And so after 107 days on the road which equated to 16,168 miles or 26,202km we had reached the most southerly point of mainland Africa called Cape Augulas. It felt weird to be at such a geographical extreme having got there overland in a 19 year old vehicle.
We sat for a while staring out to sea knowing that Antarctica lay far off beyond the horizon, but after a few waves had crashed against the rocks below our feet, it was time to continue the journey to Cape Town where we would meet up with Joachim for the first time since we towed him to Nairobi.
Joachim himself had only arrived back two days previously, and so was still unpacking when we arrived. After welcoming us into his house in Milnerton and introducing us to his wife Tine, we sat down to dinner discussing the different routes we had taken and telling tales of our differing journeys.
We knew that before we could get up the west coast that we would need to get the Landrover looked at by a mechanic to see if it was in good enough condition. We knew that two of the UV joints needed replacing, and that the rear shocks that we had bought in Khartoum were now broken as they were just cheap replacements.
Joachim took us to a Landrover specialist who he knew from when preparing his San Yung 4x4 for the trip, and we found two used shock absorbers and a series of bushes and washers which the garage donated to us for free. Then the mechanic gave the Landrover a quick once over, and explained that the front propeller shaft would need replacing, that we needed a new rear differential oil seal and that all four wheel bearings should be serviced. Coupled with the fact that the new fuel tank was still not sealed correctly and slowly dripping from the side, along with many other minor fixes being required, we knew that we didn’t have enough funds to repair the Landrover and head up the west coast.
In effect, our trip was then over and we would need to ship the Landrover back to the UK. Although slightly disappointed, we had both agreed along the way that to drive all the way from the UK to Cape Town in a 19 year old Landrover like we did would be an achievement, and that if we got as far as Cape Town we would be happy. It was just a shame we didn’t have he funds to return home by land, but on the west coast of Africa we would have needed to spend £1000/€1100 just on visas.
The distance travelled from Wrexham to Cape Town was double what we had planned and accounted for, but we would never regret taking the detours to see some of the amazing places we did see along the way. With us driving on some really terrible roads through Africa, the technical problems that we had with the Landrover on the way had mounted up, but not once had we broken down. As they say, a Landrover is always sick, but never dead, and with the engine still in brilliant condition having done 140,000miles/225,000km given time and money back home, it will be back on the road again soon.
The blog will continue slowly over the next three weeks as we ship the Landrover back to the UK and get the chance to have a look around Cape Town, but there wont be too much to write about from now on having already written more words in the blog than my university diploma thesis.
- David Jennings & Nathan Topham
- Wrexham, Wales, United Kingdom
- For the past 5 years, me and my best friend Nathan have talked about the possibility of travelling around the world by land and sea, and so finally we have a route, savings and time to set off around the world. What we are doing is living out a dream, a dream we share with many people worldwide, a dream of travelling this vast, diverse, beautiful and interesting planet, but unlike the many others who keep it as a dream, we have the tenacity to make this dream a reality.