We had investigated replacing the front seats with what we thought would be more comfortable and durable ones: as it was the standard ones were very comfortable and still show no signs of wear – very glad we didn’t waste money on fancy ones.
Handy to have a large ‘GB’ sticker on the back of the vehicle so other motorists and travellers know where you are from as the registration plate will fool most of them – in any event it will lead to a lengthy conversation about one’s travels!
Several countries require the carrying of two warning triangles with Zambia stipulating they should be metal with reflective white on the rear – our two plastic ones seemed to suffice but they will be checked so have them handy.
We took a small ‘full’ sized one that wasn’t really man enough as a proper axe as it was more like a large chopper. Not used that much.
Taken primarily for driving in the ground anchor poles; wasn’t used and the sledgehammer was superfluous in the end.
I would now invest in a combination set-up with a single handle and interchangeable axe, sledgehammer and pick axe heads.
Long-handled lump hammer
A very useful piece of equipment for use in a variety of tasks including putting in long tent pegs.
Used frequently and probably essential for clearing fallen trees etc blocking the way: worth taking a full sized one and stored readily to hand – take a spare blade.
Taken but not used much.
As we were having visitors we needed additional accommodation. We shipped a small pop-up tent but that didn’t survive the journey. This was replaced in Botswana with a bigger tent that was ideal but stored in a small bag: this survived two attacks by baboons, thanks to duct tape, but gave up the ghost in the strong winds of Namibia. We had difficulty replacing this one with a similar replacement in South Africa and settled for one brought out by the last guests!
Conscious that we would spending much of our time in remote areas where anything could happen we made up a ‘survival’ box; a small military ammunition box (with all stickers removed!) with various survival items* inside that could be grabbed in the event of a hasty abandonment of the vehicle, hopefully also grabbing the sat phone.
* Light sticks; wind-up torch; miniature bottles of brandy & whiskey; parachute cord; knife; candle; note pad & pencil; steel firelighter; glass lens; scissors; wire saw; matches; compass; wipes; some field dressings; a couple of Swiss Army emergency camp stoves; two collapsible cups; small plastic sealed container; small SAS Survival Guide; a week’s supply of our medication + copy of prescription.
Really useful box
One of the flat wolf boxes, easily accessible, held plastic containers in which were kept some of the aforementioned items and things like spare matches, lighter fuel, spectacle repair kit, spare batteries, handy hooks, sewing kit, including strong needles and thread for repairs to awning etc, pens, note pads, vacuum flask, additional first aid, cleaning items not used daily, scissors, citronella night lights, etc. Judi usually remembered what was in this box and impressed quite a few people by quickly producing what was needed.
I kept a large hunting knife in the front cubby box and a smaller one in the sun visor on the basis that if I needed them it would be an emergency and therefore needed to be readily to hand – fortunately I didn’t need them as it happens.
Taken with a view to scaring off, in particular, baboons and monkeys that can be bold and, in the case of baboons, dangerous. I also took ball bearings for ammunition but never used them in earnest, preferring to use stones aimed in their general direction instead – a well aimed ball bearing would be quite capable of killing a fair sized animal!
Supposedly good at scaring off baboons and monkeys; doesn’t work.
Securing methods - take plenty of assorted ropes, assorted cable ties, ratchet straps, straps, bungee straps, duct tape, crocodile clips and anything else that could come in handy for securing or repairing anything.
Spares and Tools
For the length of our trip and the miles we were going to do, in extreme conditions, it was reasonable to expect there to be maintenance and repair issues. The vehicle was checked frequently, daily in arduous conditions, and regular servicing was scheduled to coincide with visits to major cities. The conundrum is what to take and what not to take. I took a Haynes Workshop manual and a Land Rover Workshop Manual & Electrical Manual – manuals are also available to download. I took two wolf boxes full of spares* and tools** along with a general tool box and socket set. I also took an electric drill but this did take up a fair amount of space!
*Fuel pressure regulator; fuel filters; oil filters, both types; 2 drive belts; wheel bearings (standard TD5 set-up replaced with adjustable bearings); various oil seals; rear lower link radius arm bushes; half-shafts; full set of coolant hoses; starter motor (having replaced it on Day 18); front coil and shock absorber (courtesy of Day 281); part worn brake pads (should have taken several new ones instead); several boxes of assorted screws; nuts; bolts, etc. etc.; electrical wire; rad weld; exhaust bandage & gum; copper grease; WD40; assorted pop rivets; assorted rubber pipes; copper brake pipe; several rolls of duct tape; assorted bulbs and fuses; spare relays; brake fluid (purchased in South Africa (kept under the counter!)); small quantity engine oil – this list could be inexhaustible!
It is worth taking plenty of spares, space permitting, even if the fitment is beyond the level of one’s competency as they can be supplied to your African mechanic if required. I would now consider taking a spare alternator and ECU.
** In additional to a full set of ‘usual’ tools: Wheel bearing box spanner; 2x 9/16” open-ended and ring spanners (for prop shaft nuts and bolts); double set of metric spanners up to 32 mm; socket set; pipe wrench; large adjustable spanner; various levers; bolt extractors; nut splitter; pullers; torx socket set; hex allen keys; torque wrench; gas soldering iron set; grease gun & grease; pop riveter; pipe flaring tool; jump leads – this list too could be inexhaustible!
It is worth taking some of the specialist tools even if only to lend to your African bush mechanic.