West Africa Trip

Ed463

Member
Like I said, brave man.
There's a very thin line between brave and stupid:)
I try not to think about the van throwing an electronic fit.
Or the "bravery" of passing through a red zone.
Some westerners still sneak into Timbuktu but that's well and truly in the stupid area.
We booked into the "best" hotel in town last night.
Stupidity expensive, pool empty, warm beer.....but oh the Aircon and shower is so good!!!
So maybe we're not "proper" overlanders. I kid you not now. We were parked up next to some Europeans in a Toyota Troopy who crap in a bucket. Me I just wondered over to a restaurant, paid the equivalent of $1 for an excellent coffee, took in the stunning sea views and used their facilities. We've met some very stupid people:) but mostly lovely, entertaining, interesting people
 
Last edited:

surferJ

Member
My last comment referred to the bridge in the pic.
Tucking into a hotel when in an African city sounds quite reasonable.

Thanks for the travel bits.
 

Ed463

Member
My last comment referred to the bridge in the pic.
Tucking into a hotel when in an African city sounds quite reasonable.

Thanks for the travel bits.
Yes, that bridge was a little rickity:laughing:
In Senegal now. The border crossing was remarkably easy. Apart from 1 Mali border guy who tried to con some money out of us. It's very useful not speaking French. You just feign ignorance and repeat "I don't understand" in English over and over until they get bored and give up:)
 

autostaretx

Erratic Member
Yes, that bridge was a little rickity:laughing:
In Senegal now. The border crossing was remarkably easy. Apart from 1 Mali border guy who tried to con some money out of us. It's very useful not speaking French. You just feign ignorance and repeat "I don't understand" in English over and over until they get bored and give up:)
You just have to remember not to finish the conversation with "Merci, bon jour!" :whistle:

--dick
 

Ed463

Member
The tail of our border crossing, Mali to Senegal.

We're stopped on the Mali side of the border by a stroppy officious little ****e in uniform.
We're instructed to follow him into an office to be met by 2 geekish looking guys sat at laptops. For the sake of this lets assume they're Mali secret police����
Then the main guy lounging in his massive leather (fake) recliner.
To his left is a man mountain.
The stroppy little ****e demands our documents and starts to copy the details in his book.
The 2 geeks sit silently.
The main man says nothing but just sits there with a mixture of amusement and bemusement.
The man mountain introduces himself as John. John Travolta........when a respond that I know "I recognize you" he nearly splits his side's laughing.
This doesn't go down well with stroppy ****e.
Who is now looking at me and repeatedly asking/stating "British Citizen" I respond We/yes a few times. He's still not satisfied. Repeatedly saying "British Citizen passport number"
The penny drops. Marie is now called British Citizen.
He's copied this from her passport.
I don't try to correct him. I just give him Marie's passport number ��
The man mountain is now comparing me to our traveling companion, who's quite a bit shorter than me.
He's saying Russ, big man. Richard, small man. The main man does find this quite amusing ��
So cut to the chase. Stroppy dumb ****e now demands money.
It's very useful not to speak French. You just say NO, where's the receipt? over and over and or look bemused. He gets bored and we leave
So Marie Humphreys entered Mali but never left and Brit Citizen never entered but left����
 

Ed463

Member
Looks like a good spot to camp then... Well it looks like its a tidal zone, so maybe not so good a spot to stop!
I didn't stop intentionally:lol:
And I managed to find the only (very stinky) water for miles around.
Only 50 miles to phone signal, what could possibly go wrong:thinking:
2hrs of digging. I'm still aching 4 days later! It was a race between the incoming tide and the heat of the day. Not too much fun at the time
I nearly didn't bring the sand mats, very glad I had them.
 
Last edited:

autostaretx

Erratic Member
I had seen the sand mats in one of your earlier photos, so i wasn't too worried...

--dick (but it's better to have *four* of them ... you drive on to one pair, walk the others around front, drive on to them, walk the (now behind you) others around front ... (rinse/repeat).)
 

Ed463

Member
I had seen the sand mats in one of your earlier photos, so i wasn't too worried...

