
Short film about Rhodesian Ridgebacks after the break. Lees meer »
2 March 2012
We have sadly been forced to delay our departure by a few weeks. The problems in Syria and Libya have forced us to find alternative routes. We hope to depart later this month, or, if required, in early April. We are also both in the final phases of graduating, which has been delayed somewhat by all the extra preparations.
We have also been busy with the final jobs on the Land Rover, some paperwork and sorting out financial matters. We also gave our website a freshening up this week.
17 February 2012
With exactly one month to go until our planned departure, things have not got any easier. We had hoped to travel through Syria, but in light of the recent attacks by the Syrian government on its own population, this is sadly no longer possible. Moreover, there is no quick solution in sight. According to our information, the last overlander travelled through Syria in December without any problems, but it seems as though no-one has taken the chance since then.
As a result of the number of responses this article will be updated as more information becomes available. Italic text is added since the last update.
There are currently four viable alternatives:
- We can travel through Italy to Tunisia and then through Libya to Egypt. However, the security situation in Libya is very unclear at the moment, and very little actual information is available.
- Update 1: it does not seem to be possible to obtain a visa for Libya at the moment, as discussed on the Lonely Planet forum here…
- We can put our Land Rover on a ship in Europe, in a container, or on a so-called roll-on-roll-off-ship (often abbreviated to a ro-ro ship), to Egypt.
- Update 1: from the 27th of February services of a Ro-Ro ship will commence between Mersin (Turkey) and Alexandria (Egypt) on which you can also travel yourself, read more about it here… or a translation from Turkish here (thanks to Gee Hurkmans of geehurkmans.nl)
- Update 2: there is also a possibility to use the existing route between Mazkume and Egypt, but this option does not provide the opportunity to go to Egypt with the ship, thus a flight to Egypt is necessary. A recent quote for this shipment was €835 without custom charges.
- Update 3: it looks like the Ro-Ro route between Mersin and Alexandria will not commence soon. According to recent sources the agent thought the whole thing was highly uncertain. The original start date of Febrary 27th will certainly be met.
- As one of the few overlanders taking a trip of the entire continent, we also have the luxury to do our journey the other way around, since we will basically be driving in a (really big) circle around Africa. We would then travel from the Netherlands to Spain, cross into Morocco and then drive down the west coast of Africa to South-Africa. After spending some time there, we would drive back along the east coast to Europe. If, by then, the route to Europe is still not open, we will just put the car on a ship and fly back.
- There are overlanders that are still investigating opportunities to drive through Syria overland in week 9. We have had contact with somebody that is several days from the Syrian border and is in possession of a visa and local knowledge. According to his information the route from Aleppo to Damascus is traversable as long as certain areas are avoided (certain parts of cities, funural sites etc.). The risks remain very real, but hiring an English speaking taxi driver that guides you from border to border would be a wise strategy. Update possibly later this week.
- Update 1: this overlander has considered driving through Syria for several days and sourced information from local contacts, but decided not to travel through Syria. Instead, he will ship his Landcruiser from Turkey to Egypt on March 1st using the regular containership, and fly to Egypt. So far Syria does not look like a viable option.
There are two more options that are not really worth considering, but to be complete I will mention them anyway: Lees meer »