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Travel Notes

The route we took.

The route we took.

 

ACCOMMODATION

ZAMBIA Livingstone Safari Lodge, in Livingstone I could not recommend.

KENYA Wildebeest in Nairobi has got to be the best place we have stayed at in Africa. Beautiful park like surroundings, reasonable prices, good security ,WIFI, excellent toilets and showers, great food and helpful owners.

SUDAN Blue Nile Sailing Club in Khartoum I could not recommend.

Try the Khartoum Youth Hostel instead with car camping, clean toilets and showers WIFI and power to the car, also cheaper and close to restaurants etc.

EGYPT The Isis Garden Camp in Cairo was good in that it had good security with cheerful and helpful proprietors with a homely feel. You park in a narrow driveway but have access to a nice garden and pool. The shower is warm but not much pressure. Plenty of mosquitoes. No WIFI. No restaurant and supermarket 2 k’s away. The location is on the edge of Cairo.

Very expensive at almost AUD$50.00(330 Egyptian pounds)/night , equivalent to a three star hotel in the middle of Cairo, and the tours organised in house, expensive.

All in all our four night stay with three tours (two half day ones and one full) cost us AUD$700.00 or 470 Euros).

By comparison the Rezeiky Camp Hotel in Luxor was 120Egyptian pounds/day for camping, including wifi, or 240 for a room.

The El-Salam hotel at Ras el-Bar is 180Egyptian pounds/day. This is a good hotel with a room and balcony overlooking the sea, including breakfast and wifi.

TURKEY If you ever go to Iskenderun you must stay at the Grand Akcali Otel ( www.grandakcaliotel.cominfo@grandakcaliotel.com ) Five star standard at AUD$65.00/night with smorgasbord  breakfast included. Staff helpful beyond the call of duty, right in the centre of town.

GREECE Plenty of free camping especially on Andros.

CROATIA If you camp in Dubrovnik stay at “Camping Pod Maslinom”. It is about ten K’s north of the city, reasonable rates, good facilities, friendly, “go out of their way for you” kind of service and a quick bus ride into town for a couple of dollars. You can camp overlooking the spectacular bay

FRANCE Free camping at Saint Tropez.

Trueman Alp lodge ( truemanalp.com ) at Samoens, in the French Alps near Mount Blanc is excellent with great hosts. Highly recommended.

RUSSIA Plenty of free camping, usually you will find a good spot and no one will bug you.

In Moscow The Privet Hostel is very good value. Clean, new, very reasonably priced, with gym, kitchen, cinema, laundry, bar and good Wi-Fi etc. www.privethostels.ru or just dial in privet hostels if you want it in English.

Alexander the duty manager has gone right out of his way trying to sort out our parking with the local authorities and is also genuinely interested in our activities. I highly recommend this hotel/hostel.

We have had no police document checks so far (Novosibirsk)

Plenty of petrol stations (modern) and fuel is quite cheap. (AUD$1.00/litre).

Haven’t seen a drunk yet.

 

MONGOLIA Easiest country to camp in. Just camp anywhere. No payment and no one will bother you, maybe the odd curious shepherd.

The Three Camels Lodge 60K’s northwest of Dalanzadgad in the Gobi Desert was very expensive by Mongolian standards i.e. a twin share standard Ger was US$220/night, dinner US$40 each, lunch US$30 each. We arrived at 4.30pm and it would have cost us US$300 by the 10am checkout.

Oasis Guest House and camping in Ulaan Baatar is a good overlanders meeting point.

CHINA We have been in the hands of “China Overland”.

Before leaving Sydney we were provided with an itinerary listing the hotels we would be staying at each night. A few days before reaching the Chinese border we were sent a new itinerary with no hotels listed.

We have travelled in a convoy of five vehicles, for one month all paying around AUD$5000 for the privilege, a total of $25000 with one guide supplied and receiving in return a sub standard adlib, add hock service in which we have to search for basics such as toilets or anything. We are camped at any place at hand including dirt car parks full of broken bottles and shit (literally), Rare cold showers, all at the end of a long days drive.

