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Trans Africa Overland

Author: Andrea P.
Date of Trip: December 2005

‘Did you hear that Andi?’ ‘What?’ ‘Shhh… that.’ ‘What?’ ‘The rustling.’ ‘Can you see anything?’ ‘Yeah… it’s big.’ ‘What?’ ‘Yeah, I see the tusks… they’re HUGE!’

ZZZZZZZIP (unzipping of tent, and someone running to the truck)

‘Dave… there’s an elephant in the camp!’ ‘No kidding, it’s been there all night, it’s just walked away.’

You’re a bit scared for the others and yourself, but you also feel great excitement. Then you realise people actually pay us to do this job. You say to yourself, life is great… and then you go back to sleep.

How do you end up in these circumstances? Well… it starts in the UK and finishes in Cape Town seven months later. It’s called a Trans Africa. I cannot really describe everything that one would feel and go through on a trip like this without having to produce an extremely long diary or a novel, which I can do if you wish, but I thought if I summed up my journey it may be a little easier to read.

Individual travellers book themselves on a 23 to 40 week adventure, travelling in an overland truck with 20 or so others, and venture across the continent of Africa.

We started our journey by flying everyone booked on the adventure to Gibraltar to meet the Overland truck that was soon to become our home for the next 40 weeks, and making our way across the waters into Africa. Our journey took us from the busy medinas and ancient fortress cities of Morocco up into the High Atlas Mountains, through the intense midday heat of the Sahara, Mauritania’s expansive freedom and night sky ablaze with shooting stars, the oldest cultures and sites of Mali and on to the palm-fringed beaches of West Africa. Next we headed south through Gabon, Congo and war torn Angola, where we get warm greetings from everyone me meet, and also asked why would tourists want to pass through here. Wildlife and national parks await, as we head through Namibia, South Africa and then make our journey North to Nairobi and our final destination Cairo with plenty to see along the way. The reason we choose to visit Africa is quite simple – Because you will discover an Africa that most travellers only dream of, and meet people you would never otherwise encounter, as well as having one of the most affordable adventure holidays around.

In Africa you will see, hear or feel something every day that will make you laugh, smile or cry. Here are a few examples… • The curiosity of an African child touching you because your skin is a different colour. • Travelling in the remote, expansive freedom of Mauritania and finding a car stuck in the sand, and the driver then setting up an amplifier and electric guitar strumming out tunes as we help him sand mat his car out… Wondering where he came from and what he intended to do…

• Visiting the markets and all the vibrant colours of the beautiful women with children on their backs and full loads on their heads. • Buying locally-produced products and finding out that Shito is a sauce, Toss and Bimbo are washing powders and the moisturiser you bought is actually hair conditioner. • Camping out under the stars on the roof of the truck, trying to count how many shooting stars you see. • Driving along a main road in Burkina Faso to find an obstacle in front, a herd of elephants. We were going to pull over and camp soon, but we’d better drive a bit farther. • Participating in football matches with the locals is always a laugh, and let me tell you, Africans will show us a thing or two. Seeing an 11-year-old boy running rings around us and scoring a goal… • Travelling through the desert with all its sparse nature, and trying to find an appropriate bush to go to the loo behind. • Reaching the coastlines of West Africa, and checking out their surf boards, literally a plank of wood. • Pulling over for the evening and finding a nice safe clearing tucked away in the bushes to camp the night, sitting down with everyone, talking about whatever, and having a nice cold drink while watching the sunset.

The Trans Africa trip is about memories and making friends for life. That is the real adventure, and Africa is the ideal destination.

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