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Visas, visas, visas

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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…

Land Rover Defender 110 Stationwagon 300TDi Overland Vehicle For Sale

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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…

Welcoming back the Africa Expedition

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Suddenly we were home. After slowly driving through Europe for a week, we arrived back right into a welcome-home party complete with flags, banners, loud music and lots of people. A storm of emotional reunions, congratulations, handshaking, gifts, family, friends, more congratulations and questions met us. It’s somewhat unreal to be home after spending over a year on the road. After our departure I wrote:…

The mind of Africa part 3 – Developing “uncivilisation”

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White men and women go to Africa to help it and its people: to develop it, grow it and civilise it. During their stay in what they may dub “uncivilisation”, they find a freedom and a simplicity. Time is no longer perishable, productivity is determined by temperature, everyone should be included in long talks with tea and what doesn’t happen today might…

The mind of Africa part 2 – The incomprehensible ant

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Africa is spread out over 71 different latitudes. Each of them, in combination with a raw geography shaped by unimaginable forces, produces a different landscape and ecosystem. It seems that every animal is perfectly adapted to the elevation, climate and terrain in which it lives. This is particularly noticeable in ants, which vary dramatically from tiny harmless black dots to huge…

The mind of Africa part 1 – A guest of the incomprehensible

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In just over 370 days we did what many thought would be impossible: crossing Africa in our circumnavigation of the African continent. We drove through the Sahara on both sides, worked our way through the Central African jungle, saw countless kilometres of Sahel and savannah, and climbed mountains and forded rivers. We met people with worldviews more distant from ours than you…

The snowy slopes of Mount Toubkal

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Imlil, Marrakesh-Tensift-Al Haouz, Morocco.
We spent a few days driving around southern Morocco along the coast towards Agadir. We then turned inland to take a road that would lead us straight to the Atlas Mountains. The views from the narrow, windy road were stunning with mountains all around us, often one after the other in different shades of grey, and…

Date of homecoming: 28th of April

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Tiznit, Souss-Massa-Draa, Morocco.
The Africa Expedition is nearly over. Right now we are in Morocco to relax and enjoy the African continent for a few more days before we take the ferry to Europe on the 20th of April. Two days later, on the 22nd, we can pop open the champagne because it will have been a year since we departed. We will arrive back in Molenweg in…

Western Sahara or simply Morocco?

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Cape Bojador, Laâyoune-Boujdour-Sakia El Hamra, Western Sahara.
“Where are you now? In which country?”, asks the clerk at the fuel station in the middle of the desert between Dakhla and Boujdour. A trick question with two answers, but only one is right. I look at him and think for a second. He looks scruffy, unshaven but his eyes are fierce – not…

Senegambia

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Serrekunda, Banjul, The Gambia.
We crossed the border with Guinea and drove into Senegal. To us, after roughing it in Guinea and Côte d’Ivoire for over a week, this was civilisation: the roads were suddenly excellent, sponsored by the generous people of the European Union, we started meeting other overlanders, and luxuries like internet were available once again. We then headed into…

Poor and forgotten Guinea

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Labe, Labé, Guinea.
Forgotten by the rest of the world, yet proud to be Guineans. Richly endowed with resources, yet among the poorest countries in the world. Upon independence, they said “au revoir” to France while President Ahmed Sékou Touré steered the country in a socialist direction, isolating it from the rest of the world. He ruled until 1984 when a military coupe…

The perfect French colony: Côte d’Ivoire

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We crossed into Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) and within hours drove into Abidjan, a Manhattan-style city that arose from poverty and reconstruction after several civil wars. We drove past it completely astonished. The road turned into a European-style two-lane freeway in almost perfect condition, which is unique in West-Africa. Côte d’Ivoire had been a model former French colony under President Houphouët-Boigny,…

The Gold Coast

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Cape Coast, Central, Ghana.

“Gold Coast.” Even the name conjures up images of unimaginable wealth right there for the taking along with palm-fringed beaches and natives who will bring it all to your feet. The reality, however, is more brutal. The Portuguese arrived in what is now Ghana in 1471 and started building forts around 1590. After that, the British, French,…

The Choggu Yapalsi Islamic Primary School

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Tamale, Northern, Ghana.
About seven years ago I (Twan) raised money from friends and family to build a school in Tamale. I was 17 years old and travelled to arid, dusty, Islamic Northern Ghana to make a difference to the lives of the children who live in the Yapalsi-area of Tamale. In 12 weeks I built the Choggu Yapalsi Islamic…

The voodoo of Hollywood movies

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2 April 2013 Jeffrey de Visser
Natitingou, Atakora, Benin.
We entered Benin through a minor border crossing, because the main border with Nigeria (Seme) was meant to be a nightmare. We then drove from Lagos to Cotonou in one day and spent two nights with Sander, a Dutch guy living with his family in the city. The next day we took the “route de…

