The Overland A2Q

Answers to questions we get about car maintenance, which spares to bring, fuel economy, sponsoring, how to get out of North-East Africa, travel budgets and third party insurance. 

How do you maintain your car?

 

 

First step: before talking about maintenance it is important to know how to use the vehicle beforeyou use it. By knowing the limits of your vehicle and how to adjust it to the right road conditions at the right time (speed, tire pressure, 4×4 settings, reading the track ahead), you will avoid a lot of unnecessary damage. A 4×4 course might be a useful, rewarding investment when you plan to drive to remote places. By walking around the car on a regular basis checking bolts and nuts and checking for sounds while driving, you are more likely to recognize and locate issues in an earlier stage. To keep maintenance easy, prevent corrosion and stop filters from getting rusty and stuck, remove/replace them frequently and rinse your car from top to bottom with fresh water after it has been in contact with salt water.

We service the car by doing an oil change, including filter roughly every 5k. The recommendations on this topic vary a little, but my experience is that you’re good as long as you stay within the ratio of 5-10K. I grease the car on a slightly more regular basis than that I change the oil, just like the air filter. I check and clean the air filter, depending on the road conditions and things like dust, sand, water, salt. You do this by removing the filter and blowing air into it from the inside to the outside with a compressor. As soon as you see that the amount of dust leaving the filter diminishes, you can fit the filter back in its position. Fuel filters we change around 35K. Fuel filters can go much longer though, especially running a dual filter system. In Africa we found they are only being changed when experiencing problems. Problems vary from difficulties with starting to white smoke. Wheel bearings will easily last you up to 100.000 km, so keep this in mind and change those before going on a big trip! Tire rotation is a useful thing to do if you like your tires to last.

You will save costs by doing all of this yourself, but when doing this make sure that every drop of oil spilt or not disposed of in the right way will pollute 100 liters of water! So, please dispose wisely. 

Which spares and tools to bring?

 

When thinking about which spares and tools to bring, remember the urge to over-pack is strong! On a big travel you will always find people who are willing to help. Through trial and error, these are the spares and tools that we would bring on a long trip (specified for our 78 series Land cruiser)

Spares:

Belt kit, replace bearing kit, full radiator hoses and heater kit, oil filter, fuel filters (working with a duel filter system), air filter, 1 liter of engine oil,1 liter of gearbox oil, 1 liter diff oil, fuses, lightbulbs (for all lights). When running tubes: inner tube (and repair set).

Tools: 

Full wrench and socket kit (including the size for your wheel nuts), long arm flexible handle or sliding T bar with long extension, bottle jack, hi-lift jack (make sure you have proper jacking points fitted), small kit with screwdrivers and pliers, long tire levers (for split rims), duck tape/electrical tape, small hand size grease gun, cable ties, hose clamps (different sizes)

What is your fuel economy?

 

All throughout our travels we’ve been keeping a close eye on our fuel consumption. It obviously depends on whether we’ve been 4wding or driving on tarmac, but our average is: between 1L : 7-8 KM  //  13L : 100KM

How to get sponsored?

 

Occasionally we receive questions about how to get sponsors or how to gain or work with sponsors.

The truth is that working with and finding support is pretty tough. I don’t have the key for succes. You’ll need to look at yourself and what it is you’re doing and ask how could this would benefit a potential sponsor. Start with doing research on a potential brand, see how their marketing is done and come up with a plan how working with you could benefit this brand. Knowing people helps! Look around you ,friends are almost more willing to help. Pitch your plan, review your ideas and try to get them and their network to help. Work hard, follow up and don’t give up!

We have been lucky enough to have had support from some amazing brands over the years. This resume helps. You are the commodity. While traveling you are the brand. Work on your social media, get published and keep working on building a strong identity which you’re not afraid to put out there.

For instance: “I started documenting travels in 2010, I’m active on social media and control different social media channels, I am a photographer, worked with some known brands, have been published in national and international press, keep a well maintained up to date website, I work as an ambassador for respected brands while being on a unique overland travel people dream of, but don’t often undertake”. 

