When we bought our Hano, the initial idea was to spend 2-3 years getting really intimate with the vehicle, thoroughly figure out a plan and timing and then start preparing in details.
Well… once Hano was waiting impatiently in front of our door, we decided to take off half a year later.
So the tasks remained, but we had to do ‘Speedy-style’. And now, a few days before we take off, I think we have ticked most of the hundreds to do’s that are on the plate when planning a Cape to Cairo.
Below, we would like to share some of the experiences and helpful hands + heads… and we will complement this page over time
…to as many people as you can who did something similar. We found it much more insightful than screening the internet for hours (which you will have to do in any case). One couple who gave us great help and insights was Family Döll , who did a half year tour around Southern Africa with their two kids; many thanks again for the adapter; we will take great car of it… 😉
Preparing the vehicle
If you normally don’t spend you weekends under your car… start doing so. There are tons of rental garages with helpful hands and knowledgeable heads around and the ‘mystery’ around your car and how it works disappears quickly. Besides working on Hano (i.e. changing all liquids, belts, tubes…), I finally found a course in Off-Road basic mechanics and rescue. It is offered through Overcross (they also offer some really cool 4×4 travels) and took place at Rinkert – a Land Rover workshop specialised in ‘Defender’ repair and maintenance. I highly recommend the course to anyone planning something similar; and the fact that participants came from Switzerland up to Cologne speaks for itself…
Despite your own learnings, I would still recommend to have the car thoroughly checked at a garage. However, finding a garage that is willing an – above all – capable of checking your 43-year old truck is more difficult that you might think. If you live around Stuttgart, after some searching we found Werner Vlaj and he did an excellent job with his team.
No worries in Germany – we both could cancel our health insurance at no cost and are covered by a travel insurance from HanseMerkur. It seems to be quite a good choice and costs a fraction of what we pay for ‘normal’ health insurance in Germany.
Family Döll (see below) shared with us another excellent info.
Maps & navigation
Tracks4Africa is the name of the game. Plug&play with any Garmin device, it shows you the tiniest gas stations of places to park your truck, information on road quality and tons of other info
Basic communication will go with prepaid SIM Cards in your cell phone – as long as you are not deep into the bush, reception is fairly ok in Africa and cost for international calls is comparatively cheap. On the other side of scale and cost, you have the traditional Satelite Phones from Iridium, Thoraya or Inmarsat. For our purpose, we chose a ‘middle way’ with Satelite Messengers as well as Satelite tracking, allowing you to send and receive SMS and locating/tracking your real-time position. There are two gadgets out in the market: DeLorme InReach and Spot messenger.
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