We met another convoy, of three vehicles, who said the same about the same company. So do your research well as I suspect this may be the norm for China.

 

BORDER ENTRY

South Africa, Lethoso, Namibia and Malawi are all easy to enter, issuing a three-month tourist visa at no cost. The processing is quick. Sometimes the border officials do not know about the Carnet and you should, in the nicest possible way, make sure that they stamp it on entry and exit. At the Namibian border we had to pay a “road tax” to the value of  $220.00 Namibian (AUD $22.00 or so) so you should have some Namibian currency. They will accept South African Rand as payment if you don’t have Namibian dollars as it has the same value.

AT ZAMBIA If you take the direct southern entry via Botswana drive directly past the two kilometres of trucks, waiting. It doesn’t matter to the drivers as you only take up a small space at the side of the punt and it doesn’t affect them. Do not accept an “Agent” no matter how persuasive they are. Pay the ferryman while you are on the ferry, either in Zambian money or US$30.00 for a LandCruiser. When you land drive up to the front of the police, do not accept a guard. Have your partner stay with the car while you do the formalities. It may take a while but when you think you have everything sorted drive to the gate and if it ain’t right just go back and do the next part.

NOTE You cannot get Zambian money in Botswana.

Trucks can take six days to get through this checkpoint.

3RD PARTY INSURANCE (CTP)

There doesn’t seem to be any requirement for this in South Africa, Lethoso and Namibia. I tried really hard to get some in South Africa but no one would insure me and there were no border requirements for this at Lethoso or Namibia.

There seems to be a yellow card 3rd party insurance (COMESA) that can be bought at the Zambian border and will give you cover through several African countries, including Egypt.

The COMESA insurance at the Zambian border was not available. We will try to get it at Livingstone.

3rd PARTY INSURANCE FOR TURKEY This was organised for us at the port agents office, AUD$40

3rd PARTY INSURANCE FOR EUROPE (green card). This is required for most of Europe. We were unable to get this in Greece and had to do it through a German insurance company in Hamburg, “Tour Insure”

Telefon     +49 (0) 40 25 17 21 – 50

Telefax     +49 (0) 40 25 17 21 – 21

E-Mail        heidemarie.munsky@tourinsure.de

Internet      www.tourinsure.de

We were able to do it all from the “Athens Camping” office where we stayed. The manageress, Helen was most helpful as it involved emails and faxes.

Tour Insure were also very efficient and it was all organised in a day. Just waiting for the actual document to arrive by special courier (40 euros extra for 24 hour delivery), we do have a copy sent by email. The green card is a document stating that you do have valid insurance for E.U. countries and I think it also gives you camping discounts.

MALAWI Easy entry and free visa. We already had our third party insurance covered by Yellow Card.

TANZANIA Easy entry but had to pay US$50 each for a 90 day visa. It is multiple entry to some of the surrounding countries such as Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda plus US$20 foreign vehicle permit for one month, extendable, and US$5 road tax.

apply for the Egyptian visa at Khartoum.

 

RWANDA Two hours of formalities not a problem US$30 each for a one month tourist visa.

UGANDA Entry no problem US$50 each for a three month tourist visa and USh 53,000.0000 or AUD$38.00 for road tax. The authorities were very pleasant.

ETHIOPIA, SUDAN, EGYPT (in Nairobi)

Letters of introduction from the Australian High Commission and other information was provided quickly and at no cost, just make sure you get there early as these services close at midday. Same for the Ethiopian embassy.

The Ethiopian embassy had some bureaucracy but not too bad. We had to undergo an interview, which was not unpleasant, as we had heard. The Ethiopian diplomat who interviewed us actually apologised for making us wait five minutes.

Cost USD$20 each for a two month visa.

At the Egyptian embassy we were told to apply for the Egyptian visa at Khartoum.

