Trans Africa

IT started with an email about something totally unrelated, warnings about the latest activities of a pesky work-related troll if memory serves me right.

Where it ended was 10 months which changed my life.

That email drew me to the Oasis Overland website, reading the itinerary for their epic Trans Africa adventure. Africa had not really been that high on any unwritten bucket list, but it took one read through that itinerary and the decision was pretty much made.

What follows are the posts written from the moment my notice went in at work and my plans went public, through the countdown to the off, on the road (posted through the delights of sketchy, infrequent WiFi) and back home.

Lessons learned on the road and inside advice for anyone looking at a similar trip will be appearing in the Overlanding section.

Pre-Departure

Hurry Boy, It’s Waiting There For You The what, the where and the bit very few really got – the why
An Epic Journey Starting the countdown
The Long Road to Travelling Working towards a life on the road
This World Rocks Somebody very nicely put a trip on our eastern and southern Africa route on video. In reverse. With our tour leader
Want Versus Need Balancing the to-do lists
100 Days Getting ready in limbo
Elephant In The Room The looming spectre of the ebola outbook
In-Tents Preparation Getting ready steps up a gear and how not to fold up a mosquito tent
Mali and Me The last few jobs and enforced route change
Pack Up Your Troubles Putting my life into a rucksack – written from a Gatwick hotel room…

Morocco- Western Sahara- Mauritania

Do Bears… Adjusting to life on the truck – and doing what comes naturally in the woods
Start-Up Capital Farewell Europe, hello Africa – Gibraltar, Rabat, Casablanca
I Love The Rain Down In Africa Volubulis, soggy Chefchaouen and Malcolm the monkey
Blanket Coverage Finding home comforts in Fes
Truck Riders On The Storm Todra Gorge and downpours in the Atlas Mountains
Beer and Clothing In Marrakesh Not staying totally dry in the medina
Goats In Trees, Trucks In Holes Finding the sun in Essaouira, making a mess in Agadir, digging the truck free and adventurous goats starting an obsession
Born Sandy Devotional Life in the Western Sahara dunes, Nouadhibou and Nouackchott

Senegal-Mali

Ice Cold In Zebra Nouakchott, St Louis and going off piste for a beer
Twisting Your Melons Man St Louis, Dakar, Lac Rose and a man on a motorbike – with a melon
The Bong In Your Reggae Song The long road to the delights of Bamako

Cote d’Ivoire-Ghana

Yodibikro Night to remember camping in the middle of an excited village
All I Want For Christmas Is An Airbed Repair Kit… Yamassoukoro, Abidjan rubble and making good use of the sand mats and some pigs
Under A Pitch Black Sky Assinie, saving the mission in Beyin, Busua and new year state of the nation in Elmina
Mountains Out Of Molehills Elephants in Mole, hippos in the Volta, sacred crocodiles and taking sanctuary in Kumasi
Trans Africa A-Z – Part One How to understand an overlander
Anchored Down In Accra Abandze and Kokrobite –  chasing visas, running up bar bills, goodbyes, hellos and bedding down at Big Milly’s
Cooking Up Surprises More of the same with two trucks and marriage proposals

Togo-Benin-Nigeria-Cameroon

Should I Stay Or Should I Togo? Lome, Mt Agou, Togoville and back again, celebrating a distant land with an angry baboon
The Horizontal Traveller Oudiah and the roads of Benin from a sickbed
Niger Delta Sun Bottleneck Stomp Unwanted in Abuja, late-night vigilantes and stuck in Calabar
54 Hours At The Border How we made ourselves at home on the side of a blocked road
Nessum Dorma Til Limbe Moved on in Baham and chilling out at sea level
Carissa/Casimir Pulaski Day Indie guitars and melancholic Americana – the travelling playlist

West Africa: Gabon-Congo -DRC- Angola

On The Road In West Africa Kribi, trucking roads, rainforest cuisine, crossing the equator and Lope
Up To Our Waists In Um Bongo Big puddles and dodgy Dolisie donations
Our Not So Flexible Friends Waiting for visas – Pointe Noire, Cabinda, multiple sunsets and Matadi
Hallelujah Finding Christ in Lubango, drugs in Luanda and a drip in my arm

Namibia- South Africa-Namibia

We Ain’t Nothing But Mammals (Emergency 72) Back in civilisation – spectacular campsites, big beasts in Etosha and fresh tribes in Swakopmund
The Beautiful South Windhoek, randy ridgebacks, wine and cheese in Stellenbosch and the final miles of heading south
Westside Taking stock in Cape Town
Blowing In The Wind Turning north from Cape Town, blown away in Sesriem and familiar ground
A Cheetah Ate My Flip-Flop Jumping in feet first with the locals, Spitzkoppe and Etosha the sequel

Botswana-Zimbabwe

Don’t Forget The Elephants Incident free in Maun, Delta bankers, Elephant Sands and sensational Chobe
Trans Africa A-Z – Part Two Understanding people on a big yellow truck
On The Right Track? Breaking away in pursuit of Palin, Victoria Falls, the overnight train to Bulawayo and chasing eggs
Living With Lions Antelope Park – walking with big cats
Carry On (Not) Screaming Under the knife in Harare and finding Heaven in Chimanimani
A Fistful of Dollars Lake Kariba and the Zimbabwe conundrum

Zambia-Malawi-Tanzania

Pet Sounds Lilongwe, hazy nights at Kande Beach and Chitimbi
Ocean Rain Dar Es Salaam and spicing things up on Zanzibar
On A Plain Big five and double top – birthdays, darts and wildlife at Snake Park, Lake Manyara, Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti

Kenya-Uganda-Rwanda-Uganda-Kenya

Up The Hill And Down The Slope Sad farewells, reunions and fresh meat in Nairobi, Lake Naivasha, Kampala and brief struggles
All The Young Dudes Day to savour with the children of Lake Bunyoni (unless you fell over a chair)
Feel Good Inc Gorillas. Nothing more to say
Killing In The Name Of Horrible history and shambolic bowling in Kigali
Sticking It To The Man Roadside snacks, Nile backstroke in Jinja, Lake Nakuru and the last safari

Ethiopia-Sudan- Egypt

Online On The Road Lower Omo Valley, Addis Ababa and home thoughts from abroad
Green And Pleasant Land Bahir Dar, Lalibela, Gondar and breaking preconceptions
Blister In The Sun Turning up the heat at Meroe, Khartoum, crossing the Nubian Desert and the final border
Punctured Truck Tyre, Desert Desolate Driving, sailing, floating and limping through the ages and fixing a puncture with a sledgehammer, – Abu Simbel, Aswan and Luxor
Long Way Home The final miles – shutting the door on 10 months on the road

Trans Africa – The Best and the Worst

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