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Overlanding Africa

Travel Forums Africa and The Middle East Overlanding Africa

1. Posted by overland (Budding Member 7 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

From London to Cape Town there are two different ways mainly that the overland trucks go, my question is, which way is best and why... thanks.

2. Posted by Gelli (Travel Guru 2457 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!


Essentially there are only 2 routes which are feasible/legal/worth the effort due to beaurocracy etc. Sure, both still have any number of hurdles, but there are really only 2 viable options.

The most common is via Spain - Morooco and West Africa. This tends to be the easiest in terms of logistics, is more of a well worn path, and excepting a potentially switch from East to West to get into Kenya etc, realatively straight forward. There is a road most of the way, the countries are relatively safe/open for vehicle carnets and visa's, whilst it also gets you to more countries and variety, and also allows a trip to Timbuktu (which is one of those places loads of people wnat to visit because it's a name we've been brought up with to signifiy the back of beyond). If you go this way, most people cross across to East Africa to go to Kenya and Tanzania etc, as this is both generally more appealing and much safer/easier/possible than trying to work you way through Congo/Zaire/Angola, although that is also an option. It's is theoretically legally impossible - or was - to do this the other way i.e. the Cape to Europe, as you aren't allowed to take vehicles North from Mauritania, although this is sometimes waived depending upon who you talk to (nicely) and what you pay.

The other route via either the middle East or ferry and then Egypt tends to be less attractive because of high carnet costs for Egypt, the problems of then actually getting south out of Egypt (by surface this is very tricky, the situation changes constantly, and isn't reknowned for it's security) can be a major headache or at time impossible. The land border (actually the ferry on the lake) is infrequent and doesn't always accept vehicles anyway, whilst Red Sea passages or bouncing off Saudi/Yemenn can be just as tricky because of tyrying to find a damned boat to take you there and out again. Passing through the South of Sudan also causes problems (especially at the moment), and periodic issues along the Ethiopian borders plays a role as well.

The best? Dunno. We were very close to going that way in a Landrover a couple of years ago, but it evebnually had to be postponed. It's still one of my big dreams. We were going to go via the Middle East and Egypt route, but that was because we were both allot more interested in Jordan and Ethiopia (in particular) than the Western route which tends to be easier. We talked to several people who had done it (or were about to leave) and all of those went via Morroco, most without problem, one couple heading via Chad to Kenya, and other via Cameroon and Angola. I also very nearly joined a truck going that way a year or so ago, but sadly had to drop out because of a sudden personal issue. They also made it through.

Both routes have their pluses and minuses. The best suggestion I have is to make sure that you do lots of research and also don't have a fixed plan. Expect to get stuck for weeks or months. Expect to have to backtrack several hundred KM or a couple of weeks at least once, probably more often, and try and keep up to date with current news and situations. Many borders open and close completely at random, and different crossings on the smae border may do the same. Your nationality may also randomly play its part. And most borders are at the end of a long road from nowhere with few options except returning if it doesn't pan out. And of course, because it changes so frequently, what is free and open when you leave or a few weeks before you get there may have completely changed when you actually get to the border/area. And even if the official word says one thing, waiting for news to actually filter to the border can be a long wait... And pray for lots of luck!!

Good luck indeed, whichever way you plan!

3. Posted by overland (Budding Member 7 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

Now that has answered my questions in a nutshell, I am grateful to you for this.

I understood the two route bit, but I wanted to understand better the differences between them.

At the moment we only run around morocco, but next november I am thinking of sending it to Cape Town but being quite new to the overland game, although I would have a seasoned driver and guide, I wanted to better understand the pitfalls of such a journey.

Although I better not chat about the trip as not to get into bother with the monitors.

I really am grateful for your views and if its cool with you after I have done some more research I may come back with some more questions if thats ok.


4. Posted by Gelli (Travel Guru 2457 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

No problem overland. Can't guarentee i'll be able to help (or answer very quickly - i'm on the road long term, and excepting this last week or so in Korea don't always get much internet access), but will try if i can, or put you in touch with some others who may be able to.

5. Posted by overland (Budding Member 7 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

Thanks for that, I just really need to better understand it by the end of January really so as to decide if we want to do it or not, I will take on an overland driver/guide but still like to know all the pitfulls first so at least if I do the trip with a seasoned driver I know the score a bit.

I would hate to learn on the road everything, you know yourself about best laid plans but still have to still have a good idea of how it works, it would just reduce the headache a bit.

Have a safe journey