AUD$64 each for a two month visa for Sudan.

All of the above has gone smoothly as we were prepared with copies of all of our documents, passports, carnet, birth and marriage certificates, passport photos etc., were not cheeky with them and waited patiently. All in all the waiting was not too bad.

Having completed these formalities we have a wait of two or three days for the visas to be issued.

ETHIOPIA Entry into Ethiopia was easy until we reached customs. CLOSED, because the man went home early but operators in the area could ring him and get him back. (Remember Zambia). We kicked up a stink and sure enough we got through.

SUDAN Entered Sudan with only a slight delay at the Sudanese customs. We had read on other blogs that this crossing, at Metema, was very costly and complicated, taking five hours to get through. Apparently they close between 1 and 3pm for lunch and we may have just got there in time to avoid this.

The only payment was for some police charges which amounted to 13.7 Sudanese pounds, though I did not get change from 20 pounds so it cost me AUD$3.87.

We were not able to register at the border which I read we must do within three days of entering Sudan at a cost of SDG365 each or AUD$70 each.

So with the AUD$62 for the visa,AUD$70 to register and AUD$1.87 it is costing us AUD$133.87 each probably the most expensive country to enter so far.

They also like you to have a photography licence which, I believe, is at no cost although we don’t know where to get it. We did try at the airport.

EGYPT Easy entry visa issued on the ferry from Wadi Halfa to Aswan, Cost US$15 each. The real price was in shipping us and the car which was about $550 on the Sudan side and another $250 on the Egyptian side. My feeling was that we were being ripped off and that there is no choice. No wonder the agents just ask you to pay “what you feel is right” because they have already made their money.

Maybe you can shop around in Wadi Halfa with the various agents or hope that the road could be opened to all traffic in the future.

TURKEY We applied on line for a 90 day, multiple entry visa US$60. Couldn’t be easier.

Exiting Turkey we did not even have to leave the car, through in two minutes.

Motorways are very expensive and the tollbooths placed at such intervals that commit you to the next section. There is often no alternative and one toll road was just an ordinary one-lane road.

Took 8 ½ hours to for processing at Iskenderun due to being last off the ferry. $40.00 for third party insurance.

GREECE No problem at the border. Received a stamp in our passport but it is illegible but no charge. Haven’t found third party car insurance as yet but no one has asked for it either.

Motorways are very expensive and the tollbooths placed at such intervals that commit you to the next section. There is often no alternative and one toll road was just an ordinary one-lane road.

One bridge cost AUD$20, a tunnel AUD45 and so on.

A hold up on exiting Greece as the Greek customs entry officer did not enter our carnet details into the computer.

ALBANIA No entry problems and no charge but they did need to sight the Green Card (insurance)

MONTENEGRO No problem leaving Albania and entering Monte Negro ½ hour total. Montenegro just needed our car registration paper and green card.

BOSNIA No problems, free entry

CROATIA No problems, free entry

SLOVENIA No formalities

ITALY Ditto

RUSSIA Entered Russia at the Koidula check point with no queues but took two hours to pass through both Estonian and Russian border posts with no trouble. The officers of both countries were polite, cheerful and helpful. We were able to get car insurance at a petrol station at the border. A further fee of 150 roubles $5 road toll, so have some roubles or go to the nearby shop and change Euros or US dollars as I did.

MONGOLIA Applied for a double entry tourist visa at about 2pm (We needed longer than a month) payed for an express processing US$320 for two visas, and got it the same afternoon.

This was done at the Mongolian embassy in Moscow.

 ENTERING MONGOLIA

The border crossing was more complicated than expected, as we had to go through numerous checkpoints. The last stumbling block presented an unexpected problem. We had been given the wrong information at the Russian entry point. We were told that we only needed to register our visa if we stayed at a location for more than seven days but in fact we had to register it every seven days (We are on a business, multiple entry visa). Result, a fine of 2000 roubles each was mandatory   (total AUD$120.00), however the nice officer only imposed one fine of $60.00 because of our age. It actually turned out to be cheaper than had we gone through the correct registration process.

