Brussels in January.

The Start.

We all meet up at Dover docks where I discover I am the eldest by a long way. Then it is on an overnight P&O ferry to Belgium and a drive to Brussels where we camp for ten days waiting for some of the many visas we need for this trip. One night we had the worst storm for years now camping in January in Belgium is not a good start. A day and night drive across France and Spain to Algeciras for the ferry to Ceuta a little piece of Spain on the African mainland.

We cross the border in to Morocco and a mix of Arab and African influence. We have a few days in a hotel in Marrakech a town where you can buy anything if you have the time to barter for hours. It is now up in to the Atlas Mountains and the impressive Todra Gorge. On to Fes and tours of the dye pits and palaces. Overland borders in to Algeria are closed to British passport holders so some of us have to fly from Fes to Oran in Algeria and a few days in a hotel waiting for the truck to catch up.

Sahara Desert.

The Sahara Desert.

We now go south in to the Sahara Desert to In-Salah a town with some of the biggest sand dunes I have seen about to bury it. Now on to Tamanrasset for some rest and a trip up the Hoggar or Ahaggar Mountains to see the sun rise. We go west across the desert for Mali but one day out first gear on the truck broke and it is back to Tamanrasset for repair. A week later with parts flown out from the UK and fitted by us we are on road again.

At the border with Mali there is a bar after weeks in the desert a cold beer looks good but all we get from the barman is "Yes We Have No Beer". On to Tessalit where we get a local guide to take us across the desert to Timbuktu but after two days of soft sand we gave up and went to Mopti. Where we stayed on an old ferry that was stuck in the dried out river bed. Now the towns and markets are beginning to look more African than Arab more brightly coloured clothing.

African Bridge.

West Africa.

East in to Burkina Faso and a hike up to see some of the Dogon villages then on to the capital Ouagadougou. On to Togo and down to Lome for more African markets and rest on the beach while waiting for more visa stamps in the passport. We cross in to Benin and on to Cotonou then north again before we cross in to Nigeria.

We stay in Kano for a few days then cross in to Cameroon and the first game park on this trip Waza national park. We had a day watching a herd of elephants at a water hole this to me was what the trip was all about. From Cameroon we cross in to the Central African Republic. On the way to Bangui we go over wooden bridges that are a long way from safe and through many military road blocks. We camp in the grounds of a hotel for a few days as we get ready to enter Zaire.

Zaire Roads.

Zaire.

Zaire or The Democratic Republic of Congo as it is now known. The border is a river crossing on a ferry that needed diesel from us and a jump start before we could cross. This is Africa the way I through it was going to be. We drive through miles of rain forest on mud roads with holes as big as the truck for days on end. At one village we stopped at by the side of a river with Crocodiles swimming in it we had Chimpanzees getting in the tents and I saw my first Okapi there. On the road again to Kisangani where the local tailor makes clothes out of old flour sacks just right for wearing when you are digging a truck out of the mud. We leave Kisangani on the road we meet a group of boys with home made wooden bikes taking sugar cane to the sugar factory that is miles away. We cross the Equator on a mud road in the middle of nowhere and stop for a crossing ceremony. Now the high light of the whole trip for me going to see the Gorillas in the wild. An early morning trek up a mountain in the rain forest with an armed guide. We have a hour or more with them the older ones sitting down feeding and the young ones playing and coming right up to us then a hand would come out and pull them back again. On the road again south and then east across the Great Rift Valley in to Burundi and a few days rest camped beside Lake Tanganyika.

Burundi Drummers.

East Africa.

We camp for a few days beside Lake Tanganyika every body we meet greets us with "Jambo" hello in Swahili and a big smile, We are invited to go and see the Burundi Drummers practicing so early in the morning we are sat around a clearing on top of a hill watching the amazing drummers, On the road again to Bujumbura and on to Tanzania.

We cross in to Tanzania and now change sides of the road to drive on back to the correct side the left. We enter the Serengeti for two days game viewing here a 500mm lens works like a wide-angle lens in the wide-open plains with a lot of wildlife on them. In the morning it is my turn to do the cooking working in the dark with lions roaring in the distance which does wake you up. On to the Ngorongoro Crater we had a day down in the crater in hired Landrovers. Arusha we have a few days camping in the grounds of a school. We visit a Masai village on the way to the border with Kenya.

Before we get to Nairobi we have a day cleaning the truck that night we have a party to use up all the beer on the truck in the morning the camp guard and his dog are still asleep drunk on the ground. At Nairobi we have a week in a hotel some people fly home and some more fly out to join us. We now go back to Tanzania.

The truck stops in Dar-Es-Salaam for a few days and we go to Zanzibar. On a tour of the island we get mugged and one of the girls gets the back of her hand cut open with a machete down to the bone. After visiting the local hospital it is time to get her flown home with the help of the British Embassy.

Victoria Falls.

Southern Africa.

Malawi. At the border one of the drivers had to have a hair cut before they will let us in. We drive down the side of Lake Malawi camping on the beach as we go. We visit Lilongwe before we cross in to Zambia.

Zambia. We go to South Luangwa Nation Park for a few days where we visit a crocodile farm. In the park we see a lot of elephant damage and do a night drive and watch a leopard hunting. On the road again we have to join a military convoy to go around Lusaka. We go on to the town of Livingstone and then cross in to Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe. We stop in Victoria Falls for a week and visit the falls on foot and fly over them on the flight of angels and do some white water rafting down the Zambezi. We move on to Hwange Nation Park where we do a walking safari. We got charged by an elephant when we get back to the camp site we tell everybody until the last group come in and they had walked in to a lion having a sleep who was not happy to be woken up. We go to Harare for a few days then on to Bulawayo and then in to Botswana.

Botswana. We go to the Okavango Delta and camp on a small island for two days. Now it is back to Harare for a flight back to the UK and start work again to get some money in the bank. I hope to come back to Africa one day to see the wildlife before it all goes and it's too late.