Time to travel and explore far off places is fleeting when pre-occupied with a job, grabbing a week away here or there to delve into the culture of distant places is brief at best. So when I was confronted with six spare months between jobs my imagination started running wild. I immediately set about planning several hare-brained schemes, as my family looked on holding their reservations and waiting to see how things would unfold. A family safari and the infectious enthusiasm of our guide Simo swayed my final decision to Africa.

A continent of vast expanse, cultures and climates much of Africa had existed to me as a large blank spot on a map itching to be explored. This overland trip provided the perfect freedom of opportunity to explore as and where we wanted, breaking out of the tourist bubble. Another attraction of Africa was it is one of the few remaining places where you can truly lose yourself, disconnect from the digital world, and be fully self-dependent. This seemed slightly ironic seeing as I’ve just set-up a dedicated blog, twitter feed and Facebook group!

With France’s Malian exploits stirring trouble in the West, Egypt is to be our window into Africa before making for Sudan, the Great Rift Valley, and eventually the South. However, recent troubles on the Nile may sadly force us to bypass Egypt. For the moment all we can do is nervously wait, watch and hope the situation in Egypt resolves itself.

D-day is only five and a half weeks away when we will cross the English Channel for Calais and light out for Africa. But for the moment we’re stuck doing our preparations, like Robinson Crusoe, eagerly awaiting the prevailing winds.

12 Responses to Home

  1. Suzanne Hartnoll says:

    Really entertaining blog about nothing because the adventure has yet to begin. Really looking forward to going with ….

  2. Nicola Milner says:

    ‘I would look for hours at South America, of Africa, or Australia, and lose myself in all the glories of exploration.. There were many blank spaces on the earth.. But there was one — the biggest, the most blank, so to speak — that I had a hankering after’.

    Heart of Darkness – Conrad

    Alex you sound although you are straight out of an exploration novel, I hope you have read at least this one in preparation, all the best, can’t wait to hear of your adventures!!

    • Alex says:

      Of course Nicola! The text above is dashed with a little ‘heart of darkness’ inspiration. If only my prose were as smooth as Conrad Smith.

  3. Jonathan Salton says:

    Sounds like a great adventure! If you can bribe your way through a Sudanese checkpoint as well as you can write a blog Alex you’ll be in good shape mate. Have a great trip. Jony (ex Sulawesi)

  4. Humperdinck says:

    Hi – I just heard of your trip through Kobi. I’m in Witney near Oxford and heading out to Africa in the Spring (if all goes to plan). So with Egypt and Syria being such a mess – and no ferries to Egypt currently, or so I’ve heard – which route will you now take?

    • apahartnoll says:

      Hi, there are still ferries running from Turkey to Egypt. There is a UN-RORO ship running from Iskenderun to Damietta, but you may not be allowed on board for the transit. If not, UN RORO fly you out of Hatay airport with the other drivers. Only 12 drivers can be put on board and your basically locked in the drivers quarters for the entire transit. The service was previously run by Sisa shipping but they went bankrupt. I understand the service has to be subsidised by the government to make sense. Two English drivers on the ferry advised me there is another ferry from Greece (but I couldn’t find it) and Mersin. I’ll let you know how I get on through Egypt!

      • Humperdinck says:

        That’s fantastic! Would you mind either posting or emailing the details (where to go, how much etc etc) – it would be a complete game changer for my planning! Thanks and safe travels

      • apahartnoll says:

        Hey Humperdinck,

        Here we go… Varies depending on how long you spend holed up in customs.

        1- Official receipts $ 75.
        2- Custom dues $ 258.
        3- Insurance policy certificate $ 53.
        4- Storage cost from 09/10 to 13/10 $ 250.
        5- Clearing agent cost $ 285.
        6- Sundries settled to customs, police..etc $ 50
        7- ISK – freight THC and your air ticket totaling $ 785
        8- Diamietta – THC $ 115
        TOTAL = $ 1871

        By far the most expensive border so far…

  5. apahartnoll says:

    They quoted the following:

    – Freight amount from Iskenderun to Damietta $ 550.
    – THC at Iskenderun port $ 85.
    – Custom clearance at Damietta port $ 370.
    – THC at Damietta port $ 130.

    I’m trying to clarify the total costs with them at the moment as I believe there was some additional costs related to customs and storage of the vehicle in a private warehouse.

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