RE ENTRY TO MONGOLIA FROM LAKE BAIKAL This time the Mongolians filled in our Carnet and we had to buy 3rd party car insurance which we did not have the option of at the Tsagaannuur entry point (probably as it was right on closing time). When we double checked at the Ulgii police station they told us we did not need it.( this was the first time) The insurance cost about $40 for one month. $6 for some piece of paper. $6 road tax.

 CHINA We applied for and received our visa in one day, in Ulaan Baatar. The embassy is only open Mon,Wed and Fri 9-12pm for visa applications. We arrived at 11am on Monday, filled in the form and paid an extra US$30 each for a one day processing, making the visa US$60 each. The visa officer gives you a payment advice, which you pay at a nearby bank and pick up your visa at 4pm the same day. As travellers driving through China in our own vehicle we also had some extra paper work to submit but this had already been supplied by our Dutch agent.

We received a 30-day visa applicable from the day of entry.

RE-ENTRY TO RUSSIA AT KYAKHTA ( en route to Lake Baikol)

Took about four hours to get through for no apparent reason as it was a very quiet border post. One Russian official was quite cranky and rude. The delay was at the Russian end. No costs as we already have double entry visas for both Russia and Mongolia.

RE ENTRY TO MONGOLIA A different procedure to the previous and this time we had to buy third party insurance.

CHINA No problems as the Chinese officials knew what they wanted and most of the arrangements had already been done through Nancy at China Overland. There was actually a very long delay at the very first Chinese border gate as we were told to wait for our guide. He however was waiting at another place and it took unnecessary hours to finally get through. Nancy herself was very helpful and efficient but the company later let her down.

The exit from China also went smoothly.

LAOS Easy entry US$37 each for a thirty day visa and US$14 for two weeks of third party car insurance. One curious thing was that as we drove through the Laotian border area there was what looked to be a tyre cleaning service, which consisted of a badly aimed spray of water to only the driver side wheels, I guess the other wheels were already clean. They wanted money for this and as we had been previously warned, we refused and no further problem.

Beware of the moneychangers, folded notes and such. Check the denominations closely as AUD$1.00=7083.2273 Laotian Kip.

THAILAND Applied for a 60 day visa at the Savannakhet consulate in the morning and received a 90 day tourist visa, cost 1000 Thai Baht each, about AUD$35.00 each. We did this as we may need some time to organise our car shipment back to OZ. The rule is that if you are entering by land you get a 14 day visa (don’t know the price) .

An extra AUD$34.00 had to be paid at the border for the car. No insurance mentioned.

You need to get 3rd party insurance at the border or at the next town.

Now well on the way to Bangkok and Saturday so I will have to find out about the insurance on Monday.

Make sure you receive a “Simplified Customs Declaration Form” If you wish to send your car to Australia from Thailand or indeed if you want to go to another country from Thailand. Read below.

3rd December 2014 We reached the office of our shipping agent in Bangkok (Siam Motor World) only to find that the Customs office at our entry point to Thailand, Mukdahan, had not issued us with a “simplified customs declaration form (for motor car and motor cycle temporarily imported or exported)” which means we can’t export the car, and, after many phone calls it became clear that we would have go back to the border post to get this form. This is a distance of only 700 kilometres.

Make sure you get “Compulsory 3rd party insurance”. I found an insurance office just a block up from Toyota in Mukdahan, on the corner of the street of the bus terminal. AUD $4.00 for two months.

All up the cost of shipping the car from Bangkok to Australia is very expensive, about AUD$8000.00. Shop around, easily said, perhaps contact you shipping agent ex-Australia for a recommended Bangkok shipping agent.

AUSTRALIA Re-entry was easy but slow.