Corruption for dummies

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Cotonou, Littoral Department, Benin.
Roadblocks, otherwise known as checkpoints, are a daily occurrence on the roads in Central and West Africa. In fact they’re as common as the corruption that keeps them going, unfortunately. We will briefly try to explain the process and provide the reader with several tips on to how to negotiate them without paying a bribe.
First of all,…

“Nigeria is a very dangerous country”

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“Nigeria is a very dangerous country”, or so we had been told by many people throughout Africa. Indeed, if we can trust the free press, it certainly is. Countless kidnappings of expats in the south of the country, especially around Port Harcourt, had resulted in extreme safety measures on the part of the party who had to pay the ransoms: the oil…

Climbing Mt Cameroon

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We quickly made our way north in Cameroon to Yaoundé, perhaps one of the most chaotic cities in Africa. The traffic is absolutely crazy and the people very loud. Cameroon is also the most corrupt country we visited, meaning that we often got stopped by the police asking for bribes, although we usually just waved them away and drove through the checkpoints. In…

Land Rover Defender 110 Stationwagon 300TDi ’96 Expedition Vehicle for sale

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The end of our journey is in sight, so it will soon be time to sell our beloved Landy. Our 1996 Land Rover Defender 110, station wagon model (5 doors), with a 300 TDi engine, has carried us around Africa for around 50,000 kilometres now. It has a cleverly designed interior that is suitable for two people, is equipped to deal with the…

Flies in the jungle

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The road to Gabon from Congo is very rough. A road is being contructed to connect the two countries, and the huge trucks used in the work are leaving deep trenches in the sand. These trenches were deep enough to mean that the Land Rover’s differential was digging a middle-lane between the tracks, regularly causing us to get stuck because…

The Brazza life

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Brazzaville, Brazzaville, Congo.

Life in Brazzaville moves at a slow pace. Everyone just goes about their business during the day, but at night things comes alive in a mix of eating, talking, singing, dancing and drinking. We were staying with Chantal and Florence, two teachers at the Lycée Français (French school), who we found through CouchSurfing. During the day, we were…

Crossing the Congo

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Luozi, Bas Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo.

We found an alternative to the expensive ferry from Kinshasa to Brazzaville: about 150 kilometres before Kinshasa, and about ten kilometres before Kimpese, there is a road that turns north towards the town of Luozi. The road starts as a gravel track that leads to the ferry across the legendary Congo River. This ferry, unlike…

Bonjour Congo Democratique

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Kinshasa, Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo.
We were advised to cross the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo (or: DRC, Congo-Kinshasa or Congo Democratique) at the small Luvo border crossing, rather than Matadi, because it is friendlier and less corrupt. And, indeed, the border crossing was very easy. The Angolan side took a while with quite a…

Angola part 4 – The deepest of waters are sewers

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Luanda, Luanda, Angola.We left Benguela and headed for Luanda with a stop in Porto Amboim on a beautiful beach. Luanda, however, was a nightmare. The city is a mix of corrupt officials, constantly traffic jams and offroad driving that could rival … Continue reading →

Luanda, Luanda, Angola.
We left Benguela and headed for Luanda with a stop in Porto Amboim…

Angola part 3 – Recharging batteries in Benguela

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Benguela, Benguela, Angola.
In the early afternoon, we arrived in Benguela. We tried phoning our friend from the border, Carlos, a few times, but it went straight to voicemail. We drove through the city, bought some groceries and tried calling him a few more times. The city was lovely, but there was no campsite and a cheap hotel in Angola…

Angola part 2 – From tropical storm to sunny beach

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Huila, Angola.
The first night we camped in the bush. Sometimes, a cow would walk into the camp, but we made a small fire, had a good dinner and both sets of parents called to ask us how it had gone. The next morning we drove away heading for Lubango, one of the larger cities in Angola. When we drove…

Angola part 1 – The difficult bit is getting in

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Oshikango, Cunene, Angola.
We entered Angola through the Santa Clara border post, the main border crossing from Namibia. The Namibian side of the border was chaotic. Several people warned us to keep a close eye on the car and watch out for young border residents desperately trying to make a bit of money. I filled out the documents on the bonnet…

Namibia: a place of rumoured beauty

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Windhoek, Khomas, Namibia.
Many people had told us about how beautiful Namibia is; how the Namib Desert is a wonderful place to explore in a 4×4, how beautiful the Brandberg Mountain is in the sunset, how German architecture and planning permeates the city of Windhoek, and how rugged the Skeleton Coast is with its shipwrecks and whale skeletons. They weren’t…

The day two white men came to my village

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Hello, my name is Chief William Mulele. I am 91 years old and I live in southwest Zambia, close to the Caprivi Strip. I am chief of a small village of pastoralists. About 50 people live in my village, most of which are family. We have one group of cows near the Caprivi, one at the river and one in a…

Shoestring travel makes for better stories

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Every overlander has his own unique style of travelling; some travel in air conditioned luxury from lodge to lodge and eat steak in a restaurant every night; some ride their bicycle around the world, sleep wherever they can and eat whatever is cheap. We are probably closer to the latter. In general, we sleep in the rooftent, because frankly it’s…