We are very happy in the car and our full size double. Its actaully better to sleep in than a normal double. You don't fall out if you get to the edge so it feels bigger. It also have probably 5cm (more maybe) of additional width but i'm not sure what the window to window width inside the back of the 110 is.
On the humid nights the boat fan is a must as it keeps the air moving. We can have the sides open as we have stainless nets on them and also on the rear door winding windows. We've fitted a hanging mosquito net so we can actaully have everything open. We've just purchased another boat fan (they aren't cheap !) but we're having fun trying to decide where to put it. Its a Hella Turbo and the old one is a Jet. The jet draws 300mA and the Turbo 600mA on full speed. It doesn't make a dent in the 50Ah leasure battery. The constant noise also help drown out all other outside noise so It makes the noisiest places OK to sleep.
With the fan on It worries me a bit as we cannot hear outside but if we are locked up its unlikely something could happen that wouldn't wake me up even with the fan. The Alpine windows are our side security as we can sit up in bed and see almost 180degrees at each side. Julie looks out the back window and I can jump into the front. Not that we've ever had to.
If we had to do the window tints again we'd get blackout on the sliders and rear winding windows, the alpines in 5% (as they are now) and the rear with blackout at the bottom and a strip on 5% at the top. We've also got blackout curtains on all the windows and these are supprisingly good for insulation and condensation protection. The sleeping bags don't touch the windows and the curtains go all the way round the bed so it stops any dampness on the bags.
We bought the new fan because if the Jet breaks were are in real trouble. You couldn't sleep in the car if its hot without one. The floor gets hot and when its 40c you need to park early otherwise the car is at 60c. The floor gets to 65c on a bad day and 50c normally. If its cool the floor gets to 30c so it helps keep it warm in the car but we have the diesel heater (Webasto Airtop 2000).
We like being in the car more than a bed in a hotel. We can camp almost anywhere and it just looks like a parked car. We camped in the VA Waterfront Mall in Cape Town and along the Nile in Aswan and had no problems. You just need to choose the spot. Too quiet and we might have issues so if theres a few parked cars around we just park up. We do stand out obviously but most of the attention is on the many flags on the back door.
Mechanically the car is good. Testament to changing almost everything before we left. Things that weren't changed have failed. We'd not had a single failiure that stopped us and in fact we've not had a single failiure other than the clutch slave seal that meant I had to fix it right then. Although the shocks were changed we could have still driven. Almost everything is maintenance based on normal visual checks.
We've had a clutch slave seal go in Kenya. I got a mouthfull of Dot4 from the housing.
We keep breaking rear shocks. Top ring usually. We now have some BOGE 130 rears in the spares box as the Bilstien rubbish is leaking on one side but the Armstrong on the other is going strong . I put this down to being heavy and a weak anti roll bar although we are not sure.
Stuck piston on front brake caliper but just needed cleaning. >400c on the wheel !!!! (stripped entire hub and re-greased on side of road)
Wheel bearings keep coming loose but they get checked and sorted all the time. One is worse than the others so i might change the stub axle.
Transfer box is a pain in the ass leaking so I had it sleeved in Cape Town. The centre diff lost its thrust washers. We've had the transbox out 3 times. I wonder if some very poor EP oil in Sudan affected the washers.
Changed the airbags in the rear for 130 helpers in Tanzania as the airbag mount was broken, as they all do. Thanks Airlift....utter rubbish.
Changed the rear anti roll bar UJs. First we made new bushes using my dremel and some spare old shock absorber bushes.
Changed rear drive members and shafts . They were worn and not changed before we left.
Changed a rear prop UJ twice as its not greasing properly so was wearing. Its still not right and its a Hardy Spicer. The Allmakes ones seem better as they have a metal seal on the cup. The Hardy's have a rubber one and it doesn't seem to keep the grease in.
Wore some holes in the snorkle pipe, sealed with aluminium airconditioning tape.
Leaking pipe on the power stearing res. New pipe clip but still leaking slightly. Needs sorting.
Cap on clutch master cylinder broke. Used the spare.
Changed the water pump as it was leaking a bit. Used the spare.
Changed the fuel lift pump as it was leaking a bit. Used the spare.
Changed the headlights to the other side ones and stuck with them even in Africa where they dive the same as us.