The car needed further cleaning by Australian Customs as bugs were found in the radiator and dirt in the tyres, add AUD$200.

 

THE DAMAGE DONE 

1 battery

1 windscreen

8 punctures

1 shredded tyre after only 7,000k

A second tyre with a bulge in the side wall after 23000k

I had some trouble with my new Cooper tyres on my last trip to the Northern Territory. Two tyres developed multiple cracks in the tread after only 13,000 K’s.

I think I will try another brand next time.

1/12/2013 New chip in windscreen. I have repaired it but I’m watching it like a hawk.    I think I fixed it.

Lost my locking water tank cap. These Toyota caps are really hard to work out and because of this I was especially careful when I locked it last time. None the less, there it is, gone.

 

Steering linkage loose and brakes grabbing as per the Roadworthy inspection in Cape town 3838k after my major pre-trip service and inspection performed by a Toyota dealer.

 

My 1200lb Ironman winch is not operational. I had trouble with it back in Sydney and the Ironman Rep told me that it had rusted out and that I should unwind and rewind it each month just to keep it clean, which is what I have done (This winch had never been used in anger). The winch was rebuilt, I kept it in my garage and two weeks ago it came into contact with the first bit of moisture and now it won’t work. Turns out it was a faulty isolation switch under the bonnet, bypassed it and now it works.

 

Both solar panels not working and don’t know for how long as we have been constantly on the move and the engine recharges the batteries.

 

Big Ding in the driver side rear pillar. In trying to go around a stationary truck on a one lane mountain bend I did not give enough leeway and as I went around the rear slid down and made contact.

Drivers side rear bearing replaced in China

TYRES As part of the preparation for this trip we had a two-month holiday in Northern Australia. I purchased 6 new Cooper Mud tyres with tubes, as I have split rims, the old Goodyear Wrangler muds having just worn down to bare tread. The roads were 90% dirt but very good. When I returned I was speaking to a friend who told me that that she had had trouble with her Cooper tyres to the extent that Cooper had replaced the tyres free of charge. I then made an inspection of my tyres to find that the two front tyres had numerous cracks in them at the base of each nob of tread. I took them back to Tyre Power at Kirrawee in Sydney who arranged for the Cooper Rep to inspect them. The rep measured them with a micrometer and determined that they had 25% of wear on them and agreed to cover 75% of the cost of replacement and I accepted this offer. He could not explain the cracks but said that for my trip to Africa, etc. these mud tyres were the right choice. The tyres had done 1300k at this stage. I am a conservative driver and am very conscious of using correct tyre pressures.

Now I find myself at Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, having had my sixth puncture, one tyre shredded (tyre cord showing and rusted after 7000k), another with wall deformities and splits, faced with what is probably the most difficult section of the trip, not to mention Mongolia later.

The Cooper rep did not think it was a poor batch as they make batches of thousands at a time.

My camper van, which is a 78 series LandCruiser 2006 year model, is not my commuting car and is garaged until we take it on a camping trip. Two weeks after buying the Cooper tyres I had a flat on the front driver side tyre. I had been on a weekend camping trip so I could not be sure that it was just a bit of bad luck so I didn’t take it back to the tyre store. This was the first inkling of trouble.

Six of the seven punctures were not caused by penetration by a nail or such.

Friction, incorrect flap size or some other unknowns are possibilities.

I will try B.F.Goodrich All Terrain tyres next as they have been recommended by several overlanders.

By the by, as I was waiting to have my new Cooper tyres fitted One of the employees at the tyre mart gave me a great lecture as to the importance of using the correct tyre pressures, so when I got back home I checked the pressures that they had used for my tyres. All six tyres had different pressures in them and not just a few PSI difference. Pressures ranged from 23 to 55 PSI, none of which were correct for my car. This is a dedicated tyre retailer, a dealer of the year in fact.

Always check your own tyre pressures and use the recommendations in the manual.