What I’m saying is that you’ll have to big yourself up and believe in what you’re doing. Your drive should be your love and passion for what you’re doing, if you’re on the right track succes will be the after effect.

How to get out of North Africa when following the East Coast up?

 

When you follow the East Coast of Africa and go north, you will probably end up in Egypt. And then what…. Nowadays, there are not a lot of options to get out of this vast continent and we have tried to explore all options thoroughly. 

Terms explained:

POD = Port Of Destination

POL = Port Of Loading

THC = Terminal Handling Charges

 

1. Shipping RoRo from Egypt. Which means getting our car on a carrier vessel sailing from Alexandria to Greece or Cyprus. Shipping companies are either Grimaldi or Neptune and usually overlanders use CFS as their agent. They are expensive, but tend to have the most hassle free results as far as we know. Passengers are not allowed to board roro vessel from Alexandria.

Pros: quick, fairly simple

Cons: expensive, unsafe, no control over loading and discharging process. You cannot board on this vessel and will have to fly from Cairo to the destination of choice. When shipping to Cyprus, the ferry to Turkey needs to be added to the costs.

Freight Grimaldi                              USD 300,- (booked directly with Grimaldi and not through CFS)

THC Egypt                                       USD 90,-  

Customs and handeling CFS       USD 600,-

Total Price:                                         USD 990,-

 

2. Crossing the Sinai desert from Egypt to Israel and ship from Israel RoRo to Salerno, Italy with Grimaldi. Passengers are allowed to board roro vessel. (check if your Green Card Insurance covers Israel!)

Pros: quick, simple (to leave Israel) and you can join the car on the vessel. 

Cons: expensive and getting a permit to cross the Sinai with a 4×4 is uncertain and a long process.

Freight Grimaldi                                    USD 625,-

THC                                                         USD 30 ,-

Customs and handeling                      USD 350,-

Total Price:                                               USD 1005,-.

( + 2 Passengers on vessel. USD 395,- )

 

3. Shipping in a container from any port in Egypt to Turkey, Greece, Cyprus or Italy. Price will depend on port of destination and choice of container. Option 1: 20ft Container fits one car, Option 2: 40ft container, will fit 2, Option 3: 40ft High cube, will fit most 4×4 with rooftop tent on the roof.

Pros: Cheap, safe and wide choice in destinations 

Cons: complicated and time consuming process

Freight 40ft dry HC                                                       USD 450,- 

POL THC including: customs and handeling           USD 350,- 

POD THC                                                                        USD 250,-

POD handling,                                                               USD 190,-

POD Custom clearance                                               USD 150,-

(Cost of arriving port will vary.)

Total Price:                                                                         USD 1390,- 

(POD prices are based on shipping to Mersin, Turkey.)

 

In the end we chose option nr. 3. We met fellow travellers in Tanzania who we kept in touch with and later on we traveled Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt together. We decided to ship our cars together in a 40 ft High Cube container from Damietta, Egypt to Mersin, Turkey. 

We chose Damietta because the harbour is smaller and a little less bureaucratic than the other Egyptian ports and Mersin so we could travel most of Turkey still. 

For us it has been a challenge finding the right people in the right positions and we experienced a big language barrier, especially in Turkey. Know that shipping in a container can be an adventure in itself! 

 

! Please, don’t take these prices for granted, they are just meant to be a rough guideline to assist you on your way to Europe. Before shipping make sure you receive all the prices and costs in advance and have these confirmed by mail by your agent. This information and these shipping terms might help you prepare and avoid additional costs ! 

 

If you have shipped on this route yourself and you have an addition to the costs we published please send them to us so we can keep information as correct and up to date as possible. 

What is your budget?

 

We often get the question how much it will cost to travel for such a long time. Usually overland travellers will budget around 50 euros a day for two people and a car through Africa. 

 

These costs include: fuel, accommodation, visas, car maintenance, groceries, car insurance, sim cards/internet. 

