November 14, 2012

Land Rover Upgrades 2.0 - Part B

Hi Folks

Been very quite for 1 year - sorry about that.  Got the Blog mojo back and thought we would post some pics of some of the things we have done to Dassie the Land Rover.  We are going to add some more pics to this post shortly, but the key items are shown in the images below.  The main focus has been on the interior re-wiring and solar system as well as some basic tidy up jobs to sort things that broke or wore out on the trip through Africa.


Base vehicle is 300 TDi 110 Hard Top Defender 2 seats front plus 2x side seats rear.  Rear is designed to serve as place to sit when cold / wet / privacy AND convert into bed for emergency sleeping when in  cities or for emergencies / bad weather.  We did this because we found that we liked the compact foot-print of a Land Rover but sometimes wanted some privacy and shelter from the elements - its not always hot and dry!

Although during most of our trip we were warm, there were times in the mountains, high winds and storms where you just want to sit inside and eat, talk and escape curious people.  The Land Rover has a strange comforting smell (to us it does) and whilst space is of a premium, the cosy nature of the rear compartment is now something we really enjoy.  The side windows do give a real feeling of the space being bigger than it is, with a cool breeze that makes the interior a nice place to sit.  A small fold out table is big enough to prep meals and use a laptop but small enough to pack away when needed.


The floor is removable and we can attach it to the storage box to make a sleeping platform.  Its not exactly spacious, but it gives us the compromise of a useful seating area, storage, place to work on the laptop / plan and sleep if needed.  We had to modify the dog guard so we can crawl in, but its cosy and will do as a compromise.  Vicks made some nice seat covers and I added the checker plate.

Actually the word compromise is the most often word used when preparing for an overland vehicle / trip.....get used to it!





January 24, 2012

Land Rover Upgrades 2.0 - Part A


Well - after 48,361km and now having proper tools, a garage and some spare time, Nick set about doing modifications to Dassie to make her into the 4x4 we wished we had when we started but why make the changes and what did we do......??

  • Our interior build was rushed and basically shook itself to bits - now used proper plywood
  • The fridge was poorly located and a pain to access - relocated / access from window
  • We lacked the ability to sit inside the rear when it was cold/ wet - fitted new seats
  • We lacked privacy - some times you just want to be alone / use laptop / eat in private etc...
  • Storage was not ideal - we took too many boxes - installed 2x lockers
  • Rooftent - fly sheet good for shade but not a good design, poles fall out in heavy wind / tropical rain - upgraded tent to Howling Moon - much better design / stronger flysheet / add on room
  • Lacked ability to carry a guide, awkward to carry people - installed 2x rear seats (above)
  • Sleeping inside – Impossible in original design, we have now changed this, with basic sleeping deck converted from floor panel
  • Lack rear shade – Out tent opened over bonnet – we now have changed to open over rear / have add on room
  • Camping table – Too small and not stable – longer type better
  • Camping chairs – Ours were too basic and you get tired of sitting in one for 366 days - upgraded to bigger ones
  • Roof bag – Good, but rotted in sun - now use a metal box - better and much more secure
  • Rear work lamp – Old bulb uses too much power & is too heavy – fell off!  Replaced with LED
  • Solar panel - 40 watt panel too small.  Now have 90 watt panel (5.3 amps)
  • Use a solar regulator - limits battery drain and over charge - can see what the status of battery and solar charge / draw is.  Can set to suit different needs
  • No side windows - Fitted aluminium (solid) windows - secure and let in lots of light when open
  • 2nd spare wheel - moved from roof rack to bonnet (frees up space)
  • Water tank fill - added exterior cap so can fill from outside
  • Moved water filter and changed shower output pipe - more compact and better design

All photos of the key changes can be found at our Land Rover 2.0 Album


We are still tweaking things but the basics of Dassie 2.0 are now complete and we just need to iron out a few more issues.  A recent shakedown trip has shown that most of the changes work well.  The final jobs are now focused on finishing the water system and fixing the solar panel to the roof box on a frame that will allow us to remove it and place it in the sun when we are parked in the shade.