I have bought two new B.F.GOODRICH all terrain tyres. The price for a full set of six new ones was prohibitive here in Dar, and as my old Coopers have only done a low mileage I will plod on in the hope that I will not get too many more flat tyres and get as much mileage as possible before replacing them.

I have marked each tyre so I can keep track of the damage.

22/2/2014 Cooper puncture no.7 but this time due to a screw.

No more punctures but I have replaced the Coopers in Prague on 6/7/2014 as they were worn out. (odometer reading 144653) This means that one pair of tyres lasted me 40000K’s and the other pair 53000K’s. I was told that they should last about 80000K’s. I will now have a full set of B.F.Goodrich all terrain’s.

Having just test driven the new tyres they seem to give the car more stability and are quieter.

 

 

 

 SERVICING

Toyota Sutherland, Sydney. The jury is out as I have to ask some questions of my local service manager, when I return, as to why my car failed some important safety questions in Cape Town after I had a comprehensive, pre World trip service just before we left Sydney.

Toyota Cape Town did good work but would not do a safety inspection.

Toyota Dar es Salam did good work. The service manager spoke good English and understood what needed doing.

Toyota Istanbul. There was a language barrier but they did what was required and did a great job of cleaning the engine and car.

The Czech mechanics (not a Toyota dealer) did a full 150000K service and understood all that needed to be done including a new timing belt.

The T-belt light came on as the 150,000 came up on the odometer so I got it checked at the Toyota dealer at Chelyabinsk. They found that the switch had not been reset but also that the T-belt was a non genuine part and so could not guarantee that it would last the next 150,000K’s, also a little wear in the cam cog and the oil pump cog (there was visible metal dust on the rear timing belt cover. They said that this may have entered in the desert though why the Czech mechanics did not clean this I do not know. Toyota recommended that I replace the cogs when I return to Sydney as they said it would take a month for the parts to come from Moscow.

Also there was too much oil in the engine, probably by three litres or so.

Also they used the old tubes and flaps which I would have thought would be replaced as we are about to go to Mongolia.

Toyota Chelyabinsk- Russia They were very thorough and were able to do the work needed immediately.

Toyota Ulaan Baatar- Mongolia Took us in immediately but were not able to do the work until the following day. Talked about replacing the air filter with the foreman but he said it wasn’t necessary as the one I had was new. I requested that it be cleaned.

On picking up the car I noticed that the greasing had not been done, so they took it back in and did it. Later I discovered that a new air filter had been put in.

 

SENT HOME

The awning

Floor matting

 

JETTISONED

Coolant ( I can use water instead, at a pinch )

5 litre jerry can

Ropes

Portable toilet

Chains

Tin cups from St Lucia

40 litres of water

tongs

Two faux MaxTrax (kept two cut down versions)

fold up washing basket

Chicken mesh (don’t ask)

A compass that wouldn’t point north.

Garden spade.

 

TIPS

GPS  A very good app. For Ipad or Iphone is called “Maps with me” (It uses open street maps as its source). For a very few dollars it has good detail and other info such as bank locations etc  It is not internet dependant.

A really good map for your GPS device is “Tracks4Africa”( read later about some problems with it)

Our Stellenbosch GPS with “Tracks4Africa” has proved invaluable to us. So when it was damaged by being packed too tightly into a backpack we were really thrown. No repairs or even a replacement in Mwanza. Our backup became the Ipad with “Maps with me”, and lastly, a paper map with no detail. I hope we can get another Garmin in Kigali.

We received our new Garmin in Nairobi. We ordered it online from Australia, the thinking being that we would get the Aussie maps with it for when we get back home. Also I was worried that I may spend too much time in Nairobi finding one or trying to get the old one fixed. Also warranty considerations. Our daughter, Nicola, on sent it to us but registered postage was about AUD$175 and for us to pick it up in Nairobi from DHL was another AUD$50. All in all a costly exercise.

