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Video of the Week :: 1959 Crossing Africa and the Sahara by Truck


Photo courtesy of Anthony Fleming

In 1959, Anthony Fleming, Rex Yates, and Collyn Rivers climbed aboard a modified Bedford QLR off-road military vehicle bound for South Africa. Rivers had purchased the truck, which was unused and cost a mere hundred pounds, and outfitted it with five 180-liter fuel tanks, five 20-liter jerry cans, and 700 liters of water for the taxing journey across the Sahara.

Rivers’ employer, Vauxhall/Bedford, sought knowledge of Africa’s roads and tracks, where they were eager to increase truck sales, so Rivers convinced Rex and Anthony to come along on the expedition. Fleming was a former de Havilland Aircraft Company engineering apprentice and police inspector in Mombasa, Kenya, while Yates was also a former de Havilland trade apprentice. The team received political assistance, fuel, and oil from Mobil Oil and experimental dehydrated food from the British Army.

Their route went through Europe to Gibraltar, across to Tangiers, along the North African coast to Algiers, and south via the Atlas Mountains and across the Sahara to Kano, Nigeria, and southeast across to Maiduguri. The team then traveled through French Equatorial Africa, the Belgian Congo, Northern and Southern Rhodesia, and to the South African border before returning north.

This video, put together by Anthony Fleming, is a compilation of color photographs from the journey.

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Ashley Giordano completed a 48,800-kilometer overland journey from Canada to Argentina with her husband, Richard, in their well-loved but antiquated Toyota pickup. On the zig-zag route south, she hiked craggy peaks in the Andes, discovered diverse cultures in 15 different countries, and filled her tummy with spicy ceviche, Baja fish tacos, and Argentinian Malbec. As Senior Editor at Overland Journal, you can usually find Ashley buried in a pile of travel books, poring over maps, or writing about the unsung women of overlanding history. @desktoglory_ash