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About Heading South for Winter

Anna and James - travelling the classic Cairo to Cape Town route in our Landcruiser.

Trip Start: 2012-11-03 Trip End: 2013-02-28 .

Author Archive | Heading South for Winter

Namibian Nomads

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Our arrival in Namibia was inauspicious. Having taken the off road track from near Gunmare in Botswana (quite a bold move in wet season), we bumped and swerved our way to the small shack which marked the border. A brief view of register revealed no Brits had been this way in a year (kudos!), and after teaching the unfortunate army…

Becoming a Bush Pilot

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After the long and hard road to Livingstone, it was time to take stock. We only had 3 weeks to get to Cape Town, but now, after all that driving, the odds were shifting in our favour. A quick check of the sat nav, revealed we were only 3 days drive from the Cape if we headed straight for it,…

The Long and Dusty Road

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Four months was always an ambitious timetable for a trip as long as ours, and with a bit too much fun, and a bit too much customs admin behind us, we were sitting a bit too far north with a bit too little time when we finally set out from Kigali. Anna had already travelled quite a bit in this…

Short stop in Rwanda

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We’d heard that everyone in Rwanda is terribly polite and this proved to be the case.  The first people we met after the border were these lovely students who came to welcome us to their village and the country as we stopped to take some photos at a lake.  They had been learning English in school and were keen to…

Ugandan Discussions

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The officials on the border gave us a pretty easy ride into Uganda (each border seems to have got easier as we’ve headed further south) and didn’t even bother to look at the car, so we were able to make our way to Jinja the same day.  It’s the first major town past the border, but we were particularly excited…

Ready for Battle

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The Masai warriors of south western Kenya are famous for their ability to go from a deep sleep to battle ready in a matter of seconds. Since this is a trait I am always claiming I share with the Masai, it was pretty essential that we go to visit their homeland in the Mara reserve, to see whether we had…

Living the High Life

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Nairobi was a huge reverse culture shock. After emerging from the wilds of Lake Turkana, landing in one of Africa’s richest cities took us quite by surprise (I even had to remind Anna not to squat behind a bush, because she was only 10m from the bathroom!)

For all you hear about Nairobi and its dangers, I must confess, it…

Crossing into Kenya

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How best to get between Kenya and Ethiopia is a subject of constant debate amongst overlanders.  The traditional route has been via Moyale and Marsabit in north eastern Kenya.  The main advantage is that it’s a proper border, an actual road and is pretty direct.  The disadvantages include a horrendous corrugated road surface and bandits – potentially needing to take…

Tribe Time

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We had pretty high expectations going into Ethiopia, as various friends had been there and raved about it, but throughout all of our trip we really weren’t disappointed.  As we headed south from Addis, every drive continued to be absolutely stunning – which was fortunate as we had quite a long distance to cover to get down to the Kenyan…

Hitting the Highlands

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It was a minor miracle, when travel weary after a hard 5 days crossing Sudan, we rolled into a small hostel in the mountain town of Gondar to found that Ali had managed to meet us there. So vague and unconfirmed were our plans, I had had my doubts, but on his own adventure via Addis, Ali had checked into…

The Road Less Travelled but More Tarred

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Sudan declared its independence from the UK in 1956, but now a new kind of (semi) colonialism is kicking in, in the form of the Chinese. In return for a stake in the countries rich oil resources, the Chinese have deployed foremen to every corner of Sudan to build the most beautiful tar roads, even to the most remote areas.…

Finally…!!

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As Anna described in the last post, we’d been under near constant tension during our stay in Aswan, worried that we wouldn’t get ourselves on to the weekly Aswan – Wadi Halfa ferry. As we dragged ourselves through the hordes of Sudanese people making the trek home, before finally carving ourselves out a spot in the ‘2nd class cabins’ (ie…

Aswan…and more Aswan…and more Aswan

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Aswan is THE big pinch point on the Cairo to Cape Town route as for various unclear reasons (security?  corruption? general lack of motivation?) the road between Egypt and Sudan is still not open.  This means that the only way to enter Sudan is across Lake Nasser above the High Dam on a weekly ferry with your car on a…