If you want to make contact with Burnco, the people that did an AMAZING job on our side windows and fabricated our aluminium storage box, their contact details are below.  They did a great job for us, on time, offered honest advice and were very competitive on price.  They really know about 4x4 / overland prep and if you were shipping your car to SA to do Cape Town to London or have just finished your trip and need some work doing, I would really recommend you make contact with them for any bespoke modifications. 

Hein Burnett
Burnco
Panel Beaters & 4x4 Manufacturing
Tel: +27 21 949 1713
email at info@burnco.co.za
website at www.burnco.co.za  

Happy to take questions on your own build.

Nick & Vicks
Stonehenge to Cape Town 2010/11
48,361km in 366 days

Web                 http://langebaan-sunset.com
Blog                 http://langebaan-sunset.blogspot.com
Twitter            https://twitter.com/langebaansunset
Photography  http://www.redbubble.com/people/langebaansunset
Film                 http://youtube.com/LangebaanSunset


   


January 20, 2012

African Hills - The ups and downs of 4x4 overland travel

Hi Folks,

One of the main questions that came back from our London to Cape Town in 10 minutes film was "Its a bit flat", "that's easy" and "where's all the hard roads we thought existed in Africa".  


Our Route - click to enlarge

Well, to help develop that thread and answer those questions, we pulled nearly half a million track points off our Garmin database and analyzed the altitude information "You Geek!" I hear you say..... well, yes, to a point but the resulting information highlighted that we went up and down a LOT on our 48,361km drive South and perhaps a little more that we had realized.  The chart below shows the data in more detail.

Altitude data - Click to enlarge

As you can see, its pretty spiky!!!  We have added some indicators to key regions and key countries with Lesotho being the highest we reached at circa 10,600 feet.  Not quite Everest but certainly a challenge.

To answer the other question, "Where's all the footage of the really hard roads", well the simple answer is we tended not to get the camera out when we were really stuck, lost or struggling.....  when its 40'C, your covered in ants, getting bitten and generally sweating like a madman, photography and filming tends to be low down the list of priorities ;-))
Regards

Nick & Vicks

Stonehenge to Cape Town 2010/11

Web                 http://langebaan-sunset.com
Twitter            https://twitter.com/langebaansunset
Photography  http://www.redbubble.com/people/langebaansunset
Film                 http://youtube.com/LangebaanSunset









January 2, 2012

London to Cape Town in 10 Minutes

Happy New Year folks!

As part of a look back at our Africa Overland trip, we compiled a 10 minute film that offers an insight into the road conditions you are going to face if you travel the West Coast / Central African route towards South Africa.  From the deserts of North Africa and the lush greens of West Africa to the mud of Cameroon and rain forest of Gabon, this video has the lot.


 You can down load the GPS track and way points for the entire route at our GPS page


                                               London to Cape Town in 10 Minutes Film

We did a fair bit of off-road driving as well as main roads so the video has a mix of road types for you to see.  We hope you enjoy it as much as we did driving it!

Safe travels!

Nick
www.langebaan-sunset.com
Twitter




December 27, 2011

Africa Overland - Top 10 Planning Hints & Tips

Hi Folks,

Now our trip is over, we have taken some time to update our website and Blog with data you might find useful for planning purposes (applicable to any country for an extended trip).  You can see our full FAQs list at our website

In the meantime, check out our summary Top 10 lists you might want to consider - we would love to hear more Tops 10's from other people.


What were the top 10 most useful items you took?
  1. Water filter - Hands down the best investment
  2. Multi-fuel stove - Efficient, don't need to fiddle with gas
  3. The COBB - Great for slow cooking, bulk food, BBQ, roasting & making pizzas!
  4. Vehicle Side Awning - Sun shade in tropics is essential
  5. Roberts SW Radio - Great for BBC World Service, news & African programmes
  6. Vehicle mounted side table - handy & space saving for cooking, esp. in rain
  7. Rear mounted tap - great for convenient washing of hands / kit / utensils
  8. Hennessy Hammocks - nice alternative place to sleep, lie down on hot days
  9. Caravan power hook up - power was available in a lot of places (eases battery drain)
  10. SPOT Messenger - Excellent for location tracking, keeping friends & family up to date


What were the top 10 least useful items you took?

