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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.

Read more: The Khartoum Affair by Martin Crabb

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.

Read more: Lunch at a waterhole

Hoggar Mountains


Not the prisoner of Assekrem more the hermitage of Charles de Foucauld

Algeria 20 Feb 1979 to 9 Mar 1979

2 to 6 March 1979 

After the splendid Djanet and the prehistoric rock art we set off back to Bordj El Haouas skirting the Tassili N'Ajjer National Park. Retracing our steps for 140 km before turning again towards Tamanrasset. From one set of superlatives to another.

Read more: Hoggar Mountains

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. 

Read more: On into Niger

Camping in the desert


Camping in the desert is special

February - March 1979

Driving through the wilderness of the desert, and the day is coming to an end. Time to start looking out for somewhere to camp for the night. There is no one to ask permission of and no field to drive to the corner of. Select a spot off the track, but close enough and firm enough so that you can easily get back to it in the morning. Sand mants after breakfast is not ideal. World wide advise, not in a dry river bed. People have drowned crossing dry river beds with flash floods washing the vehicle away. Imagine the catastrophe if camped in a river bed subject to a flash flood.

Read more: Camping in the desert

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