The idea for this trip came when we met in Sierra Leone. We were both working there and got talking one night after several Star beers. We both agreed it would be a great trip to one day do with someone, and it was put firmly into the category of ‘one day’. Two years later, we have bought a Landcruiser, put our jobs on hold and given up our flat with a view to taking 18 months to drive the entire circumferance of Africa.
Originally the plan was to drive south through Europe and down the East coast of Africa. This route seemed easier, with large quantities of time in countries full of incredible national parks that are very accessible to westerners. After months of planning we realised the ferry that had run between Turkey and Egypt since Syria had become impassable, had ceased and the only way to get the car into the country would be on a Ro-Ro (roll-on, roll-off), which we would not be able to accompany. This seemed a remarkably unsatisfying start to our trip and there lies the start of James persuasion to get me to drive down the entire length of the West coast.
The preparation has required huge quantities of research into the countries we plan to pass through, including the political situations, roads, accommodation, visas, insurance as well as the much more pleasurable task of finding out about all the treats we have in store on this route – and it looks like they will be plentiful. It has also required both of us to address our complete lack of knowledge regarding cars, navigation, the french language, roof racks, tents, over landing, photography… the list goes on and on…
I can’t even begin to imagine the things we will see, learn and experience. Day to day I fluctuate from pure excitement to abject fear, but whatever is it store, I know we are so lucky to get this experience – I just can’t wait to get started.