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Transafrica over the west, 20`000km, with a Land Cruiser 200

Old 01-28-2013, 09:57 AM
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Transafrica over the west, 20`000km, with a Land Cruiser 200

I just finished an overlanding trip, from switzerland to southafrica, over the west route.

Because many people asked me, to do also an little writeup in english - i decide to try that - mixed with some pictures - here at yotatech. My english is`nt the best - but i will try. When i`m finished, i can use this link for that guys who asks me ;-)

Here was the route we had planned:



And here is the car - i had choosen - not just for the transafrica - we plan too to do some other extended trips with this car...

It is an land cruiser 200 with european specs - hydraulic suspension with allows to lift and lower the car, to adjust the dampers.

Here the short specs: AHC (Active Hight Control), Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS), Crawl, JBL 14-speaker system, Iphone Integration, USB Connection, Hard Disk Drive (HDD) Navigation, Anti-theft system, Sunroof, 14 Airbags, Pre Crash Safety System, Four-zone automatic air-conditioning, Pollen filter / Clean air filter, Active Traction control (A-TRC).

Why such a modern car? Why not? In my experience in laos the locals drive often the never cars than the guys who do the world trips.. Worst case you have to move to the next big capital..

He is equipped now with an additional fuel tank, a winch, difflocks, 33" mud terrain tyres, sand ladders, ground anchor, a well sorted recovery kit, airbag lift, sideawning and an roof rack & thule roof box.





And here is too the complete team:



I dreamed since many years about - to build an overlanding setup, which allows me to stay several days out of civilization, allows to sleep inside - and has everything needed.

I bought the car, and start the buildup without to have an target to travel.. I would like to drive the americas, the silkroad, africa - there are many ideas in my head.

I did some (holiday) trips with rental 4x4`s with a friend, namely in laos and the nothern part of thailand - but with an extended trip - he dont want to join.
So i start planning the trip for me alone - and set the focus to africa.

My Girlfriend watched my plans - and at one day - she told me that she would think about - to come with me. I had never guessed, that she would like to do something like this. Not much comfort, sleeping in the car, bad roads and that for a long time.

I dont had planned about the timeframe of the trip, but - she rised in her career during our planning phase - and - you have to work a while on your new career level - to be able to work after your trip on the same level - right? The car was bought, and the first mods already done - should we wait 2 or more years?

To wait isnt one of my strengths - and i decide to do something - who allows to work and to do the trip now: we start to talk to our employers for a 6 weeks holiday - and extend that each time we talked about - so that there was at the end a commitment for 2 months

This way we are able to test our build-setup on an extended trip, see africa - and don't have to look much about the costs - we both are working and earning money.

Afterwards we can plan on an extended (at sample 1 year) trip, can change the setup of the car who wasn't good enough - that was the idea behind. In retrospect, this length was 2 months but pretty perfect – but that we dont know before ^^

Unfortunately the situation in northern africa goes worse and worse, specially mali looks pretty bad - during our planning. But we watched all blogs of peoples who work there, mailed with people in mali - and we decide that we keep our plans up.

----- to be continued -----
(next comes the buildup of the sleeping area (inside), water, board battery, freezer & cooler setup)

Last edited by 4x4tripping; 01-28-2013 at 09:59 AM.
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Old 01-28-2013, 10:46 PM
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The plan to sleep inside - need all the space the Land Cruiser 200 have.

Here is the car stripped out:



Here Fridge and Freezer gets placed (Engel 15L)..



And some lightweight drawers



A Watertank with 85l also



Water Plug with hot and cold water (heat exchanger in the engine bay)



And here some pictures from our first and only testing night:



Shower installation



The Bed and the Drawer System



There are included so many details, that i can't list all here with pictures. The car comes two cranking batteries - and we add a 3rd battery in the rear, because to run a fridge and a freezer - need some power...

I had done much research what mattress would be the best - and ended with a swiss product which is used by yacht (boat) manufactures worldwide - Fanello inside:



It allows to sleep like at home, has mattress and bed rust included in one product.

------------- to be continued -------------
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Old 01-28-2013, 11:07 PM
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Dang that shower is neat looks wonderful!!! Can't wait to see more!!!!
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Old 01-29-2013, 07:48 PM
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Sweeeeeet!
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Old 01-30-2013, 03:45 AM
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3rd Battery Setup - National Luna PPP:

We dont think that this is overkill. To run a fridge and an freezer in an hot environment - need some power. And the V8 Diesel comes with 2 Batterys in Stock configuration - i dont want to use them for our stuff...