These costs exclude: shipping, buying and equipping a vehicle, health care, travel insurance.

We usually spend between 35 and 40 euros a day for two people. Some countries are obviously more expensive than others and we travelled more on a budget than most overlanders.

 

Some good information about budgets and traveling through Africa:

http://norbertsadventures.com/preparations/budget/

How about Insurance?

 

South and East Africa + Europe:

In most countries you need a third party insurance at least. There are two ways to go when traveling through Africa and Europe: 

  1. get an insurance that covers you for all the countries in Africa/Europe

  2. Buy insurance at the border.

Option 1 can be arranged by Alessie. (http://alessie.com/index.htm

Africa/Europe  8 months:  € 994,- 

Africa/Europe  7 months: € 889,- 

Africa 5 months: € 679,- 

Europe 2 months: € 364,- 

(quoted to us by Alessie July 2015 for a 2001 Toyota Landcruiser)


Option 2
 is definitely the cheaper one.

Africa:

Most countries in the Southern part of Africa sell third party insurance at the border.

By the time you get to Zimbabwe or Zambia there is the option to buy a Comesa Yellow Card insurance. It works the same as the Green Card in Europe and it covers you all the way up to Sudan. We got our Yellow Card in Zambia and it works as follows:

You get your third party insurance for Zambia at the border. You then have to go the insurance company that sold you the third party insurance to be able to get the Comesa Insurance. 

Your Comesa will start in the next country and works on top of your Zambian insurance, so you will have to extend your Zambian insurance for the period you want your Comesa. 

There is a price difference up till 4 countries I believe, after that it is all the same price, so thick as many boxes as you possibly intend of driving through.

And yes, it says that it is valid in Egypt, but no, they will probably not accept it at the border…..

Turkey:

If you are traveling with a non European car like us, you will either have to have a Green Card insurance (including the Asian part of Turkey) or buy a separate third party insurance for Turkey.

Green Card for non European car: cheapest offer we found was with Tourinsure who quoted us 295 euros for 2 months. Turkish third party insurance: 70 euros for one month.

Europe:

When driving from Turkey to Bulgaria you can buy Green Card Insurance at the border: 70 euros for 3 months. 

 

Travel Hacks: the three C’s of Travel

2 years and 9 months ago we left the Netherlands behind and started our great overland journey! You can prepare all you want before the start of your journey, but what you really need or how to make things easy while being on the road, you will only find out when you are already traveling. We’ve decided to give you the chance to get a little head start! Below you will find our 3C’s (Car, Cooking and Camping hacks). Some of our tips, tricks and camping hacks you’ll probably want to steal from us for your next trip!
 
Car:
Stay Organized: You’re dealing with a tonne of crap when you’re camping. We found out that it’s really easy to lose stuff, which is really hard to replace once you’re on the road. Having a well thought-out system for where you put stuff in the car means you don’t risk losing things. You want to think of some kind of method where things are accessible but not in the way.
We found that the key for us is strong, foldable plastic crates. We use a cabinet holding 4 crates in the shape of a block and our drawer system holds another 4. We have one crate extra, stored in a folded position which makes the system dynamic. Someone invites you inside for a night? load some clothing, your pillow, toothbrush and favorite shampoo in the spare crate and you’re ready to go. Not needing the spare crate? use it as stepladder, table, workout bench or quick seat if it’s getting too crowded around the campfire that you just made with your newly learned fire starters (find below). It happend to us that we needed to do a 4wd recovery, or that the car needed to go to the workshop but the mechanical bridge could not carry the car’s weight. No worries, just quickly stack the crates next to the car and you pull out an easy 300kg of weight in supplies, spares, tools and kitchen stuff in no time.
 

