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Driving across Africa

Driving across Africa
April 08, 2000 11:24PM
Anonymous User
My husband and I are travel writers/photographers. We are planning to travel across Africa by car along this route: South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Sudan, Egypt. We are planning approx 6 months for this trip. This is our first trip across Africa and we have a number of questions re driving. If anyone can offer advice re any/all of the following, this would be much appreciated:

1. We are a bit unsure about passing through Sudan in order to get to Egypt. Can anyone recommend any alternative route(s)?

2. We are assuming we will require a 4WD and are planning to take a tent for accommodation in most areas. We know Landrovers and Landcruisers and widespread. What is your advice re the best vehicle to take - considering safety issues, fuel consumption and spare availability?

3. What spare parts should we carry with us?

4. How do we stay safe driving across Africa - especially with respect to driving routes, time of travel, moving with others etc?

5. After we drive to Egypt, we are planning to move on into the Middle East then Europe (finishing up in the UK). Can we buy a car in South Africa and sell in the UK? If so, can you recommend any suitable places/ways to do this?

6. What about logistics such as moving in and out of countries, insuring the vehicle (and third party insurance)?

7. What further preparation would you recommend?

We are keen to hear from people who have made a similar trip.

Thanks - Liz Mencel
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Overland Europe-SA
August 24, 2000 03:59PM
Anonymous User
Hello there,

I'm planning more or less the same trip but in the opposite direction. As far as I can see, you'll definitely need a 4wd if you want to go a ways off the main roads and/or visit some of the more remote NP's (e.g. Zimbabwe, Kenya, Botswana).
Also, I've heard roads in Sudan and Ethiopia (and even Northern Kenya) are hell, so a high clearance vehicle and preferably 4WD might come in handy.
About selling the 4WD here in Europe...doesn't seem to be a problem, but you won't get a good price for it, since anybody will raise eyebrows seeing a SA licence plate ("How did it got here ?"winking smiley. There's a healthy second hand market in Belgium (where I live), where Morrocans buy cars to ship out to Morroco. Prices you get are low, but you'll sell it for sure. By the way, a second hand 4WD is much cheaper here than in SA (I've lived there for 9 months so I know the prices), since there're so many of them here !
Finally, Egypt doesn't accept the carnet de passage so you'll have to lodge a huge amount of money in an Egyptian bank when you enter (the border at Wadi Haifa is open !). Security in N Sudan seems to be OK, but south from Karthoum is no-go zone. Travelling through Ethiopia seems to be OK as well, but don't even think of going to Eritrea. At the Embassy here in Brussels they told me fighting had stopped, but, hey this is Africa, right...? Personnally, I think going to the Middle East via Saudi Arabia from Sudan (Port Sudan) is your best bet, but you'll go through hell getting that beautiful Saudi visa (a 72-h transit visa anyway !).

That's about all usefull info I can give you !

Good luck, and maybe we'll meet en route ?!

Erwin
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Re: Overland Europe-SA
August 18, 2015 04:33PM
Registered: 2 years ago
Posts: 6
hi Erwin :-)
I have similar plans with my family and would love to connect with you if you indeed did the trip...
with love
Geert
- also Belgian :-)
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Overland in Africa
February 02, 2001 04:32PM
Anonymous User
Contact me on pr_sv@hotmail.com. I think I´ve got lots of information for you. I bought car in Cape Town and travelled to Tanzanian boarder and back.

Premek
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overland from Holland to Egypt to S/A
February 20, 2001 06:01PM
By tadros
Registered: 8 years ago
Posts: 6
Hi, a message to Erwin, (and offcourse anybody else)
DO YOU LIVE IN BELGIUM ???
tHAT WOULD BE GREAT!!
tHE FOLLOWING IS MY STORY AND PLAN
i'M dUTCH, MY HUSBAND eGYPTIAN, LIVING IN nEW zEALAND, TRAVVELING IN jUNE? TO HOLLAND,
I need info and prices of 4x4 in Holland, Belgium or Germany? are you to do the same trip ??
tell me more.How about entering Egypt with a car, sounds like a nightmare to me?! and then on the boat to The Sudan, I really need this info so I can plan my trip, otherwise we go backpacking..
We have 2 kids with us,I NEED contacts, especially from W/Europe. Who does a carnet work??
All info welcome. Bye Inge Tadros
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Re: overland from Holland to Egypt to S/A
November 15, 2010 07:32PM
By Amanzie
Registered: 7 years ago
Posts: 1
Hi ladies, gentlemen, girls and boys, and all the other crazy enough like us to do a journey like this.