Difflock`s and Winch Power Switch:


Additional Fueltank Display and Pump Switch:


At next we should look at the electric equipment - before i start our diary

------ to be continued -------
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Old 01-30-2013, 04:23 AM
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Old 01-30-2013, 08:01 AM
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Nice. What engine does your engine come with...?

Nevermind...if you have two batteries stock, then that must mean you have a 24V system...which implies you have the twin turbo diesel. Jealous.

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Old 01-31-2013, 05:49 AM
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Originally Posted by snobdds View Post
which implies you have the twin turbo diesel. Jealous.
Youre right - it is the 4.5l Diesel TwinTurbo V8



The Engine have 286 PS/HP, 210 kw and 650 Nm - a dream to drive!

But back 2 our picture mixed story ;-)

-----------------------------------------

Within this Posting, i want to show some parts of our equipment we had carry with us.

Because of the bad fuel in the most part of africa - because of dirt and water inside of the fuel - we carry an external fuel filter with us - Mr Funnel - a cheap and good investment!
If you choose an diesel for africa - you have to look that your car dont carry an active particle filtre - because of the high sulfur fuel..
The Landcruiser 200 with european 2011 spec has only EURO4 Standard - and an passive DPF. He will "die" in africa - but not cause problems - because he is unmanaged.



To keep the mosquitos out of the car, we bought windows sox - a great - not very well known product. Most people choose the roof tent solution, or a popup roof - and don't try to sleep inside of the car... So not many people search something like this.



And we thought about a Satellite-Phone, bacon or something similar.

After some research i decide me for an satellite Two-Way Messager - which allows you to send and receive short messages over the satellite network.

There are two products, Spot Connect and Delorme Inreach, who both offer nearly the same - basic functionality - and much more if you connect with your Smartphone (Bluetooth). We decide us for the Delorme InReach.



Therefore you don't find Garmin, Navigon or TomTom Mapsource for Westafrica, we choose an Ipad with downloaded Bing-Hybrid - a mixed Street and Satelliteimage-view - as main navigation unit. And an Garmin Device - with Tracks4Africa an semi-comercial product - but with a very poor coverage of westafrica... But this product has also some Hotels, Fuelstations, Campsites - so for Marocco and Namibia & Namibia it is a good buy.


The Hella Jet Ventilator:


When you plan to sleep inside of the car, you have to carry a capable fan - for the really hot nights... We used it 10-12 times on our trip - for getting a cold breeze.

For Photography we choose a good compact cam - and we carry an notebook for writing our diary.

Therefore we had an Freezer and a Fridge, we had planned to cook mostly by ourself - this is also better when you want to wild camp (what you have to, because there will be no hotels, too restaurants will be rare).
So we carry a lot of food with us, rice, noodles, pesto and so on..

I would say - we have finished the equipment stuff now. Shure there was much more we carry, but nothing special.

Ahh - i forget the spares! We carry:

1x Diesel Filtre
1x Air Filtre

Not more, no tools.. Just some duct tape. I have two left hands - i cant repair something I can change a filtre, an tyre or a fuse - thats it. For more i need help.

Because of this i choose a new car - so i know the history of it. And it was also the reason to choose a Land Cruiser. They just need their scheduled services, right?

A guy like me will never had the relaxed feeling - to know that everything on the car is well maintained. I just hope - my mechanic did it


--------------- to be continued --------------

Last edited by 4x4tripping; 02-12-2013 at 12:53 AM.
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Old 01-31-2013, 11:55 PM
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What is such a trip, without a farewell party ;-)



Day 1

Saturday, 10. November 2012

We just have 2 month for our trip - so we both worked till we start - till friday evening - as a normal working day.

Our plan was - to start at saturday early at 8 o clock, but heavy rain don't allow to load the car finally, at friday night.

It was saturday afternoon 2 clock, as the car was finally loaded, the water tanks filled - and we recognized that we still have to buy some stuff. Just insignificant things like binoculars and so on..

It was 7 clock as we finally started - also with fuel topped up - again during heavy rain. We had to reach our ferry in Barcelona at the early afternoon - so we push to Geneve and drove 675km and just passed Nime, as we both got really tired. It was nearly at 2 clock in the morningö.
So we left the highway for our first wild camp - unfortunately still in a rainy and wet environment. If you also have done wild camping - you know - not easy to find a spot at night. But at the 2nd try we find a space - a meadow next to the graveyard.