--dick (but it's better to have *four* of them ... you drive on to one pair, walk the others around front, drive on to them, walk the (now behind you) others around front ... (rinse/repeat).)
Agreed. It's always a compromise about how much "stuff" you take
To be honest it was all unnecessary, driver errors:rolleyes:
1. Took a turn/route without checking it out. If I had carried on for another 3 yards I'd have been in very soft stinky mud. Result slam on brakes and dig front end in.
2. Without getting out and checking the ground put it in reverse and spun rear wheels. Rear now bellied.
If I had just stopped, got out, thought about it, maybe a little digging I'd have been out in 10 minutes with the sand mats unused.
Maybe:idunno:
Every day is a school day as they say.
 

Ed463

Member
Preaching to the converted I guess:)

We're now about 8k miles into this trip (60k on it as a camper, 150k total), so a few thoughts. I had started to alter our G Wagen in to an “overlander”. Maybe sleeping inside, maybe a roof tent (more on those later). There are plenty of people who insist the ONLY suitable vehicle for this sort of thing is a totally mechanical setup. No electronics. Not to say I haven't suffered from limp home mode anxiety at times! But the Sprinter has been faultless. Covering some seriously tough conditions, for example 5hrs to do 90kms. Or sub 8mpg at times. Mechanically it’s a commercial vehicle. Tough in other words. Plenty out there with 800k miles on them.
The more we thought about travelling with the G Wagen, the less appealing if got. Hence the Sprinter. It’s been a great choice. At times we've travelled with Toyota's and Land Rovers. As you'd expect on tarmac the Sprinter runs rings around them. Off road not a huge difference. In fact in soft sand the Sprinter, on aired down tyres, out performed the LR 90. If he’d aired down to about 14psi I’m sure that wouldn't have been the case.
Mpg. Toyota Troopy maybe 20% worse than the V6 Sprinter and wouldn't pull you out of bed. The LR90 with the Ford puma engine virtually identical, literally within a litre or two difference at each fill up.
So roof tent vs. van. What can I say roof tents are utterly useless for this sort of travel. So glad we didn't bother with one. Wind too strong? Plenty of times we had to drive around finding a sheltered spot or a cheap hotel. Or they got no sleep. Stopping for 1 night. 30 second setup, oh yeah. If we fancy parking up on the street. No problem. Not for them. It’s a campsite or trawling around finding a wild campsite.
The other option, and a couple did this in the Troopy, sleep inside. In 30 to 40C. Just great, not. Plus, I kid you not, they crap in a bucket. In the same tiny space they try to sleep in.
Totally mechanical or newish. By definition all mechanical equals old. I went this route with the G Wagen (apart from the abs) all mechanical OM606 engine. I would have trusted it to go anywhere, but it was 20 plus years old. Having said that it made the Troopy look very old and fragile. Fact is new vehicles are way more reliable than old. No disputing the numbers/facts. But you do need a different mind set and a different skill set. If you look into the majority of issues Sprinters suffer from (And there's no denying they have quality/electronic issues) very few disable it. Limp home maybe. Codes which can reappear absolutely.
So the only thing I’d swap the Sprinter for? Maybe the new 907. Our son has just swapped his 906 4x4 for a 907 4x4. He tells me it’s a big improvement, especially the traction control and engine performance. Of maybe a MAN TGE van. Or possibly A Merc Vario, but finding a good one? A conventional 4x4? No chance.
 

Bobnoxious

The Most Interesting Member
I have ZERO idea what this means.
Meant to be funny?
If so I'm not laughing, a close family member died of Corona virus 9 days ago:frown:
My apologies, that was stupid and done in poor taste and offer my condolences for the passing of your family member.

May you be safe in all of your journeys!!!

Regards,

:bash: Me the Dummy. :bash:
 

Ed463

Member
My apologies, that was stupid and done in poor taste and offer my condolences for the passing of your family member.

May you be safe in all of your journeys!!!

Regards,

:bash: Me the Dummy. :bash:
No problem 👍 thanks for the reply.
Bigger things to worry about. If it wasn't for the fact that we have our sons wedding (which could be cancelled) we'd stay here in the sun and Sahara. Far safer.
 

Top Bottom