Sunken international Ferry or washing line
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.

Truck versus road roller!

Truck versus road roller!

It was a fine day, and the road was at least a road. A wide well graded road, which was a distinct improvement from some of the previous impersonations of a road, which were barely a track, and in some places barely passable.

16 Bomag BW220AD A Tandem Vibratory Roller something like this but with a rudimentary cab. Photo from the Historical Construction Equipment Association. was beginning to pick up, or otherwise said as, there was more than one vehicle a day, even one an hour, as we travelled further into Kenya. A bright orange slash of gravel through the verdant green of the rain forest on either side. The road was raised on a slight embankment as we approached a slow-moving large road roller. A bus was coming the other way, but there was plenty of room on the wide road and the ruts had been removed with the last grader treatment.

I applied the breaks to slow the truck, intending to allow the bus clear passage before overtaking the road roller.
Nothing happened. We did not slow. The distance to the road roller was shortening quickly.

Camels in Niger
Camels and riders we met in the Sahara Desert

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...

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.

Spur-winged Geese
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.




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 The flag counter below is for my original travelogue, which is slowly being replaced by this one, but can still be found here.

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News Flash

Repairs following hosting move


Spending some time this May repairing links and photos damaged in the move to the new website host. Particularly the articles transferred form the previous travelogue to this, the current Travel website. 

Change of host Sept 2023


Change of host Sept 2023


In the begining of August 2023 I transfered my sites, including this one from 123-reg to IONOS. It was meant to be a simple task. However, that was to to be the case. The reason for the move was primarily the hugh increase in price that 123-reg was applying regarding email boxes. Previously, the upto 500 of the boxes were included in the various hosting packages I had. Now they were going to charge for each mailbox based on size, and as far as I could make out, this was going to cost me nearly £2,000. This was not acceptable, and I did not get satisfactory answers from support. So I turned off all the auto renews and stated to move sites and domains accross to IONOS.

Travel data problems


Travel data problems

This is where it starts to get a little technical.

The site is built on a content management system, CMS, using Joomla. Joomla is moving forward and version 3.10.?? is being discontinued. Future developments are for version 4.??

Similarly, PHP 7 is being replaced with PHP 8.

Part of the migration is relatively simple, I have already changed to a new template which works on the new platforms.

However, some of the helper applications, which work within Joomla are not yet ready.

Fabrik is one of those applications, if fact a significant 'Joomla Custom Website Application Builder'.

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 disabled now.