It was a not easy to keep the mud out of the car, but we just cleaned our theeth - and got sleeping.





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Old 02-04-2013, 09:55 PM
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Day 2

At 5:30am we stand up again, because we have to be in Barcelona at the early afternoon - and have no idea where the port is.

Shure we was very early - and found the right port without problems.

At 12:30 we already was checked in - and had to wait for the entry process.


The departure was on time. But the ferry itself - we are glad that we dont take the ferry from Italy - and have to spend 2 nights..

We had a double cabin with sea view - just ok - not more..

The room was quiet dirty, and used - would say - a bit ˟˟˟˟ed up...

During our tour, we discovered that where the wellness and massage section should be - there is a mosque now.

And the pool area was converted to a hookah bar.

But - we don't expect too much - and got a nice meal in the ala card restaurant.









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Old 02-06-2013, 10:50 PM
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Day 3, Marocco

Today we reach tanger. The harbor is far away of the city and we reach them not at 4 clock like our tickets showed - we reach them at 8 o clock, as it was dark.

As we drove from the ferry to the customs, and was standing in a long queue, as a guy with french numberplates rolls backwards. I horn and flash - but he dont break, and boom - it cames to contact.

Good start or? A guy jumped out of the car and starts to be kindly aggressive and seems to thought that i have hit him. Ohhh give me the same drungs please
Therefore i can't speak french, i just inspected my car and let him cry, lucky me - nothing happened. I show him, that i thought that he is a bit silly, and went back into the car.

Other travelers talk to the guy - and he gets quiet and joined the queue again.

The custom process was ugly - then we dont have our car entry in our passport (we should had got it in the ship) - and the border police has closed - but after some research we got everything - and could start into the night.

There was some police checkpoints, but they don't try to look after us.

After some kilometers the 3rd Battery starts to beep beep beep - the warning that he is discharged and need power. Because they are linked to the alternator - she should have power.

We stopped and start to solve the problem. All cable was fitted correctly, but the led shows - no power. I guess that the there a fuse has blown, and right - 30 amp was not enough. Glad i had a 60 amp fuse in the same xxl size - and after a short break we could drive again.

Because all says - dont drive at it is dark in africa - we looked for a place to stay, during driving - and after 100 kilometers we saw a parked camping mobile on a car park.
It was a kind of campsite, no toilet, no shower, just a place to stay - directly on the beach - with an guard who wants a small fine.

Perfect for the first night - that we have everything we need - with us




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Old 02-06-2013, 11:41 PM
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Old 02-08-2013, 12:39 AM
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Day 4

The night was pretty cold, we are glad that we have an Webasto Parking heater (diesel) who allows to heat the car without to starting the engine.

At the morning we wake up early, and decide to make our breakfast later - when the sun warms the environment a bit more.

At home we both take our breakfast at work, because we arent hungry at the early morning - so that isnt unusual for us.

Like we mentioned bevore, we try to travel to nordafrika in a fast way, to save time for the rest of the trip. We will travel to Marocco and Mauretania again soon - inside of normal holidays.

After a short drive we take an highway and a nice restaurant on a restplace- and get some omletts for breakfast - yummi!.

At 15:40 we arrived in Marrakesh and find an guarded parking.

We walk through the medina, the old part of the city.

Soon we found a very nice sky-bar - and take on of our latest changes for an good mojito. Later we wandered some more about the market, past huge piles of spices, meats and vegetables - and of course lots of souvenirs for tourists. It was loud, but an experience for the senses - with the spices - an exotic flair.


As it gets dark we went for the car, because the parking was only guarded till 6:00.

The car was still there - and we feed our Garmin Device with Tracks4Africa with a POI Campsite.

30 km away there was a campsite, it was very funny to drive at night, because to use the light is optional in africa.

On the way was a big "Carefour" Market inside of a big mall - and we use the change to top up our freezer with meat.

There where the campsite should be (Tracks4Africa) - is now home of karaoke bar and a disco.

We look for a wild camp in a much too crowded area - we saw a hotel with a big parking area, surrounded by a cactus grove. We ask the Guard, if we can camp there - and so we get our first non-wild camp for free


----

Our basic campsite at the beach in the morning:







The skybar was very lovely!




