Preparations in South Africa

South AfricaPosted by Espen Wed, May 16, 2012 11:13:08

We have been a bit slow on our updates lately, but no reason to be alarmed. South Africa is the best place to stock up on supplies and prepare for another 30-40 000 kilometers of driving. There wa a questions about preparations, so here is a short update on what we’ve been up to the last couple of weeks besides visiting friends in the area.

The Patrol was up for a service, and as some of you perhaps remember, we had a broken oil seal in Argentina that I believed was caused by worn bearings. At Nissan in Knysna I had the front axle serviced and new bearings fitted. It turned out, however, not to be a problem with the bearings after all, just a bad seal. Still, there are now new bearings on both sides, and I count on these to last me at least 100 000 kilometers on bad roads before even thinking about them again. The patrol also got new filters and a good dose of full syntetic 5w40. Next service maybe in Dar es Salam…

A big thanks to Jack and Nissan in Knysna for excellent service!

After Nissan it was the tires that was up for a check. After about 10 – 15 000 kilometers, I try to have the tires rebalanced. Had to search really hard to find a shop that could help us with our 37 inch tires, but after asking at probably 10 different places we found these guys. They even took the time to rotate the wheels on the rims to get it as good as possible. First time….

South Africa is also a paradise for equipping a 4x4 for overland travel. The South Africans are masters of bush camping, and the ware houses look accordingly. I had for some time tried to source an extra fuel tank for the Patrol, but not really with any luck. I could of course order a new Australian one for a thousand or so usd, but with time for ordering and installation we ended up buying a couple of extra jerry cans. I really don’t like the idea of driving around with fuel on the roof, but I guess I’ll just have to live with it for now. It won’t be filled up unless we really need it though.

At the 4x4 shop we also picked up some braai-equipment (braai is the South African word for BBQ), and a radiator net for driving in grass so that we don’t plug the radiator with seeds. I had no idea, but this is actually a problem for vehicles driving in i.e. Kalahari.

Didn’t buy this one though…

Next stop was a book store with a good map section. We have of course downloaded some new African OpenStreet, and also the Tracks4Africa maps. Still, we like to have an “overview” map for planning and for asking advice from other travellers, and of course a detailed paper based roadmap. After advice from a2aexpedtion we bought the National Geographic African Adventure Atlas (hardback!), massive book, but very detailed. Looks very promising so far.We also booked an appointment with a travel medicine clinic to get an update on vaccines and medical kit advice for our route through Africa. Most vaccines are the same for Central and South America, so we were pretty much up to date on these. In Africa the yellow fever is mandatory and will be checked on some borders. We also got new stuff for things like diarrhea and infections as the medicines we bought in Norway more than two years ago had expired.

Finally we stopped by a huge supermarket and filled up with some dry food. Along the way in Central and South America I’ve had problems finding good breakfast cereals as I’m allergic to hazel nuts and almonds. In South Africa they have an excellent selection, and I bought 8 kilos!

So, now the car is again full of food and lots and lots of stuff. Hopefully our VISA cards will now have some time for cooling down. If we keep up our last weeks spendings, we’ll be shipping home sooner rather than later…

Planning is important, but as a wise editor in one of my favorite magazines put it, don’t let it get in the way of travelling. There is no absolute right or wrong. As an example, both of these made it all the way from Europe to South Africa!


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