Sunken international Ferry or washing line

The Khartoum Affair by Martin Crabb


The problems of overland travel

February March 1979

The report below is as written as it does not need any enhancement or explanation other than to say it is Encounter Overland swinging into action to solve another problem. Behind the scenes action. Truth is stranger than fiction.

All this transpired in the 32 days between 16th February 1979 and 20th March for Rein with his EMs locked in Tanzania without passports, with Peter, (another Leader Driver on the same trip), and to 28th March 1979 overall, a massive 40 days.

Source of report. Typos corrected and some context information added.

Camels in Niger

Wolfgang - An EM's perspective

Wolfgang - An Expedition Member's perspective.

In his own words

As Ivan asked me to contribute an article to the website, I had no idea what to add to Ivan`s thoroughly researched legends. As an alternative I thought about out lining my personal motivation and a subjective retrospective view about our mutual journey.

After finishing school, together with two classmates, we bought an old VW van and travelled to Morocco, I was 19 years old and I had got my driving licence 6 months ago. Everything went right. Only, because of our a bit “vulnerable” vehicle we did not dare leaving the tarmac roads and so we missed the real desert feeling. But the desire to go further into the desert was planted. Then came the years of study, exam, marriage with 9 weeks honeymoon, travelling crisscross in the U.S. by Greyhound ( 99 days for 99 dollars). Then I had to do my military service. Back then in Germany it was 15 months. As a dentist or physician we were supposed to accomplish the service in our profession as dentist or physician. That was not so bad , we could make our first practical experiences in this function without spoiling our future professional reputation. ( I should apologise to some of my “soldier” patients). The military rank was corresponding to a captain and the salary a major`s. I never held a weapon and most of the time I slept at home. On top I got the chance to acquire the driving licence for lorries What would follow? To found a family, establish a practice and work there for the next 35 years...

Spur-winged Geese

Lunch at a waterhole

Surprise visitor for lunch

March 1979

 It was lunchtime on a nice warm day, with no sign of rain. The rainy season was a while off with less than 5mm predicted for the whole month. After about 30 miles the guide pointed for us to drive into a small area of trees so that we at least had some cover. He knew of course that there was a waterhole hidden on the far edge of the trees. There were a few birds at the waterhole but unfortunately no game. Spur-winged Goose (Plectropterus gambensis) in the photo and egrets off camera.  Definitely none of the 'Big 5'. Still the birds were worth a photo.

Europe EO 79 SB



The beginning of our Encounter Overland trip in 1979 from London to Johannesburg.

Great Britain

 The truck had been prepared for a year away and given a new coat of paint at Encounter Overland's workshop in Bedfordshire. The the mechanical provisions had been wrapped in waterproof material and packed into military boxes.

A trip to Bedford and the shopping done, and all packed securely into the back of the truck. The trailer prepped and loaded.

EO Scrapbook Wren Park truckEO Scrapbook - Wren Park, a truck prepared and ready, but not ours, just an example to see inside, before the cover is put on.

A final check and all was ready.

The day before departure we drove the truck down to London and stayed the night in the Company's flat, which could have been at 12 Egerton Gardens, just a few minutes walk away from the office, well about 30 mins. I have no recolection of the address, but found it as one of EO's addresses.

On into Niger


Tam to the border

Algeria 20 Feb 1979 to 9 Mar 1979

9 Mar 1979

We left Tamanrasset and headed south. No more near solitude.  We are now on the main North South road through the middle of Africa, now referred to as the Trans Saharan Highway, the N1. A Transcontinental road according to the Michelin Map of the time. That said, it is still not a motorway or anything like it. We traveled the same route as even larger trucks than ours, and even artics. It was not a simple case of following a blacktop road, in a long convoy. It was an earth track according to the Michelin Map. 

News Flash

Refresh 2021


Site refresh Easter 2021

I decided to give the site a bit of a refresh over Easter 2021 and install a new template and some additional functions. One of the things I didn't like about the old site was the delay in text appearing which probably meant some people left before the content appeared. This has been corrected now.