Marrakesh Medina


-------------- to be continued ----------------
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Old 02-08-2013, 05:10 AM
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Very good adventure, thanks for sharing!
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Old 02-08-2013, 05:54 AM
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This is awesome!!
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Old 02-11-2013, 06:23 AM
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Day 5

At 7 clock we started again (this is not early - when you go to bed on time) - towards Agadir.

Since there was no good road link - which would have resulted with a long way to Agadir - we went offroad - and followed the Dirtracks corresponded most likely a direct route. What an amazing car setup for drive a fast speed on that bad dirt tracks, also with near 4to!

We arrived in Agadir around noon and drove straight to Toyota - I wanted to buy two diesel filters, just in case..

Since the workshop just had lunch, we enjoyed a delicious meal in a restaurant. Later we auctioned two diesel filters - and drove on towards in direction of Mauritania.

Today we just want to eat some kilometers

A beautiful day with beautiful scenery and lush green hills.

After some hours driving, we calls it in german "christmas tree" - the cockpit displays an Error: "Check VRG system", the engine light illuminated on 4LO flashing.

What a luck that we are well prepared. With my Iphone and an Kiwi Wifi ODB2 Connector i was able to read and reset the error.



The car dont runs into the service mode during the error appears, i could drive normally. But i cant enable 4Lo - what isn't funny.

But you can guess how happy my girlfriend was - that we have to do such work so early

I was really annoyed about - but to try to suggest her - that this isnt really a problem...

On the way - as it was on the evening, looking for a wild camp there was a Beach Camping announced - and we ended up on a beautiful beach. I christened it Surfers Paradise - beautiful waves. We also took advantage of the existing washing machine, because we dont know how many chances we have to do it this way.

We built all the equipment for the first time - the awning with sides and cooked us steaks with mashed potatoes on the Coleman, our gasoline stove and treated ourselves to one of the rare bottles of Rioja wine.








Lunch


Our Beachcamp-Site
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Old 02-16-2013, 04:07 AM
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Day 6

Thursday 15. November 2012 - Agadir to Laayun ca 630km

Today we got a new fuel usage record. 13.x liter / 100 km. With mud terrain tyres - roof box - and heavy loaded - a top value. The record we have only managed it because only low speeds are allowed. Mostly we drove 60-100 km / h

The diesel fuel here costs 66 to 90 cents - just our diesel filters brings the guys at the gas station to despair.

It is tedious to refuel so we need for 90 Liters around 20 minutes... But despite now 3 diesel filters on stock - it's just too hot - because to run into problems, especially as the heater was mounted next to the fuel filter, and it will be quite a fumbling, to replace the filter.

Once you have water in the tank, a filter helps also not so much - you have to clean your tanks..

Despite numerous laser checks, it caught us only once - 300 dirhams (about 30 francs) for 13km / h too much. Affordable, but time consuming. As was measured repeatedly, we drove mostly very adapted or could rush behind a local car.

Nevertheless, it caught us again. Oops, I ran over stop sign - this time, 700 dirhams due.

We later learned that this place is famous for it - most overlander overdrives the stop sign here. As foreigner you don’t suspect it at this place.

It was like a bad movie. A police stopped us and asked for the papers. As he did, he went to the other side of the road - to his colleagues who watched the oncomming traffic with a laser radar gun. They had some smalltalk, then they signs me – to come over.

They looked in my Passport see Visas from Laos, Vietnam to Congo and Angola – and means: you are a rich man, because you can travel that much. They want 700 Dirhams as fractions – and shows me too a fine form.

The first time we were faced with bribery. For half of the amount, you would let us go without penalty.

But - I have no problem to pay for the things I did wrong - and I will not encourage corruption. So I was on the full amount and normal buses with a puncture / receipt. They settled much time filling - but it was worth it.

But mostly we were ignored as a tourist, or were just lucky.

Today, the landscape had changed slowly.

You notice that you closer to the desert. Even more of a stone desert as a sandy desert. It is just wonderful to drive through. It is just wonderful to drive through!

It was already dark when we reached the Western Sahara - and we were stopped several times and were able to use our Fiche first time. The fiche is a summary of personal data, as well as the vehicle on a leaf.
Without a fiche – you have to wait till they enter your details in big books – what will use some time.

It was again already dark – as we found due to street signs an campground - with ocean sounds (it is too dark to see anything.)

