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Research

 

RESEARCH:

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.” ― Dr Seuss.

Whilst flexibility has been the watchword, considerable research has gone into exactly which highlights and routes we would like to cover within each country. Even should we fall short in reaching most of these, I hope the sort of information contained in our detailed provisional schedule set out later, will help others planning something similar. I know that certain valuable information-rich trip reports have proved definitive in our planning and will attempt to return the compliment in the same sort of manner.

I have been steadily researching this trip for the last 5 years or so and have created folders for each country on my PC and have collected a huge amount of information by copying and pasting whenever I come across items of interest. This information we will carry with us on our laptop. There is a huge range of informative sources on the internet. For local information the www.4x4community.co.za forum is unbeatable but it also carries a useful smattering of information on East, Central and even North Africa. The best source for blogs has always been The African Overland Network http://www.africa-overland.net/Africa. Other valuable internet resources include the Hubb forum on Horizons Unlimited http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hubb/sub-saharan-africa/ and http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hubb/sahara-travel-forum . Often these sites will reference other blogs. The forum of the South African Land Cruiser Club http://landcruiserclub.co.za/forum/ had also been helpful, particularly when it came to vehicle modifications and equipment. This is a membership-only forum with an annual fee to pay. The Lonely Planet forum carries a lot of information on destinations and new developments but is more geared towards backpackers and tours https://www.lonelyplanet.com/thorntree/forums/africa . The Fodor’s forum has also been of use at times http://www.fodors.com/community/africa-the-middle-east. Also worth looking at is The Expedition Forum Portal http://www.expeditionportal.com/forum/index.php. and the African forum on Trip Advisor http://www.tripadvisor.co.za/ListForums-g6-i9112-Africa.html. For Mozambique Mike Slater’s http://www.mozguide.com has no peer. Another source for trip blogs has been http://overlandsphere.com. African birding sites on the web have provided lots of information as well.

Travel guides in book form are by definition at least about 2 years out of date. The Bradt guides seem to be the best for our purpose for each of the countries we plan to visit except for Kenya, where I have used the Rough Guide. Also very helpful has been the National Geographic Africa Adventure Atlas. The iconic book, Vehicle-dependent Expedition Guide by Tom Sheppard, is well thumbed by now. The Tracks 4 Africa GPS program for Garmin has been invaluable in the planning stages and is indispensable along the route. One can purchase the SD card or download the program from https://tracks4africa.co.za. Their routes, way points and points of interest have been gathered from many previous trips and submitted to them by travelers. The detail and accuracy is improving with each new edition, updated a few times a year. It does have some limitations the further north one proceeds, but this is also improving with each update. It is irreplaceable for tracing out projected routes, expected time needed to cover the route, choosing and locating potential stay-overs and locating sources for fuel and supplies. It covers the minor tracks to an extent that the normal programs do not even attempt to do. I gather that it is less reliable when it comes to the actual conditions of roads. The program is initially loaded onto your PC or laptop and the routes and waypoints selected. These can then be downloaded onto your GPS which has less memory storage space. It will obviously really come into its own once we are on the road but is great for planning.