Across the Sahara by Land Rover to West and Central Africa Video

Beowulf

Expedition Leader
Just surfing Youtube for videos to watch and came across this group from New Zealand driving around in Africa.



 

DiploStrat

Expedition Leader
LUV it!

Beloved Spouse and I did their route, from Cameroon to Algeria, in 1974. We loved the images of the CAR, having lived there from 2007-10. Know those roads REALLY well. Some of their narration is a bit over the top, but the challenges of Africa, especially Congo DRC, are only too real. And they were blundering around in LRA territory; not a good idea. Still, they did it, despite, in my opinion, a poor choice of vehicle.

N.B. The pretty waterfall is at Kembe.

 
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Beowulf

Expedition Leader
DiploStrat,

Do you have any pictures/videos..etc of your trip that you can share. It sounds like you had a great time. Plus, having lived there, you probably have tons of fun stories.
 

DiploStrat

Expedition Leader
Never liked Land Rovers

I have ridden in a lot of Land Rovers, back to the Series III (actually, back to the Series I) and I have never liked them. If I were buying new for this trip, I would go with a diesel Land Cruiser - better suspension and greater availability of parts.
 
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tacr2man

Adventurer
Diplostrat , there are plenty that would have to debate that assertion with you especially the suspension part ! but you are entitled to your own beliefs
 

DiploStrat

Expedition Leader
Scholars debate everything ...

The old Land Rovers, up to the Series III, had very limited suspension travel and a nasty tendency to break springs and eat half shafts. Thus it was common to see a front and a rear spring bolted to the front bumper. (The half shaft was stored inside.) The original Land Cruisers were strong, but as with most Japanese vehicles, way over sprung; real kidney crushers.

The original Range Rover had, hands down, the most interesting and sophisticated suspension on any 4x4 to date. The major weak point was the Boge Hydromat load leveling system which tended to fail on wash board. (The Australians used to put the rear springs up front and replace the rears with new, higher rated springs.) That said, Rover set the standard with coil springs, long travel, and big shocks.

The best ride I have ever found was my old '77 Blazer with the original Rough Country suspension and 12.00x15 tires. That thing simply ate up washboard. You had to keep an eye on the speedometer as you would not feel your speed. :Wow1:

The Range Rover suspension migrated to later generations of Land Rovers. My last experience with Land Rovers was in the CAR about two years ago where I found our Land Cruisers, now with coil springs, top have more travel and a softer, but stable ride. Spent a fair amount of time in these:


But preferred these:



Land Rovers sold in the U.S. may, of course, be different. (I have never driven off road in the U.S.) Off roading in UK is a totally different proposition from the roads I know.

For me, the ideal suspension will have 6" or more free wheel travel, softer springs, and massive shocks. The goal is a suspension that is soft, never bottoms, and absorbs washboard without passing the vibration or impact to the frame.

Again, my opinions are only based on the vehicles that I have owned or driven on the roads that I know, Africa and South America.

As in all of this, YMMV :)
 
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motrjay

New member
Look at the vehicles that the local small agency's, and fixers buy, since the mid 90's its been landcruisers.
 

r3run33

Adventurer
lol all over africa and australia you will get the land cruiser guys saying their's is better the land rover and vice a versa; its like ford versus chevy here in the usa. the key point is get out there and explore!:ylsmoke:
 

maxingout

Adventurer
I have owned two Land Cruisers and Six Defenders. They are very different beasts. I have traveled in deep desert with Land Cruisers and Defenders, and they are both great vehicles offroad. Modifying them for expeditionary travel is vastly different between the Land Cruisers and Defenders. The Land Cruisers have different body styling and their suspension varies widely according to what country you are in. The torque curves on the engines are very different as well. My six Defenders were nearly the same wherever I have been in the world, except that three were gas and three have the 300 tdi. Setting up the Defenders for expeditionary travel was easy after I did it on the first one.

For expeditionary travel, I prefer the ruggedness of the Defender. It is a very forgiving vehicle, and fairly easy to work on. A rest of the world Defender with a 300 tdi is a workhorse that can take you anywhere on the planet (I only visit warm places). A Land Cruiser can be set up to do the same thing. Since I have kitted out six Defenders and only 2 Land Cruisers, I am more comfortable with my Defenders. That doesn't mean the Defenders are better. I just understand the vehicle and it's capabilities better than I do my Land Cruisers.

When I drive around the world, I want to do it in a Defender.
 

zeroland

Adventurer
The book 'What the hell are we doing here' goes into more detail than the videos above re. vehicle choice. The book is available on the kindle.
In the 1990's Toyota Land Cruiser spares, overland expedition kit and general knowledge was very limited. There were only a few companies provided expedition kit, and most of it was geared for Land Rovers. There was one manufacture for rooftop tents and expedition roof racks... now there are 50+ vendors selling the kit.
It made perfect sense for the team to use Defenders in those days. Kitting a vehicle now in the UK offers far more choice and equipment variety.
 

maxingout

Adventurer
The book 'What the hell are we doing here' goes into more detail than the videos above re. vehicle choice. The book is available on the kindle.
In the 1990's Toyota Land Cruiser spares, overland expedition kit and general knowledge was very limited. There were only a few companies provided expedition kit, and most of it was geared for Land Rovers. There was one manufacture for rooftop tents and expedition roof racks... now there are 50+ vendors selling the kit.
It made perfect sense for the team to use Defenders in those days. Kitting a vehicle now in the UK offers far more choice and equipment variety.
When I was in the outback of Australia, I saw some awesome Toyota Troopies, and I can see myself doing an expedition in one of them. My first Toyota was an FJ-40 - one of the first in the USA before Toyotas were "cool". I still regret selling that vehicle after ten years of ownership. I drove it from Kentucky to Panama through Mexico and Central America. We had to search through five southern states to locate a new one that was for sale. When I got it, it took months to get spare parts for the trip. I was almost to the Mexican border before I could even locate a spare fan belt. Things have changed, and it's a very different world.

One of the big changes is that there is less expeditionary travel that requires totally kitted out vehicles. Most of the wheeling done in developed countries is highly regulated/restricted and the areas where you are allowed to travel often don't require an expeditionary vehicle.

The expeditionary world is substantially smaller now than it was when the first Land Rovers came out. Land mines and cluster bombs make many destinations marginal at best. One of the things that was awesome about Saudi Arabia was that there were no civil wars, and no land mines to contend with. The same goes for Australia. Lots of other places won't be safe for real off-road travel for many generations. There also are no drug wars to complicate offroad travel in remote locations.

Even when we sailed up the Red Sea on our yacht, we spent the day walking around Difnein Island off the coast of Sudan, and it was only later that we discovered there were land mines on the island.

I reckon that now is a good time to do a drive around the world while there are still places you can do real expeditionary travel without having to worry about land mines and unexploded ordinance.

I wonder if anyone has written a book focusing on those areas where there is land mine/ordinance free expeditionary travel that is really off-road. In Arabia, when we were 30 km out of major cities, we headed out into the desert with no worries. How many places in the world still offer unrestricted access to the land, and those places are outside of former war zones? I would love to see a map. My gut tells me that the expeditionary world is substantially smaller than it was even twenty years ago.
 
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