  1. Camp Kitchen table - odd shape, bulky (we gave it away)
  2. Roof rack bag - Initially good, but leaked and rotted in sun (metal roof box better)
  3. Thermarests - never used, lent them to people once
  4. Large rucksacks - bulky, took up space, used once, used shoulder bags
  5. Money belts - never carried wallet, not needed (carry cash that you need)
  6. DC / AC converter - ours was a cheap one (not Sine Wave) buy better one next time
  7. Two way radios - only useful if other people know how to use them & switch them on!
  8. Board games - packed too deep in locker, pain to get out
  9. Random tools - took too many and hardly used them
  10. Lots of adaptors - took too many attachments, mainly used British plugs on multi-gang


What were the top 10 things you would do differently next time?

  1. Don't rush! - You are on a journey of a life time, so take time to "stop" - we still spent 1 year on the road and in some countries wished we had stayed for longer
  2. Realise that it takes time to adapt from "9-5 normal life" to 1 year on the road - it takes approx 6-8 weeks to get used to life on the road - its not a holiday ;-)
  3. Have improved storage in vehicle - we rushed our system / it self destructed!
  4. Sit inside / sleep in vehicle - It does get cold in Africa, good to be able to keep warm, get out of rain / damp.  Its also nice to have some privacy sometimes.
  5. Have roof tent open over the rear - its 50:50 on this - you gain shade at back
  6. Make sure its easy to get to fridge !!
  7. Try not to pack things in too many boxes - they take up space.  Lockers are better.
  8. Take Blue metal water jerry cans - The Black plastic ones leak
  9. Take a spare alternator - It was the one item we should have packed
  10. Might consider alternative Malaria prophylaxis (just take test kits / treatment)


Nick & Vicki

Stonehenge to Cape Town 2010/11
www.langebaan-sunset.com


Importing 4x4 into South Africa Duty Free (Returning South African)

Hi folks, if you are reading this, you are either about to embark on an overland trip, taking part in one or just about to complete one. Either way, if you are a returning South African (like my wife) we want to share our experience of importing our Land Rover duty free into SA after our London to Cape Town trip 2010/11 Latest news / About us - Langebaan Sunset - Stonehenge UK to Cape Town SA - 2010/11.

[This process is likely to be the same for a motorbike or truck traveling on a Carnet]


We offer the following is a summary / check list for any returning South African citizen that has a foreign registered vehicle and wishes to import it into SA free of duty. There are several things that you need to consider BEFORE you set out as there are some items that need to be addressed in your departing country before you set out on your journey if you want to avoid a lot of hassle when you get here. Even though there are various guidelines available on this process, things "on the ground" are often different and even our clearing agent in Cape Town had to jump through a few hoops.

STEP 1 - Key items to have sorted before you depart

- The car has to have been registered in the SA citizens name for at least 12 months prior to returning to SA, so make sure the registration papers reflect this.
- Original SA Passport (or IF dual citizenship, foreign passport) of returning SA citizen should clearly state departure and arrival times stamped in the passport of when you came into country and when you left SA – THIS IS KEY!
- Even if the entry date is on an old passport – bring the old passport with you otherwise you will have to produce an authorised affidavit to cover any discrepancy.
- Letter confirming employment by foreign employer – this has to be an original and signed / dated. Copies will not be accepted. Get at least 2 signed originals just in case your paperwork gets lost in the system!
- Letter confirming resignation or no longer employed by foreign employer – again suggest 2x originals, signed and dated
- Valuation certificate of car – this seems to be a grey area. You can go and get a trade in valuation done and have it written on official letterhead of the garage that did the valuation (ideally a dealer in your marque)
- Your ID book – Needed as additional proof as SA National
- Intl Certificate of Motor Vehicle – you can get this from your country where the car is registered – UK AA in our case
- Registration Certificate from the cars normal place of origin (registration documents V5C in the case of UK)
- De-registration as a taxpayer – when you leave your country you have to let the Inland Revenue know that you are leaving. There is a form for this and you will need a copy of this form. It will have to be certified as an original copy (by police or lawyer)
- Carnet – You will / should have this for your journey anyway. For those people that hope / plan to travel and get into SA with a fake Carnet – good luck!! Based on the process we went through it would be HIGHLY unadvisable to try this!!