I have started planning the same journey, but most probably only in 2 years.
I will be traveling from Hamburg-Germany to Patensie-South Africa. My home town.

To get to your question about being difficult to get into Egypt or Sudan:
It is not difficult, just expensive. A Carnet de Passe (Document for Pass) is a document which allows you to import and export your vehicle into each country. A normal Carnet de Passe will be billed 1/3 of your actual vehicle value, but be careful, they count all the extras e.g. winch, tent, extra tanks, snorkel ect. and then they calculate the deposit for the Carnet de Passe.

East Route:
If you come from Europe and travel through Israel, you will not be able to enter Sudan. I used to have a little trick for this when I was there on business. I stapled a normal small paper into my Passport and then they stamped on the paper. This will not work here, because you will have the Israel stamp on your Carnet de Passe...this means trouble. You can apply for a Transit Visa before you arrive there, then you will have not trouble. This is only relevant when you travel through Israel.

Egypt and Sudan has very high taxes on a Carnet de Passe, so you will be billed 2/3 of the actual vehicle value.
My Vehicle is worth 7000Euro, after I took it to customs in Germany for the Carnet de Passe calculation, they said 18 000Euro (due to all the extras), so if I would like to pass through Egypt and Sudan in need to give them a 12 000Euro deposit, which you get back after your journey and handing them the complete Carne de Passe, but very cheap fuel!!

At the entry border you get an "import" stamp and at the exit border an "export" stamp. You need to show the customs all the stamps in order to get your money back. It is nearly like a "full service history" of a car.
If you have an accident and your car is totally wrecked, you need to inform your customs, the customs of the current country, the police of the current country and you need to make photos about the scrapping of your vehicle, otherwise you might have trouble to get your money back from customs.

West Route:
Here you will exit Morocco and enter at the south of Spain.
Here your Carnet de Passe is only 1/3 of the calculated vehicle value, but then you get a block for Egypt and Sudan. If you try to enter - or enter one of these countries - you will get into trouble.

I got all the information from my local Car Club www.adac.de

You need a car insurance which pays for the damage caused by your vehicle. This you can get for approx. 1200Euro for 12 months. You can only get a full insurance (for your damage and their damage) if your vehicle is younger than 5 years.

I got this info from Travel Insure in Hamburg, my Car club recommended them.

This insurance is often not enough, and the current country wants you to purchase one of the local insurances. This you can do at the local customs, normally very cheap. If you should have an accident, your insurance will only pay after the local insurance got to its limit. Let's say the damage is 2500Euro to the other vehicle, and the locally purchased insurance will only pay 1800Euro, your "foreign" insurance will pay the rest.

Vehicle type for the actual journey:
You WILL need a 4x4.
You need a vehicle with high ground clearance.
You will need proper tires (big and wide with a rough profile) with steel belt, make your vehicle a bit wider with a widening kit.
A long wheel base vehicle will give you a more comfortable ride, a short wheel base is more maneuverable, and has better off road abilities, but this is only noticeable in extreme offroading conditions.
Try to get a vehicle with diff-locks in the front and back.

You need one with hi- and low range gears, otherwise you might damage your clutch and maybe gearbox, for the oil will get to hot in the gearbox.
If you want to drive through the rain forest, you will need a snorkel and winch fitted to your vehicle, choose the right season, if you go there in the rain season you will get stuck around every corner. The roads are clay...this means you just slip into the ditch when they are wet.

Very important!! Take enough Water and Diesel!
+- 7litres of water per person per day

You need sand ladders when you are driving through the desert, you will get long distances of hard sand, but every now and then you will get a soft patch, and get stuck straight away. Here they might be useful.

Talking about buying or selling your vehicle.

Buying:
Buy a Toyota Land Cruiser or a Land Rover Defender. You get spare parts for all of these all over Africa. Of course you can take another vehicle, but if you have a break down you can wait up to 10days for the right parts.
You will get trouble with spare parts when the Toyota Land Cruiser or Land Rover Defender is younger than 2004, because for these vehicles you need special software, and electronic parts.
Take a vehicle without Air Conditioning. The shock will not be so big when you are getting out of the car with 22°C inside and 45°C outside. If you do this all the time you will weaken your immune system and get sick along the way. Nobody wants this. An air Conditioning is heavy, "hangs" on the motor, and means more fuel.