Clothespins/clothes-pegs: forgetting things is quite human right? fresh cup-a-coffee on the bonnet in the morning, fuel caps on top of the fuel pump where you just got gas, your favorite pair of thongs at your previous camping spot on the beach? It will help if you stay organized but you can not see everything. For the things that we keep on forgetting and can’t directly see we’ve marked clothespins with a permanent marker. 3 Plastic, bright colored pegs you’ll find marked with; “tires low”, “hubs on”, and “Benzine for stove”. In normal conditions they’ll stay hidden behind the sun visor but when one of these 3 is active you’ll find it on a central place in the middle of the dashboard.
 

Cooking:
Plastic sealable containers: To: Save leftovers, pack the fridge efficiently, keep food from uninvited quests, keep products fresh, cook and prep food for a couple of days. store nuts and bolts, store electronics, make omelets in, prepare pancake mix (shaking with the lid on). We’ve tested quite a couple before investing in a load of different sizes of containers. The brand ClipFresh is by far our favorite!
 

Foldable water bladders: We are using good quality 10L foldable water bladders for fresh water. Amazing, but even better because we don’t only use them for storage of drinking water! They are black so put them in the sun for a little and transfer it in to a warm outdoor shower, fill them to a certain level and use them in the fridge to fill the empty space and get the fridge to run more efficient & have cold water to drink and then there are those born with cold feet. Fill one of the bladders with hot water and throw it in the bottom of your sleeping bag before bedtime. Awesome!
 
Cooking efficiency trick: What for; Using one stove for preparing a multi dish meal, trying to save gas, or seeing the sunset before dinner while everything is ready and cooked? How: After preparation roll your hot pots and pans in a towel or wool blanket before putting them in your down sleeping bag! For instance, we cook chicken curry on the stove, but we want to make rice to go with it. Using one stove, the rice will be cold by the time the rest of the dish is ready. A good way to keep the rice warm is to wrap a towel around your hot pan before stuffing it in your sleeping bag, blanket or swag. This way your sleeping bag will work as a insulator, it will keep on simmering while you cook the curry on the stove or enjoy this wonderful sunset. Even uncooked rice, potatoes or pasta will finish cooking in a blanket after it has been cooked for a short while on a stove.In South Africa we even saw a sort of cushion in the camping stores, especially made for slow cooking dishes after cooking! see: www.wonderbagworld.com
 
Fresh bread: Fresh bread is hard to find and fresh brown bread is definitely one of my personal favorites. This is why we make it ourselves: Make a small campfire, Mix flower with water and yeast, let it rise, turn it in to a ball and put it in a Dutch oven(heavy metal pan), put some hot burning coals on and underneath the oven, wait 45 minutes and your fresh bread is ready! Interested? find the full recipe here
 
Cup-A-Tea: nice to keep you hydrated and warm, even better if you throw a couple of washed unboiled eggs to boil with it. Makes a nice in between snack.
 
Eggs: Having a problem keeping eggs unbroken or simply not having place in the fridge? why not storing them broken? A small empty water bottle will hold 8 eggs for the perfect omelet!
Looking for a snack? Popcorn works great on the campfire and pizza is easy to make in a dutch oven. Find the recipes in our blog
 
Camping:

Fire starters: reduce, reduce and recycle! Our used cooking oil goes, cooled down in a plastic container which is filled with toilet paper, napkins, or small pieces of cotton. It will soak up the oil and once soaked it will work as a great firestarter.
 
Ducktape: Wrap ducktape from the roll thickly around your water, fuel or whatever bottle. instead of having to use the roll this way saves space and might save your life one time.
 
Saltwater: Do you never really feel clean after washing with salt water? Helga says; “After washing in salt water I know I’m clean but my hair feels like rope and the salt still clings to my body” “When travelling in WA I met an old Australian couple that had been travelling along the coast for years and were still catching the occasional wave. They taught us that you don’t have to leave your wild camp spot to feel fresh. Just buy a bottle of Selsun, anti-dandruff shampoo. Wash yourself with this and then dry yourself. You’ll find out when you are dry almost all of the salt has somehow washed off” Selsun is a product sold at your local Chemist. Chemist Warehouse sells a bottle for $5. We can’t explain the magic behind this but we do know that Selsun contains Selenium Sulphide 1%. Other antidandruff shampoos like Head & Shoulders for example does not contain this and so won’t work.

