Africa - Overland
an experience of a lifetime!
Africa has its own special magic . It is very sad watching the countries I have fond memories of, falling apart. There are many countries I have been privileged to visit, which I would no longer feel were safe, today.
Travel through this vast continent was not without problems in 1973 either. Even then we often set up a 24 hour watch around our camp. Each taking turns to ensure our own safety.
By going with a company that had travelled this overland route for 10 years, I felt I was in safe hands. I researched thoroughly, as I had very limited funds. I made sure the company I chose, covered my costs if the trip ran over time. There were no guarantees you would arrive when they planned.
As it happened, our three month journey overland, starting from Johannesburg, and going through Rhodesia ( now Zimbabwe), Botswana, Zambia, Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda, Zaire(now the Democratic Republic of the Congo), Central African Republic, Cameroons, Niger, Nigeria, Algeria, Morocco, Spain, France to London...........took four and a half months.
Other tour companies expected the individuals to pay their own costs after the allotted time was up. I would have starved! Encounter Overland is still going today, although a somewhat revised organisation, I understand from websites. Most of the trips seem to be more short term adventures.
A Pew with a View!
It was a truly amazing experience. My spot with a couple of others, was on top of the roof,feet on the cab roof.I felt like I had a permanent indent in my behind, from sitting on the metal pole that held the canvas awning!But.........the views were fantastic.Once we got our balance, we couldn't be moved!It was very hard to drag ourselves inside when it got too cold, with snow on the ground in the Atlas Mountains.
Variety was the spice..........
The experiences we had were so varied...........Victoria Falls, climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, meeting Masai, game parks teaming with a wonderful array of animals, were like an open zoo .Ray assured us we had seen the best display of animals he had seen in his several years as a driver.
Pygmies in the jungle,a roving dance troupe in Central African Republic...where we beat a hasty retreat as the African Leaders Congress got under way with flashing black cars, accompanied by a dozen motorbikes,sirens screaming, flashed into town at regular intervals.
Shopping in local markets,visiting a school in the Cameroons, Niger, colourful Nigeria, and then into the Sahara desert! This was wonderful, a constantly changing panorama around every corner, and over every horizon.
Camels and date palms in oasis towns.Agadez was a picture book scene. Christmas in the Sahara desert in Tammanrasset.
And on we went to Morrocco.Fez,was cool with winter setting in.Across the Straits of Gibralter, and through Spain we drove, arriving in London on the 4th of January!
Africa Stories to Enjoy
Africa in 1973 was a very different experience to Africa 2009............
I am not writing to inform on what you can expect on current travels, but my stories are an interesting window on travels in these areas at that time. I have enjoyed Michael Palin’s book Sahara, which covers some of the territory I did, and it is surprisingly similar in parts.
The articles I write on my travels will be taken from snippets from my diaries. I will include scanned photos from my albumsof these fascinating travel destinations. All I had to use was the cheapest small point and shoot box camera. Not a zoom or a dial in sight! The photos reflect this..........but support the stories.
Hopefully, you may be inspired to travel to at least parts of this intriguing, inspiring continent. For those who have had their own experience, it should be an interesting comparison.
I will add more snippets to my Africa section as time allows. So keep coming back, or even better....... sign up for the RSS feed and you will always know when there is something new to read.
More Africa Stories
Christmas in the Sahara
Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro
Travel Through Rwanda
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