Change the oil every 5000 miles / filters every other change but often every
Change the transbox oil every 7000 miles.
Change the axle oils every 10,000 miles.
Check and grease about every week (or two).
If I had to say (repeat other peoples wisdom) what made the difference is everything on the car is standard kit. Its the best advice to other travellers I can offer. The other would be to take a Land Cruiser if you don't want to carry spares as theres 3 dealers in every village !
The only thing that wasn't standard was the crappy Big Bore shocks and these were a real problem. We ended up putting dropped shock mounts on the rear and normal length shocks. The shocks run smack in the middle of travel now but they are still breaking. A few have said we should go back to normal mounts and normal shocks but even carrying 2950kg we seem to be running with a lift. We will never fathom this problem. Maybe the BOGE HD 130 shocks will last the rest of the trip.
Tyres are BFG AT and are flawless. The older BFG MTs split but the newer ones do not by all accounts. East Coast ATs. West Coast MTs are a must. In South Amercia we shall see....I've just got new ATs.
Set off in October and miss the rains all the way down the East Coast. Arrive in May in South Africa.
Just like the film. See the action live....
The wait in Port Elizebeth,,, which we were not told about makes me angry. We could have saved a LOT of money had we been told !!!! 10 days of hotels to be precise and $400 USD !!!! We paid for this and would expect that this little snippet of info would hve been passed on. We were in PE and came back here to load !!!!!! We could have stayed in PE !!!!!! and saved money....ARGH!!!!
Track Matilda from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth
Track Matilda from Port Elizabeth to Buenos Aires
You might need to go to the second or third page on the links above to see the current leg of the boats sailing schedule. Using the right hand bottom page selection button to do this. Send me a message if you have problems.
The container is MOAU670593 if you want to track it here. Pretty pictures and everything.
We've managed to find a hostel in BA for a princely sum. Hopefully its OK. My trusted trip advisor says it is but you can't tell sometimes as they all seem to give everything loads of stars for no reason. Lets see what a real review reveals. Its not too late to cancel and we are still looking.
We've made contact with the shipping agent in BA and after the panic of yesterday I hope everything goes smoothly at that end.
I've forgotten to mention quite a few things on the blog recently and its been family asking questions thats reminded me.
We got back the £12,000 for the carnet we managed to swap over in cape town SARS office. The RAC in the UK were actually pretty quick so well done to them. We DHL'd the carnet back for a whopping £10 and it took longer to get from Heathrow to Bristol than from Cape Town to Heathrow. The delivery was a special rate. We used the DHL office just down the road from the SARS office.
We left my portable Hard Drive in the UK by accident.
This was UPS'd back to me using Interparcel.co.uk and a phenominal service. Picked up by UPS literally 30mins after it was booked for collection from my mothers house around 3pm and in Cape Town by 11am the next day. This time it was £35.
Matilda is in the container as you can see from the photos. We had to pay for shipping va wire transfer from the UK. £25 of my money paying for them to send my money in Rand over here with a really crappy exchange rate. So not only do they charge you for the service they make a fortune from the exchange rate. Bloody banks....anyhow good service and nice people on the phone.
To get here in the container with a door height of 2.28meters we needed to remove the roof top jerry cans and gas bottle. This got us down to 2.32 or something so we then had to let a lot of air out of the tyres. With three on the rear step she went in the container fine. Pumped up the tyres and tucked her in.
Not two hours after we loaded her they changed the ship from one that arrives in BA, Argentina on the 11th Decmeber to one that arrives on the 18th. This is way too late for our current plans so I complained and after a frantic few hours wondering what we would do in BA for a month, they moved it back. Thank goodness !! Thanks to the shipping company for saveing my Xmas and giving me two hours of stress.
Matilda is on the MOL Grandeur from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth and then the MOL Gratitude from PE to BA. (we hope!) Departs here on the 19th Nov and arrives BA on the 11th Dec. If you are shipping is quicker from PE. Much quicker but we've only just figured this out and really we should have been told by our suppliers. More on the entire shipping process after its all happened.
We've been to see Bourne Legacy. Wow. Really enjoyed it. Strangely the new James Bond film does come out here until the end of November so unless a miracle takes place and its on in Argentina in English we won't get to see it at the cinema. We'll just have to illegally download it because of the silly release dates ! Here is me willing to pay for it as well. Are you listening Mr MGM?
