Overlanding Africa

Overlanding Africa: Our home and trusty steed for the next six months, Bertha!

For a long time Fi and I have wanted to head off on a different kind of adventure. Something intrepid. Sail the length of the Amazon River. Walk across the Arctic. That kind of thing. Then several weeks ago we were driving through a small country town in South Africa and saw an old Land Rover for sale. Fancy overlanding Africa from Cape Town to London? What started as a fairly half hearted discussion over a tasty pint of IPA ended with a 1988 Toyota Land Cruiser we have come to know as Bertha. We had found our mission.

The christening of Bertha

In mid May 2017 we appeased the overlanding gods and officially christened Bertha. A bottle of bubbles was sprayed over the bull bar with a few more bottles sprayed down our throats. A hearty braai got stuffed in our bellies while Bertha got filled with our kit. It had been nearly five weeks since we first saw that Land Rover but we were finally ready. Early the next morning with a full feed of bacon and eggs in our belly we left Cape Town. So, where were we heading?

Overlanding Africa: the itinerary

We’re hoping that our mission will get us to London by the end of the year. As usual our planning is fairly rough but at this stage we’re hoping to take the eastern route up the African continent. We’re going to zig zag a little to start with, going from South Africa through Lesotho across to Namibia, through Botswana, and then back to South Africa to sort out a little admin and visit Kruger. Likely our journey will then take us to Zimbabwe, Zambia, Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya and Ethiopia. From there our African exit strategy is less clear and will depend on the security situation at the time. Hopefully it will take us out through Sudan and Egypt with a ferry / cargo boat taking Bertha across to Europe for the final victory lap back to the UK.

Our overlanding Africa palace

Along the way we’ll be virtually self sufficient in Bertha. Other than the minor necessities of drinking water, food and fuel we pretty much have everything else we need. We have a penthouse master bedroom in the form of a roof top tent and lounge room / dining room under our awning. We even have a spare room (four man tent) for anyone keen to come and join us. Our kitchen centres around a rather large fridge / freezer, 2 burner gas stove and of course camp fires. We’ve got dual batteries and an inverter; lanterns and head torches; snatch straps and bungee chords. You name it, we probably have it stuffed somewhere in our bulging boot.

These six months of overlanding Africa will bring to a close 2 years of travelling. In this final stretch we’re hoping to camp with lions in Botswana, traverse the great Zambezi valley in Zimbabwe and watch the wildebeest migration on the Serengeti. That doesn’t even really scratch the surface. Africa is rather large after all!

Stay tuned to Compass & Ladle to follow our adventures and learn how we pulled it all together.