STEP 2 - Procedure once you get to SA

At port of entry you only need to get the Carnet stamped into SA when you finally get here (i.e. the entry stub stamped) – same process for all the other countries you visited along the way.

You do not need to fill in any forms at the border with regards the car import process. We even asked about this at the time and they simply refused to discuss it saying the Carnet “entry” stamp was all that was needed.

The following forms / process need to be followed

- Form DA304 : Motor Vehicle Declaration from SARS
- Form P.1.160 : Declaration in Respect of Unaccompanied Manifested Effects Entered Under Rebate of Duty
- Compliance Certificate (Issued by Manufacturer)
- Letter of Authority (Which will have to be applied for by the NRCS)
- Import Permit (Which will have to be applied for by ITAC)


There will then be the possibility that you will need a Customs Exam of the Car, this is at Customs discretion AFTER perusal of your Carnet. Even if you are told that this is required, it maybe cancelled at the last minute. We did not have to have one in the end.

A provisional payment may also be requested as surety for the duties and vat applicable, again at customs discretion so be prepared for this.


You are aiming to get your Carnet exit stub stamped by SARS – this is key if you are to discharge the Carnet and get your Bank Guarantee / Security Insurance / Deposit cancelled.

Even though we had all of the above, we still had to get an affidavit stamped by the SA police to state that the dates of residency in the UK for the SA National and to cover a discrepancy on the passport (the wife’s old passport with this info in had been destroyed)

STEP 3 - Procedure once you complete all the paperwork

When this process is over – it can take up to 2 months – you get the following back from Customs:

- Stamped Carnet – exit stub is stamped by SARS / customs
- Customs Release Notification
- SAD507 Customs declaration form
- SAD500 Customs declaration form
- Copy of NRCS Letter of Authority
- Copy of Import Permit Notification
- Copy of completed DA 304A Motor Vehicle Declaration from SARS
- Stamped original of DA304
- Stamped copy of your declaration of particulars
- Stamped copy of affidavit we submitted
- Your original vehicle registration papers

You are now able to go and register the vehicle in SA.  We posted the Carnet back to RAC UK and emailed copies of the SARS release form (we made a copy for our records).

So how did we do it / what did it cost?

When we got to SA we hooked up with a logistics / import company when we finally finished the trip – Why? Well, the above process is not that simple. Anyone that has dealt with “officialdom” in SA will know 3 things:

1) You are going to spend a lot of time waiting and finding offices etc…..
2) You are likely to be dealing with people unfamiliar with the process (the process can appear to vary from person to person on any given day!)
3) Paperwork can / may get lost and no one is really going to look too hard for it

The benefit of using an agent is they already have established relationships with all the people needed to get the car released, they know the process / forms and they can minimise the amount of time and cost spent driving / calling around to various offices to chase paperwork etc….This is important if you have limited time or are spending time travelling elsewhere when you get here.

We used Ashraf at IQSA and he was VERY helpful and professional. Whilst there is a fee associated with the service, we felt it was worth paying. We saved a lot of time & money simply on fuel costs for driving in and out of Cape Town to various places to get things sorted. We would highly recommend him!!

Mr Ashraf Mallick
IQSA Logistics

Cape Town, South Africa
Tel : + 27 21 697 5443
E-Mail : ashraf@iqsalogistics.co.za


Costs

Certification & Bill of Entry = R3,135 = £250
Service Fees & misc costs = R1,824 = £145
Postage of Carnet back to UK = R64 = £5



Hope that helps - safe travels.

Nick
__________________
Langebaan Sunset - Africa Overland
Stonehenge to Cape Town 2010/11
Website Twitter