Selling:
I can't say anything about selling an "African" Vehicle in England, but in Europe you will have a lot of trouble selling.
1) Remember, you have a Carnet de Passe, you only get your deposit back when you show them a complete Carnet de Passe. This Carnet de Passe is only complete when your vehicle is back at the "Start point". A Carnet de Passe is valid for exactly 12 months, you can extend this by another 12 months and another 12 months and again and again, you just need to inform your Automobile Club or Customs (depends where you left the deposit for the Carnet de Passe) 6 weeks before the expiry date, otherwise you will get trouble with your money.
2) The steering wheel is on the wrong side.
3) The road safety tests are very strict here. Here it will most probably be Not Roadworthy.
4) You can sell the car to one of the Exporters, but you will lose a lot of money

Remember: When you are on this journey, If you have a time table you need to be flexible. Take time to enjoy the brilliant views, animals and cultures of Africa. If you have a breakdown, relax, take a step back and try to think :-)
When possible, try to travel in a convoy. Aways handy when sleeping in the wild and not in a camp, or when traveling over long vast distances.
Take a proper GPS system. The company Garmin has good GPS systems and actual maps for Africa, and even when you are doing serious offroading you will still have an idea where you are.

I hope I did not chat too much and I hope I could help some people. Like I said, I am only planning in going in about 2 years. But planning is everything.

Best regards to everybody.

Christo M.
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Registered: 5 years ago
Posts: 1
Hi Adventurer's

I was reading up on the said subject, and it’s great to finally read of fresh news of such a trip. My wife and I are experienced safari “go’es” but we have not done such a long trip as yet.

We have a 4x4 Isuzu 280 TD DC towing a all terrain camping trailer 800 km built for purpose. The complete rig is fitted with all the bells and whistles to complete our tour.

The trip I have put together start in Cape Town RSA – Namibia – Zambia – Malawi – Tanzania – Kenya – Uganda – DRC (North) – CAR – Chad (South) – Nigeria (North) – Benin – Burkina Faso – Ivory Coast (North) – Guinea - Senegal – Mauritania (West Coast) – Western Sahara – Morocco – Spain – Portugal – And return a year later (maybe another route).

My concerns are crossing through DRC (North) – CAR – Chad (South) – Nigeria (North). Can anybody give ideas on crossing these countries? I never planed to go through the East of Africa for the reasons I have been reading up on and the current situation.

I look forward in hearing any advice to assist us on our quest.

Nebosh
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Registered: 2 years ago
Posts: 6
hi Nebosch :-)
I have similar plans with my family and would love to connect with you if you indeed did the trip...
with love
Geert
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overland in Africa
February 20, 2001 06:11PM
By tadros
Registered: 8 years ago
Posts: 6
Hi Liz,
We are trying to get information about the same trip but vice versa....the most difficult part is the Sudan, entering Egypt as far as we know anyway I still think it's easier to go from S/A but that Egypt is so difficult to get in.
I tell ye I've been on the internet for days and many great and helpfull people I give you a few websites to look at and contact they've been very helpfull to me, but till now I still don't know what to do...If you know more mail me back.PLS hereby some websites and emailadresses;
http;//informatikk.hive.no/~dbratho (Lon.Planet)
Say hello to Bradley from me ! he's a great help
or http;//www.driveafrica.co.za (alex@driveafrica.co.za) say hello from me !!
you must look at this website;gkingsmill@yahoo.com
say hello to Geoff of my

Well mail me back and see how it all goes Bye Inge
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overland in Africa
February 20, 2001 06:13PM
By tadros
Registered: 8 years ago
Posts: 6
tell me more Pls I need to know also more info about Egypt in?out

pls reply
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Re: Driving across Africa
January 20, 2013 03:22PM
By ybsone
Registered: 4 years ago
Posts: 1
Will it be possible to drive from South Africa through Angola, Nigeria to Algeria with an Alfa Spider (916)? are there continuus tarmac roads from south to north?

Google Maps found this route: South Africa-Botswana-Namibia-Angola-Congo-Gabon-Cameroon-Nigeria-@#$%&-Algeria(Algiers)
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Re: Driving across Africa
July 21, 2013 07:38PM
Registered: 4 years ago
Posts: 1
Now I have read it all and some very good information but no one has recorded their actual success in travelling from Africa to Europe and their great experience or am I missing it.