We've rented a car in lieu of Matilda. I hope shes not the jealous type. Its a one litre Kia Picanto. Since both my Mother and Step Mother have one of these, it seems to run in the family. Its not bad although the boot is small. We can fit the case in the boot,,,just. The cases we used form coming back from England are being recycled.
We found a bed a breakfast without the breakfast (cheaper that way) for 400rand per night. Its got a king size bed so we are happy. Its really near some shops and bars and stuff in an area we now know very well. Its in Table View near Dolphin Beach. Its walking distance from Ocean Basket and/or Cattle Barron. Des and Hennie.....only three nights left.....
All the receipts we have from stuff we have purchased are in the SARS office waiting to be stamped. Hopefully we can claim back the VAT. I'm not holding much hope on this as they have some impossible rules that I cannot meet. If we were flying home with the car as baggage we get all the tax back in the airport but since Matilda is off to Argentina I don't think they will give us it back and we will have to get some stamps in Argentina and pay import tax there before they will pay us it back here. This will be next to impossible as the stuff is all fitted to the car so is tax exempt there so how can we pay tax there on something now included on the carnet. Watch this space....
A few productive days!
We've been back to the Garage to have the transfer box looked at again so they took it out again.....the thing was leaking again. Looks like the O ring on the inter shaft was duff. It was meant to be a VERY good one but looks like it wasn't. Anyhow its changed and it was all done for free. Wilson the box "fundi" or expert was on hand to sort it out. The're a nice bunch at Roverland.
We managed to get somewhere to stay for 400rand a night near to restaurants and stuff so we can go out in the evening. The lady did us a good deal as its normally more expensive. Why can't all hotels and B&Bs do that? Its either you stay empty of you make money with a discounted rate. I know what i'd rather have if I ran a B&B, someone staying and make some money.
We also managed to get another fan for insode the car. This is our only means of keeping cool on those hot nights so we have got another. They arn't cheap! They are designed for Yachts/Boats and have very efficient motors that arvery reliable. The one we have has been run for at least 100 nights for 10 hours. It hardly makes any impact on the car battery as it only takes 300mA. The new one is a little bigger and draws 550mA. These are the things I spend my days thinking about. Sad I know. The place in Cape Town is C-Dynamics for all your boating electrical needs. To an overlander this means all stuff we use in the cars like Gel batteries and LED lights and stuff. They were really helpful. The fn was an OK price considering. Cheaper than the UK but not a cheap as they are in ther USA. Worth it for a nights sleep though.
We need to start making preparations for leaving. We need to decide what we are taking and get it packed. Once the car is in the container thats it, we are on our own. This is on the list for tomorrow. Thursday we go looking for a retal car to get us around once we load Matilda. Do we leave Dash in the container with Matilda for company. I think we should.
So we are back in Cape Town at the camp site where we've stayed quite a few nights already. Problem is we lose the car next Friday. What do we do then? The current idea is rent an apartment for nearly a week. Actually its only four nights thinking about it. Then when we get to Argentina we need to do the same....In Spanish ! Julie took spanish lessons before we left. Lets see what she remembers.
We also need to rent a car here which is no big problem to the budget however the accomodation, it seems, may be....The backpacker places are more than a hotel. What are they thinking? I'm sure we can get a flat for ~300rand...it doesn't have to be pretty. 400 at a push.....
We've not taken any photos recently as we are, to be honest, sick of South Africa and want to leave. Its not that we don't enjoy it here and all the people we have met but its just that we've been here TOO LONG ! Arn't we meant to be travelling? I bet you're getting bored of the blog too. You want to see some South American scenery and stuff. Well me to !
A lot of updates on the shipping with photos of loading the car we hope and info on prices and who we used will come later. I will try to make a page just dedicated to shipping so you can use our experience as a guide in case you are foolish enough to attempt the same.