Overlanders travel advice

Today 2 years and 8 months ago we left the Netherlands to discover the world. We crossed borders, crossed deserts, slept next to crocodiles, been in a couple of road accidents, got stuck, recovered, got stuck again, solved breakdowns, drove through when police stopped us twice, got chased by police, sweet-talked officers for hours but never payed a bribe, made lots of friends, slept in dodgy hotels, camped in tremendous winds, got chased away, got sick, broke a foot, had to flee for ticks as big as nuts, got attacked by Australian bull ants, mosquitos, buffalos, bees, sandflies, bats and elephants, got harassed by kids, pushed donkeys and cows off the road and did not wash for weeks.
 

We just arrived in country number #26 on this amazing overland journey and decided to collect some travel advice for everyone who likes to go camping, is thinking about doing an overland journey, likes exploring, spend time in the bush or just likes a good read-up. Don’t see this as the holy grail of overlanding. Everyone needs to make his own journey. It’s just a short collection of tips we picked up having been on the road for so long.
 
One: Don’t plan too much in advance. Be flexible, everything changes so fast on earth. We experienced this traveling through Northern territory hitting the wet season; Roads turn into seasonable hazards, streams turn into rivers and being outdoors loses its fun. You’ll have to be flexible, adjust or wait. We also experienced this traveling the African continent; political situations, public tension, closed borders. You’ll just have to deal with it although this could mean having to adjust your travel itinerary. Plan a general route, be flexible and let the road and your experiences guide you. Take the advice of others, but bear your own abilities and desires in mind.
 
Two: Less is more….the urge to overpack is strong. Definitely take less than you think you’ll need, except wisely selected spare parts, tools, and (in certain parts) fuel + water. Always carry back-up food if you’re away from civilization but definitely don’t try to carry months of stuff…plan to use local sources to re-supply. We carry a week’s worth of non perishable, dry-freeze food, (light, small and lasting) which we keep separate for emergencies. A Water filtration system like MSR or an additive like Katadine helps with getting safe drinking water from local sources.
 
Three: Keep everything as simple as possible and don’t overcomplicated things. Packing, unpacking, setting up sometimes can be fun but also gets boring and a simple waste of precious travel, explore and relax time. Don’t bring anything that take too much time to set up as it will either stay in its permanent setup or you’ll never use it.
 
Four: It’s all about the people you meet. Often the country’s highlights are the people and their extreme generosity. Read up on the cultures you pass through. Don’t be afraid to stay with locals. Go to the museum. Talk to people. Don’t drive through in a bubble of your own culture. Have faith in the people you’ll meet along the way, it might by times be a little overwhelming (Pakistan, India, Africa) but the world is full of beautiful people who want to help you and share time with you. The interruptions ARE the journey!
 

Five: On an overland journey using a vehicle? Take care of your vehicle and it will take care of you. Take records of the distance you are traveling and the service history of the vehicle. Check or replace things at certain intervals. We are servicing our car every 5K. Being on the road: check for loose bolts on rough dirt tracks and walk around the car regularly to check its condition and your load. Keep weight down and low in the vehicle, this prevents you from rolling over. Take good (self) recovery gear, you can’t and sometimes just won’t rely on others to save you. But first prevention from getting stuck is not getting stuck, engage 4×4 on time, know the abilities of your vehicle and turn back when necessary. Especially if your trip is through Africa, plan your traveling days with short distances, which completely removes the stress of the drive. Travel slow, prevent accidents and see more!
 

Collaborations

I am open to new collaborations in 2019.
For an overview of my previous work,
please visit the Projects page.

For more information about us 
check out the About page.

If you have any questions or an inquiry,
feel free to contact us.

Contact details

Rinus Hartsuijker
Groningen
E-mail: contact@rinushartsuijker.com
Chamber of Commerce (KVK): 69508410