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My trip report in Chris Scott’s Overlanders’ Handbook

I’m proud to see that Chris Scott used my short trip report for his new Overlanders’ Handbook! His book is a must-read and must-have for any serious overlander planning a vehicle dependent expedition. The 2nd edition is just out, and available at Trailblazer
The photograph shows a wild camp in the Sudan desert, near the Meroe pyramids, with Thimba in the foreground.

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Schermafbeelding 2017-09-08 om 14.48.13

Some video highlights.

Finally got round to go through all the video clippings of the trip. Most of it was shot in Morocco, the Guineas, Ivory Coast, Liberia and Congo.
The part with the mud and water is the “highway” from the coast to the capital in Congo Brazzaville. Sort of the M1.
The overturned truck is blocking a similar main road. With the aid of two guides I managed a bypass. The descent was so steep that I had to ask two – at the time – fellow travellers to hang on to the back of my car to prevent it from tipping over. The voice over is Steven, an experienced (motorbike) world traveller, who had the most scary moments in his career (“It’s f***ing mental!”). He told me afterwards that he thought of jumping off, but I’m glad he didn’t!
I consider myself an experienced off roader, but this was exceptional. It doesn’t really show how steep it is in the video. It’s remarkable how focussed you are in moments like this. But after the descent I got out of the car tears flowed.

It’s a quick and dirty sort of video, no fancy editing, but it gives an impression of this part of the overlanding trip in this magnificent part of Africa!

OR (because of copyright on the audio):

Gee

April 6, 2014

Independent travel in Africa fascinates many people. Whether they are planning for a trip themselves or just want to enjoy reading about it. I am glad that so many people have found their way to my website, over 25.000 so far. Thank you for your interest in my travels with Thimba, and your suggestions, comments and advice that you mailed me. Stay tuned!
Safe travels,

Gee

Of a friendly taxi driver and lousy Land Rover service

The friendly taxi driver

Insane Casa traffic

Insane Casa traffic

I’m trying to find my way in the hustle and bustle of Casablanca’s insane traffic, looking for Salim on 625, Boulevard Mohamed V. Salim is the dealer for Britpart in these neck of the woods, and Britpart in the UK has a gearbox ready to be shipped. We all think that with a Moroccan company clearing customs will be less of a hassle.
Finding the right Boulevard is easy but I can’t figure out the logic behind the numbering; it stops at 323, continues a bit further with 128, then there’s 378. I stop to ask directions.

petit taxi

petit taxi

“Goedemorgen, kan ik u misschien helpen?”. A taxi driver in a small red petit-taxi asks me in fluent Dutch if he can help me. I explain to him what I’m looking for and he offers to pilot me to the right address. I tell him I’ve got a name, an address and a telephone number, and that it’s supposed to be  garage. He gets in front of me, drives a bit, stops to ask for directions himself, drives a bit more, gets out and dials the telephone number, and after 15 minutes he triumphantly halts in front of 626. When I want to pay him for his excellent services, he won’t hear of it.
“Just tell them back home how good these taxi drivers in Casa are,” he says.

Land Rover ‘service’

Lousy Land Rover service from Smeia

Land Rover Smeia

A few days earlier I had navigated my way through Casa’s city centre on my own, visiting the Land Rover dealer/importer for Morocco and the Middle East. When you have all that on your business card you expect chique, especially in Casablanca. I was not disappointed. My vintage Defender surely turned some heads; not out of admiration but pity. The chef de garage shifted the gear lever  a couple of times and concluded that a) it was old, b) it was not to be repaired, and c) that Land Rover stopped making these gear boxes eons ago. I could have told him that myself. I explained that there were replacement gearboxes aplenty in the UK, for instance from Ashcroft. They kindly but resolutely refused to be part of this: “Company policy, I’m afraid. We hope you understand?”

5th gear update (Sunday 19th)
The gearbox was shipped last Friday and should arrive today or tomorrow. Clearing takes one or two days. With the very kind help of a Dutch Expat couple (thanks Kevin and Stella), my own garage ET Coevorden (thanks a million, Erwin!), I should be on the road again end of the week. Insha’Allah, of course.