South along the Nile

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We finished our Western Desert tour with a final leg into Luxor, followed by a rather lacklustre police escort who gave up after about half an hour.  The days of proper police escorts around Egypt seem to be over, fortunately.  Suddenly emerging out of the desert to find so many trees, flowers and farmland gives you a real sense of…

Driving on the Moon

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We left the insane traffic of Cairo behind last Monday morning, and headed out on the Western Desert Road, where we hopped from oasis to oasis, making a long loop around to Luxor. The instructions we were given about the route sounded a bit Lord of the Rings – “go across the Black Desert to the Crystal Mountain and then…

Customs stole my Mars bars…

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We thought we had left the byzantines behind in Istanbul, but it turns out they have been re-incarnated in Egypt. Our first week or so in Egypt mainly consisted of mountains of bureaucracy – whether it be the 4 days we waited for our car to clear customs in Damietta, or the pointless 2 hour wait at the British Embassy…

Sailing Past Trouble

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We have finally landed in Africa, after a 24 hour ferry from Turkey to Egypt. We now face a barrage of administration to get the car through customs, after what was a surprising ferry trip….

If we had done this trip 2 years ago, we would have driven on from here, through Syria, and into Jordan before meeting Africa in…

Travel Through Europe

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Probably a boring bit for most, but potentially useful for those that follow. I had put least effort into planning this part of the trip, so was mostly reliant on the Sat Nav and Google maps.

We travelled the most direct route (through Slovenia, Croatia and Serbia), though if you had an extra day, the route through Hungary and Romania…

Indy!

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Having indulged ourselves in Istanbul and shivered our way through the ‘fairy chimneys’ of Cappadocia, we accelerated on down a spanking new motorway through stunning mountain ranges and arrived in Iskenderun, the port for the ferry to Egypt.

Hmmm – something familiar about this place we thought.  Why yes!

“During the Crusades, three Knights of the First Crusade discovered the…

Trip Preparation

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The below is a summary of all I have learnt over the last couple of years planning this trip, I hope it is helpful, it is as yet incomplete, but I will endeavour to add to it as I get time on the trip.

Useful Sources
I have made use of many sources for planning the trip, but some of…

Crossing a Continent

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Slavonski Brod, Croatia to Ankara, Turkey (c.1,800 Km)

Today we rolled on into Asia, marking the completion of the European leg of our journey. Having whipped across the Balkans, we even managed to give the Beast a day off in view of the Bosphorous and give ourselves up to the delights of Istanbul.  

The biggest change on this leg,…

Friends Old and New

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Cambridge, UK to Slavonski Brod, Croatia (c.2,000 Km)

Following a couple of days of manic packing (thanks to both of our sets of parents for last minute assistance!) we are now finally on the move!  We set out in the wee hours from Anna’s parents’ in Cambridge, and have spent the last 5 days crossing an incredibly wet Europe. There…

Taking it OFF road…

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We’ve finally got the car back from the garage. Very exciting!
This weekend we hit the home straight with out trip preparation heading to North Wales for an off road driving course.
The car was incredible! Really capable on the muddy stuff. Anna even got to take her first shift behind the wheel.
5 days to go……

Far From Help Medical Course

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So, we’re really starting to warm up for the trip now.
Anna and I spent the weekend in Oxford doing a medical training course called ‘Far from Help’. It was a great course, but incredibly scary – hope we don’t have to use any of it!
http://wildernessmedicaltraining.co.uk/explorer-series-far-from-help 
We covered everything from dealing with a collapsed lung, to broken limbs, to diarrhoea.…

Our Charity

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We are doing the drive in support of a charity very close to Anna’s heart – the Welbodi Partnership. Do please help us support them. You can learn more by clicking here:
http://www.justgiving.com/AnnaandJimmyDrivetoCapeTown…

The big idea…

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I’ve always quite fancied taking on a big expedition. There’s something that stirs in my belly every time I read about to exploits of some of the great explorers and adventurers (think Hemmingway, not Grills), and whilst I have neither the bravery nor the means to take on a trip of that magnitude, for a long time I’ve had the…