Campement Djidjack, Palmarin, Senegal,
We were sitting behind our car, watching the birds at the birdbath, reading, and listening to the sounds of nature. Then, our campsite was not so quiet any longer. In came more overlanders. Not just one couple, but two couples and a guy.
We have, since our journey started, wanted to meet up with other overlanders. Both to share information with, and maybe to spend some time on the road with. Noel and Ping were our travel companions for a week in Morocco, and we had all intentions of spending some time with Jupp and Doro whom we met at Wassadou. To our surprise, the roads are otherwise very quiet; there doesn’t seem to be very many overlanders around. And further, most of those we meet are either on their way north, or just staying in one country.
Also, since our journey started, we have had a good look at what vehicles other people are travelling in. I think this is natural. It is a topic of conversation, and it is a way to learn. From the top of my head, this is what we have seen:
- In St Jean des Aupes we met a Swiss couple in a Toyota LandCruiser 7-series 2-door stationwagon. They were only travelling Europe, but had the ability to sleep inside the vehicle.
- In Sale in France we met a Dutch couple in a big truck. They have been all over the world over the last 12 years, and their truck is their home.
- In Spain we met Noel and Ping in their Iveco van. Kitchen and bed inside, and the ability to hide if needed.
- At Chefchaouen in Morocco we met a couple of Italian/Swiss guys in an Iveco truck. It is not the big truck version, but it has a box on the back with a pop-up tent.
- At Chefchaouen we also saw another truck, an Ireland-registered Unimog.
- In Agadir we met a Dutch couple at the campsite. They had a big truck, complete with everything needed – it looked like an IKEA showroom inside.
- In Agadir we camped next to a German couple in a Toyota LandCruiser 7-series pick-up with a small box on the back.
- In Rabat we met a German couple at the Mauritania embassy. They were in a big truck.
- In Merzouga we met a French couple in a Toyota Landcruiser 100-series, tent on top.
- In Dakhla we saw an Italian couple come in late on evening. Their vehicle: a big truck.
- In Dakhla we also saw to other overlanders that had come into the campsite late the last night. They were both in Toyota LandCruiser 7-series pick-up, both with a box on the back. This gave them the ability to sleep inside, and to cook out of the rain and wind.
- In Mauritania we met two French couples living in Morocco. They were both in Land Rovers with pop-up tents, doing shorter trips into Mauri and Mali.
- In St Louis we met Wolfgang from Germany. He had a Nissan Navarra one-and-a-quarter cab with a box on the back.
- At Wassadou we met a French couple in their 7-series Toyota LandCruiser with a box on the back.
- At Wassadou we met Jupp and Doro in their 35-year old Merc truck. They have been all over the world over the last 8 years.
- At Wassadou we also met a Dutch couple in their massive Merc truck.
- On the way to Tamba we met a Belgian registered truck.
- On the way out of Tamba we saw a French-registered 80/100-series Toyota LandCruiser.
- Here at Palmarin we are camping with Two Austrian couples. One couple is in a Merc truck with a Russian telecom box on the back. The other couple is in a huge Steyr truck. Their friend is in a Land Rover 110 with an IterCamp pop-up tent.
So, where does this leave us? It certainly seems our vision of old Landies or Cruisers with the Howling Moon or Eezy-Awn fold-out roof-top tents, parked under a Baobab or Acacia in the middle of nowhere is somewhat outdated… Now, it seems travelling is done by truck, or by a vehicle that has a door that can be closed to keep the world out and to create a much more private (and secure?) space inside. Is this a sign of travellers wanting more privacy? Is it an indication of how the world has evolved recently? Or maybe it is both?