My wife and I are involved in a ministry in Uganda and have been living there for the past 5 months although our work has been going on for about 14 years. We plan to drive out Toyota Prado from Kampala to Ireland in 2014 and then from Ireland to Australia ! And in the process raise awareness of our work in Uganda and raise funds. - I know you think we are mad - well - so do we but we are going to do it.

Would really like to hear from anyone who has done any or part of the journey and what advise you can give in preparation for the task. I suppose our real concern is getting from Ethiopia through Middle East and into Europe, once in Europe we will be OK and then the other small hop across Asia to Australia !!!

Look forward to your help!

Paul & Sharon
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Re: Driving across Africa
March 12, 2014 10:43PM
By Fionab
Registered: 3 years ago
Posts: 1
We are planning on driving to Botswana from uk and thinking of the safest route for 2 women....in 2015
looking for any possible information with regards to driving with your own vehicle through Libya then to Egypt. Are visas still possible for UK citizens? not too sure about arrivng with your own vehicle and travelling alone.

Or do we head for Egypt ? And then head on down thru Sudan and Ethiopia

Any help with this adventure would be much appreciated.

Many Thanks in advance.

:-)
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Re: Driving across Africa
August 18, 2015 04:39PM
Registered: 2 years ago
Posts: 6
hi Fiona :-)
I have similar plans with my family and would love to connect with you if you indeed did the trip...
with love
Geert
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Re: Driving across Africa
November 16, 2016 04:36PM
Registered: 1 year ago
Posts: 2
have you managed to do the trip? really interested to hear more...
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Re: Driving across Africa
November 13, 2014 06:19PM
Registered: 3 years ago
Posts: 1
Hi there, I also plan to drive towards Tanzania in 2015 ,me and my son will be traveling in one landrover. perhaps we could join up if we traveling at the same time? Safety in numbers and all that. My name is Hugo and my email address is bmwv8nuts@gmail.com. I've done a lot of research so far but loads more to do, lol!

Personally I would like to enter Africa via Morocco but it might seem like would have to enter via Egypt, like I said, lots more to research. I have friends in Tanzania and across most of southern Africa I have friends or some sort of family , for those occasional hot shower and real bed days. they will gladly except extra travellers traveling with me. We plan to leave 2 November 2015 but that's not set in stone yet. If your interested in swopping info or traveling together, contact me gladly via email bmwv8nuts@gmail.com
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Re: Driving across Africa
August 18, 2015 04:40PM
Registered: 2 years ago
Posts: 6
hi Hugo :-)
I have similar plans with my family and would love to connect with you if you indeed did the trip...
with love
Geert
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Re: Driving across Africa
March 29, 2015 10:21AM
Registered: 2 years ago
Posts: 1
Hi all. My wife and I looking to travel to durban south africa from wales in the uk. Need information of what paperwork is needed. I have the vehicle sorted,just need an idea of costs and paperwork. Looking to travel either in 2016 or 2017.
you can also contact me on
07429099789 or
marlonolivier99@gmail.com.
Keep well
regards
marlon olivier
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Re: Driving across Africa
April 30, 2016 01:35PM
Registered: 1 year ago
Posts: 1
Hi there, my partner Lara and I want to travel to South Africa from London and also wondering if we could tow and ride a horse alongside - I know it sounds crazy but we are looking at all option. We are two women and we have a Kia Sportage AWD reg 2016. We are looking at travelling early 2018. Would love to have feedback from anyone who has actually safely completed the journey either direction? Thank you, Melanie PS forgot to say we plan on making it a charity event to open up a school for children orphaned by parents who have died from HIV AIDs.
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Re: Driving across Africa
May 04, 2016 06:30PM
Registered: 1 year ago
Posts: 1
Ride a horse alongside? You serious.?
That will be some journey for the horse.
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Re: Driving across Africa
August 18, 2015 04:33PM
Registered: 2 years ago
Posts: 6
hi Liz :-)
I have similar plans with my family and would love to connect with you if you indeed did the trip...
with love
Geert
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Re: Driving across Africa
July 18, 2016 05:29PM
Registered: 1 year ago
Posts: 1
Wow, so many travellers with such a great plan!
I hope all you guys had the best time in your life.