Tomorrow we will cross the Western Sahara and head to the border of Mauritania - by then there will be at 08:00 at the border crossing ...








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Old 02-16-2013, 05:16 AM
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Nice trip! 'Scribed

Seeing mention of Marrakesh and Agadir brings back memories of my Feb. 2007 week long trip based in Agadir. Interesting places.

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Old 02-18-2013, 03:59 AM
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Day 7

Again we wake up early - and prepared us to start. As i was ready to start the engine, i detect a 15cm crank in the windscreen. Nothing what looks to dangerous, we marked the end of the crank - to see if it gets bigger.
The scenery was again incredibly beautiful, but very sparse and a certain monotony - and we saw our first camels.
And the jump works unfortunately - we had taped the spot where he left off - and he grew up with every few KM back a bit more, especially for the smaller offroad parts we had. So we have enabled the home help - to get a new windshield.
This means that my mother phoned the Toyota workshop - for the part number of the windshield - and tried in Mali (Bamoko) or Burkina Faso (Ouagadougou) to organize - such - or a suitable windshield. Why my mom? She is retired - and has time for stuff like this.
Unfortunately in Mali the Phoneline was down in the morning, and at midday my mother detects - that the phonenumber listed at their website is wrong. She try to get the right number with the help of the sleeping camel crew, Toyota internatonal - but had no chance.
She gives us a call, and we decide to head as quick as possible in direction of mauretania, nouakchott - to look what Toyota in the capital of mauretania can do for us. It makes no sense to call them - they cant organice a windscreen on the fly - if they have one ok, otherwise we will try to order one to benin or congo - hoping our windscreen dont crash till there.
In the south of marocco isnt much population and slowly the more stone based desert change to a sand desert. With the less population also the ammount of Police and Radar checkpoints arent that often - nice to drive.
Unfortunately i forget our camera on the frontbar - during a pee break - on a sandtrack in the desert. We noticed after about 15 Kilometers - and decided to go back and
to seek it.
Without GPS Tracking - no chance! Everything looks so equal in the desert... We hoped that the camera is still fallen down on the sand track, and not on the big road. Have i mentioned that we drove on a sandtrack with near 4000kg - and dont sink in?
The camera was still there :-) Too bad we recognize that we will reach the boarder now too late for crossing :-(
On the further journey through the barren landscape - we were suddenly surrounded by little yellow birds - the completely uncoordinated as a swarm flew on to us. Before we could slow down it had popped a couple of times - and we realized that we were caught in a swarm of locusts.
The locusts were great, so long approx 8-9cm but looks bigger durring they fly. The phenomenon accompanied us so 2-3km - and we were glad to be able to then go back on the gas.
At dusk so against 5:50 clock we arrived at the Moroccan border - unfortunately the barrier was down and a small queue in front.
We met Christopher and Janine, Janine, we met on the road before.
She travels alone on a motorcycle - with a long-term horizon. Your planned trip will end once in Togo.
Christopher had just sold his car, so really wanted to do in Ghana, but had lost some parts of the car - and had quite a few breakdowns- so he preferred to sell.
He had sold off the car in the middle of nowhere, and wants to hitchhike back the next day to Europe.
It was a social evening, with mutton meat, which were once the shoo fly - before our pieces were cut. But through the grilling, we did not worry. In addition there were chips and salad.
In a retrospect view that was a pretty risk - but our stomach did not complain.
How different our round was. Christopher and Janine negotiated the butcher down extremely - and found the price at the end just "ok" - and did everything they could to save the money - while we pay at the end the round almost alone - 16 francs - peanuts ... Survivalist meets working tourists... It was getting late..
Meanwhile, a huge queue waiting trucks and cars on two tracks on the opening of the border in the morning.
We stood in the queue again - were allowed to join to our original position and just got in - without setting up the awning or so.
It was pretty loud and boisterous. From time to time a big truck get fired up - to heat.
We were extremely pleased that we dont have a rooftent - and to handle that noise. We started the webasto heating device -and got sleeping.


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Not the best picture.. But you see some flying locusts:



The beautiful coastline:



We drove some funny offroad stuff - to get a close picture of:



Glad that we found the camera!



--------------------------- to be continued ---------------------------

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Old 02-18-2013, 06:03 PM
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What an awesome trip!

What is the brand of that water tank? I've never seen one like that.
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