July 22, 2011

Our medical kit & health on the road


Introduction
We (Nick & Vicki) have just spent 1 year travelling overland in a Land Rover in Africa and wanted to share with you our medical / health care tips.
Hygiene & Basics
Two overriding issues you have to think about are clean drinking water and basic body hygiene.  Bugs love Africa!!!  We used a charcoal / ceramic water filter and filtered all water we consumed orally.  We never got seriously ill and only had a couple episodes of "50:50" number 2 action.  We also washed our hands and tried to have flannel washes when water was low or no showers were handy (that's quite often in Africa).  Bottom line, keep clean and drink clean water and you minimise a lot of problems.  Also, if you cut yourself, clean it and treat it quickly with Savlon or Savlon spray.  Cover up feet, ankles and arms in the evening.  We only used DEET on our clothing and tried to avoid spraying it on our skin.  
Injections
We also had all our jabs done well in advance - we had approx' 7 visits to the local clinic in the UK.  Visit your GP and chat with the nurse.  They have access to MASTA and can advise what you need based on your route.  You will need Yellow fever certificate and a list of the jabs you have had, it does get asked for in Africa, esp. Nigeria!!
Reading
We took the Lonely Planet pocket health book.....VERY good buy and it helps give you a second opinion if you are a solo traveller.  Its small enough to pack in a bike too.  We looked at this a lot!!











What medical kit did we take?
We have listed the main items we took.  They were packable into 3 small bags (pictured).  We kept a basic kit in the front cab and the smaller medical kits were kept in the shade / cool part of the vehicle.  We kept our malaria pills, text kits in the fridge.  We have tried to indicate the frequency of usage too as a rough guide.


  • Doxycyclin tablets Malaria prophylaxis - used daily
  • Malarone tablets Malaria treatment   (4 Tablets in one dose for 3 days) - not used
  • Canesten / Clotrimazole cream Topical cream for vaginal / skin fungal infections - used
  • Vagisil cream Treatment for vaginal irritation - not used
  • ASPAR / Hayleve antihistamine tablets Treatments for hay fever & allergies - used
  • Hydrocortisone / Eurax Topical cream for non infected itchy skin rashes - used
  • Mycil / Daktarin cream & Daktarin Powder Anti fungal treatment for athlete’s foot - used
  • Chloramphenicol antibiotic ointment Infected eyes / bacterial conjunctivitis treatment - not used
  • Safyr Bleu Eye irritation liquid drop treatment - used
  • Savlon Pavidone spray Treatment of skin wounds, abrasions - used this a lot!
  • Sodium Chloride solution ampules Washing of small wounds - used
  • Cetrimide / Germolene / Savlon antiseptic creams Treatment of minor cuts - used this a lot
  • Calamine cream Treatment of sunburn & windburn - used
  • Ibuprofen tablets Musculo skeletal pain relief / anti-inflammatory  - used a lot
  • Paracetamol tablets General pain relief / headaches - used
  • Lemsip powders Treatment for flu - used
  • Friars Balsam liquid, Sudafed tablets, Strepsil sweets Treatments of colds / cold decongestion - used the latter
  • Senokot tablets (laxative) Treatment for constipation - not used
  • Normalone / Imodium tablets Antidiarrhoel treatment - used once
  • Electrolade powders sachets Rehydration treatment - used several times
  • Haemorrhoid suppositories Treatment of hemorrhoids / pain relief - used once
  • Bisodol (tablets) Antacid treatment - used
  • Aquatabs tablets Emergency water treatment - not used
  • DEET - used sparingly and generally on clothing
Medical Hardware
  • NOMAD Sterile kits x 3 - used some items from these kits
  • Dental kit x1 - never used
  • Malaria near Patient Test Kits - used once for another person
  • Compeed blister pack x1 - used once
  • Tapes (various) - used Antiseptic wipes (various) - used
  • Latex gloves (various) - used
  • Rehydration spoons x2 - used once
  • Plasters, bandages & burn dressings (Various) - used
  • Wound dressings (various) - used
  • Steri-strip wound closures (various) - not used
  • Tweezers - used Scissors x2 - used
  • Thermometer - used Safety pins - used
  • Emergency foil blankets x2 - not used
  • Emergency glow sticks x2 - not used
  • Blood donor cards - reference only BUT good to know your blood group
What conditions did we get?

On the whole we only had minor complaints that were easily treatable:

Thrush, blisters, sunburn, athletes foot, headaches, dehydration, flu, 1x skin infection from mossie bite, a few boils, 1x hemorrhoid (old age).  We both suffered from sun sensitivity from using Doxycyclin tablets.  This was worse at the equator.

What extra medicine did we need?

We bought some Cyprofloxicin (for treating skin infections) in Mali.  Easily obtainable and good for treating infected bites and boils.


Nick & Vicki
Stonehenge to Cape Town 2010/11