I'm planning a similar road trip from KENYA to SOUTH AFRICA, trying to cross 10-15 countries between August and December 2016. My plan so far looks as follows:
* Buying an old 4x4 car in Nairobi (Kenyan license plate)
* Driving through the following countries: Kenya > Uganda > Rwanda > Tanzania > Malawi > Zambia > Namibia > Botswana > Zimbabwe > Mozambique > Swaziland > Lesotho > South Africa
* Selling the car in Cape Town

I'm having the following questions and look for people with similar/relevant experiences:
* BORDER: can I get a "visa on arrival" by car / road?
* SAFETY: where not to go? (Burundi, DRC, Angola?)
* ROADS: are there any extraordinary regulations to know?
* IMPORT: how to import and sell a car in South Africa?

Once I'm on the road, I will publish my experiences on my sabbatical travel blog:
http://www.aSabbatical.com

---
a web architect on the road
currently travelling in Africa
[www.asabbatical.com]
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Re: Driving across Africa
July 18, 2016 08:37PM
By Vera
Admin
Registered: 8 years ago
Posts: 173
Hi

Exciting trip you have planned - I did one very similar over 10 years ago but started in Malawi. Weatherwise it's a good time of the year to do that route, some countries will be very hot Malawi/Mozambique but if you get to South Africa during December and January it is the winter so will be cold in places

Your questions:
BORDER: can I get a "visa on arrival" by car / road?
It depends upon what passport you hold - some may require you to have a visa beforehand

* SAFETY: where not to go? (Burundi, DRC, Angola?)
The countries you listed are all relatively safe to self drive through, provided sensible precautions are taken. However, events can happen at any time which may make it unsafe - you just need to keep your ears on the news

* ROADS: are there any extraordinary regulations to know?

Make sure your vehicle has reflectors (we got fined for not having them in Zambia) and Warning triangles. Different rules apply in different countries - check with the embassy/consulate or tourist office for each one.

- Several times you will be spot checked by road police, generally they are looking for a way to make a little extra cash. So just make sure you tyres are in good order and your horn and speedo are working and wear your seatbelt.

- It is best to avoid driving after dark in any county

You will need a Yellow Fever vaccination and will be asked to show the certificate when entering certain countries

* IMPORT: how to import and sell a car in South Africa?
Not sure about this one - if you sell the vehicle you will have to pay some duties as the vehicle will have a Kenyan Registration. You may find some useful information here South African Governments website - click here

Hope this helps - have a great trip.
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Re: Driving across Africa
November 16, 2016 04:40PM
Registered: 1 year ago
Posts: 2
Hi everyone, I'm planning a drive across Africa from South Africa to Tunisia. Anyone has recent experiences in crossing africa West side ( via Angola, Nigeria, Algier... ) versus East side
( via Kenya, Sudan, Egypt, Lybia... )?

Mostly interested in safety, regulations regarding the vehicle and road conditions.

Thanks!
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smiling smileyRe: Driving across Africa
September 30, 2017 12:29PM
By Tasha
Registered: 7 weeks ago
Posts: 1
I have been reading up on the trip Across Africa, and am so Amazed by information shared here and experiences. As safari is such a great Adventure I want to be part of it.

It's been two months now, am planning in two Years time to take this Trip to African .from Germany... My home country in Zambia ...but I live here in Europe at the Moment ...

The trip I have put together start in Portugal – Spain – Morocco-Western Sahara – Mauritania (West Coast)–Senegal – GuineaIvory Coast (North) -Burkina Faso – Benin– Nigeria (North)– Chad (South) Kenya – Uganda – Rwanda – DRC (North) – CAR – Tanzania – Zambia– Zimbabwe – Botswana – Namibia – Swaziland –Lesotho– South Africa .

After my trip will settle in my home country – (maybe Fly back to Europe A year later).

I have two concerns:
1. Crossing through (South) Sudan – Nigeria (North). Can anybody give ideas on crossing East of Africa countries?
2. Can I Drive a Europian Registered vehicle all the way down?

EXPORT AND selling of the vehicle
Not sure about this one - I have read some people asking how they can sell their vehicle after arriving at their final destinations, My ideal of suggestion would be to To Sall the vehicles to travels wishing to return back to the vehicle's registered country, with that it can be less of a stress.

Look forward to hearing from you...
Thanks
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