We are carrying three GPS devices:

  1. Garman.
  2. Ipad with maps with me.
  3. Iphone with maps with me as a back up.

TRACKS4AFRICA Started with some minor mistakes in South Africa, usually sending me to an off ramp followed by the on ramp at a motorway intersection. Then a huge mistake at Stellenbosch where I had to reverse for a kilometre on a one-lane dead end it had led us to.

Tracks4Africa has now gone bonkers. It made many huge blunders in Nairobi, sending us into unnecessary “NO GO” areas on very bad roads. It also got nearly every intersection and roundabout wrong sending us onto roads that we couldn’t backtrack.

On the way to Nyeri and trying to find Sandai Camp, Tracks4Africa took us, unnecessarily, along 20k of really bad dirt road, which led us back to the same tar highway, we had already been on. This is really bad as mistakes such as these could be potentially very dangerous if you are in a remote area.

I think that perhaps Tracks4Africa is out of date for this part of Africa and north. My advice is to us a backup map or GPS device. I don’t trust it any more.

Out of Karima in Sudan Tracks4Africa took us on a completely wrong road to a military installation (PROBLEM). After a 40K detour and getting onto the right road it then persisted in telling us to do a U TURN.

I can’t trust this thing at all.

CAR SHIPMENT

We shipped our car having been told that the voyage would take four weeks and to make sure that we arrived in good time to avoid costly storage fees. The voyage took six weeks and we arrived about four weeks before this, thus avoiding expensive storage costs but not avoiding expensive accommodation and car hire fees. My advice is to check what the car storage fees may be and then calculate whether it is cheaper to arrive a little late.

ROAD BLOCKS

There were several through Namibia, usually by the police and no problem. They just ask you where you have been and where you are going. We weren’t so sure about these facts, sometimes, but it actually worked in our favour as the police usually got a good laugh out of it. The thing is to be friendly and courteous and all will be well. They may ask to see your licence and/or rego.

Same as above for Milawi and Tanzania although more bribery in Tanzania. Mostly if you refuse they accept it.

Many road blocks in Egypt but all friendly and may ask you for a document you don’t have.

MONEY No trouble up to and including Rwanda getting cash from an ATM using a Visa card with a four-digit pin number. We have not used the Master card since South Africa so not sure about its effectiveness.

ATM’s don’t work in Sudan

INTERNET  We have been able to do all sorts of complex transactions but not without pain. Internet is often slow and can be expensive. Just persevere.

Airtel has been recommended for central Africa as it covers several countries but we are yet to try it.            No it dosn’t

South Africa and Tanzania both have Vodacom and wasn’t too bad.

 

ON NOTICE

Hillbilly cooking kit. It saved itself last night.   Temporarily.

Haven’t used it much though.

RMS AND REGO RENEWAL.

Originally we enquired as to how we could reregister our car from overseas and we were told that we need to have an inspection done in a similar format to the Australian from a bonafide body approved by the relevant country.

We did this in good time from South Africa as it is a country similar to Australia in terms of standards and language. In fact we had an extremely thorough test done (over the pits) at considerable cost. A regular roadworthy test was not available to us as we were not within the South African system.

Any concerns were then resolved by repairs done at Toyota in Cape town. All of these documents were on sent to the department by email with a request to inform us if there was a problem.

We had to spend an extra week in Cape Town to achieve the above.

Our car is a 2006 model with low odometer reading and well maintained. We had a pre World trip service done by Stuart Toyota in Sydney before we left.

We were belatedly informed that the RMS needed the original documents not the emailed ones as had been intimated to us previously.

At the eleventh hour we were told that an exact statement as to roadworthiness was not on the comprehensive inspection document (with items ticked above and beyond the usual pink slip) and that the documents were not received within the required time. We have now been given a deadline of a few days to rectify this. We are in Ethiopia at present so it’s not so easy.

 

What the RMS really needs is a roadworthy document with the bottom line reading the exact following words:

Vehicle has passed a safety check and is suitable for safe use.

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