So we've finally booked the shipping to South America (Cape Town to Buenos Aires) with stuffing (loading the car into) the container on the 16th November. The car should be in SAm by the 21st December. The cost for this little excursion for Matilda is $5,200 USD. OMG ! (about £3400)
Flights are booked to get us to Argentina a few days later on Qatar Air. I'm begining to regret this already as thier customer service is shocking and the flight is 30hours via Doha. It stops in Cape Town, Joburg, Doha, Sao Pualo and BA. The connection in Doha is 55 mins....so we will miss the connection, i'm sure of this but they say 45mins is plenty. The other stops are for picking up people so all included in the 30 hours we will be in the air for 27 of them. Another OMG !!!
We've also had to book another flight in SAm due to the silly airline rule that you cannot fly on a single ticket. You must have a return or a ticket somewhere else. Theres no way round this as this is the same thing that happened to us when we came back to South Africa. They wouldn't let us come. In reality they blame immigration and immigration just don't care as long as you have enough money to get you home or out of their country at some point. Even a bus ticket is good enough but seemingly its not good enough for the airlines. The cost of the flight is £920 for us two to Buenos Aires and then the flights we won't use is another £400. We can refund the one we will not use 100% which is why its a bit expensive for the 150mile flight from BA to Montevideo. So take note that Argentinian Airways do a 100% refundable ticket.
The last few days we've completed our detour around the garden route and are now going back to Cape Town to rent a car and get an apartment or hostel for the duration till we fly. Once we get to SAm we will also need an apartment or hostel or something to do....more money. Total is ~£6000,,,, anyone want to sponsor us ??? We've collected £400 for charity so I think we deserve it. Oh wait thats another overland team, not us. I feel like another rant over others that do charity and I again point out that you MUST collect more for the charity than you spend on the trip. Rant over.
We met Kobus and Alett in Port Elizabeth for some drinks and food. We also borrowed their shower in their apartment. Thanks again guys.
My stress levels are high as we have a lot to do before we can ship. Lots of stuff to sort out like paying the locals in Rand via bank transfer from the UK.
Last night we slept in a Truck Stop just like the ones you've all seen. It wasn't too bad actually and half the price of any of the rubbish camp sites in the area. The showers were hot and the toilets were OK. A bit grubby but OK for the price. What else do you need in a campsite? It was in walking distance of the 24 hour store and fast food outlet (choice of two!). The entertainment was the drunk truck drivers in the TV lounge. I had a conversation with two of them. Well actually they had a conversation with me as I didn't understand 50% of the first one and any of the later one at all. Its a mix of Afrikaans and English and usually starts as Afrikaans and turns to English when the reaslise i'm not. In the case of the latter conversation I can honestly say I didn't know what language he was speaking. Drunkaans possibly.
Tonight we sleep on the street as the campsite is, to be honest, just too awful to stay in when you have to pay for the privilege. Port Elizabeth is actually an OK place and the wind has finally let up so the weather is good. Finally. I'm not sure how long it will last as after having almost a year with good weather we have sort of got used to it.
Picture of the bungie bridge Henning was supposed to jump off. He didn't.
I'm going to try to post a fuel costing sheet on the costs page. Lets see how that goes. Weebly is rubbish at cut and pasting.
So yesterday we finally met up with Henning (and Fridah) in George. We had some food and chatted about our adventures. We also delivered his medication, maps and stickers he'd ordered whilst "online shopping" at the "overlandbirds shop". I didn't know we had a shop on our site but we must have one as we had all sorts of stuff he'd ordered off us !!
After the long anticipation of meeting up we departed again this morning. Following the long tradition we camped on the street outside his hotel. The hotel wasn't willing to let us sleep in the car parked in their carpark but was willing for us the park the car in their carpark and sleep in Hennings room for free. I can't see the difference. A parked car is a parked car, even if we are not inside it. Anyhow its their choice. So we slept directly outside the hotel in the car almost 10 meters from where we wanted to sleep.
The shipping quotes are coming together and it won't be long till we depart Africa for South America. We are planning on leaving on or around the 20th of November. If all plans fail we have a mind to drive back up to the middle east of go to India via Iran. We've also had an idea about getting a round the world air ticket so we don't get lumbered with no return ticket in South America. It maylso be cheaper, as daft as that sounds even to me.
Name that bird....the one in the last photo.
Major update on the cost page with the 12 Month cost analysis. Our trip in numbers is slightly amended.
Still waiting for a few shipping quotes buwe have another back and its much more than the others.
Julie is formulating some other information which may be usefull to other travellers. Fuel pricing for example.
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