How easy is it to drive a small 17 year old car from Birmingham to Cape Town? Well I'm going to find out on 25th September when I do just that!
Author: Ged's Magical mystery tour between Birmingham and Cape Town
Retired nearly 13 years ago and since then been privileged to travel all over the world and meet amazing people and cultures. I'm now driving from Birmingham to Cape Town and collecting donations for the British Red Cross where I have been a volunteer for over five years. Please be as generous as you can. Thank you
That’s it finished. My first and last ever blog. It was hard work for someone with little IT knowledge. I know so much more, now I’ve finished but that’s all too late!! 🙂
A huge Thank you to Julia Albu and all her family and friends for their generosity and kindness and for making me so welcome at the end of the most amazing road trip I have ever done, and yes I would do it again tomorrow but would take 6 months rather than 3 .
The world is an amazing place filled with many more good people than bad guys. This trip done with minimal planning and no spares for the car etc was as close to real freedom as I have ever experienced. Yes its a bit scary and yes, you need luck and yes it could go wrong, but you don’t know until you try it. Use your common sense and seek advice from the locals as you travel, unless you are really unlucky or stupid, you will be safe and have the time of your life.
I have purposely left this until I finished the trip, in case it gave useful information to rob me of everything, although trust me I do not carry a lot. My rule of thumb is don’t take anything that you would be quite upset at losing!
Hopefully it will help others in some way
Whilst I am very proud to be Scottish I always felt wearing a kilt would serve other purposes, and this indeed proved to be the case.
Kilts mean you will never be lonely whilst travelling alone
Who is going to try and rob a man in a kilt? No pockets for a start 🙂
It makes you very identifiable which is a good deterrent to kidnapped.
When people cannot stop laughing, its a great ice breaker especially when they cannot speak English !!
If you are like me and lose them all the time, then you need them strung around your neck on a landyard at all times unless they are in the ignition. Thats exactly what I did because without them you will have a big problem that would be a bit of a pain.
Tinted windows: Yes I know I didnt have them in Africa but I felt really safe there 🙂
Tinted windows are mainly for security in that they stop people seeing inside the back of the car especially when stationary and they also prevent drivers following you seeing that you are on your own.
Graphics on the car and crime prevention of the car
Again graphics on the car deter someone stealing it if its very identifiable rather than a plain looking car. I carried a wheel clamp in Europe and only used it in Greece when I left it for a few months util collectional. I used a steering wheel lock in both cars and always left it secured wheever I left it for more than a few minutes. It’s a good visual deterrent. I also had locking whel nuts fitted on Saxo’s wheels as theft from motor vehicle is much more likely than theft of motor vehicle.
Security safe in boot
I had a digital combination locking safe bolted inside the rear boot. My most important load was the vehicle registration document and anything to do with borders eg Insurance, carnet, permissions etc. All this was in the safe along with the least amount of money possible, remember it’s emergency money, not for day to day use
Carry as little as possible. Use “best rate” credit cards for all purchases (including accommodation) where possible. Unfortunately in lots of African its cash only. I used Western Union for big money transfers (eg releasing the car from customs) and sent a small payment in UK to test it before I left. Don’t use banks to collect western union cash from, you will wait ages becasue normal bank customers take priority and you wait and wait and wait…..trust me! If you go to a Western Union office, its paid fairly quickly depending on the queue. Cost of Western Union transfer is a little more than my normal route, but reasonable as it saves you carrying large amounts of cash around.
Credit and Debit Cards
Use specific foreign cards with good exchange rates and make sure you have 3 or 4 cards from different accounts all in different places. eg car, rcucksack, money pouch etc I use Revolut and Fair FX but there are many new one’s coming on the market so always check with Martin Lewis’s web site or similar.
I always carry my passport on me, with copies in two or three other places just in case it gets stolen. The copies are also handy to offer Police “if they seem a bit dodgy”. Doesnt always work but you can say the original is at the hotel etc I feel more secure carrying it as if its going to be stolen I want to know its gone!
Two lads on a tandem bike, and from St Andrews University. Couldn’t just drive by without stopping and wishing them well. They have had an amazing journey full of real adventure, unlike mine!! Check their blog out on http://www.arclight-tandemafrica.com
I drove from Ethiopia to Nairobi in Kenya about 8ookms and was so fortunate to then spend 3 days with Dan and his wife Catherine. I was amazed to find out that Dan met Julia in Nairobi (on her way to London) and ended up driving Julia through Croatia! Both Dan and Catherine’s hospitality was fantastic, it was 3 days of complete rest and relaxation. They have a beautiful home and I felt as if I was in a five star hotel.
Dan is an engineer and motor car enthusiast, he couldn’t resist checking Tracy over not long after I arrived. I was delighted to have a professional look her over but wasn’t surprised when he said she was in great order. Dan arranged to have her cleaned inside and out and I then spent the few days visiting the local shops with them and an eveing meal at a local Putar
Impressive Horns on these cattle
Bright red soil in places
Probably just before I got pulled for another ticket 🙂
On the way to market
The tarmac has melted and moved to the left hand side of the road in waves. Makes driving very dangerous