Lessons Learnt

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Thread: Lessons Learnt

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Thanked: 180

    Default Lessons Learnt

    Although the summary below is related to our recent Malawi trip, I would think that most of it would be applicable to any southern African overland trip.

    Hardened travellers need not read this, only novices - like we were. None of it is stuff we had heard or read somewhere - it was actually all practically experienced.

    Hopefully there is some useful information here which may just trigger something that was overlooked in the planning of your expedition.

    I will also post this as an additional episode in the original trip report: Freelander2: Overland http://www.4x4community.co.za/forum/...ewpost&t=88998, where the context in which these lessons were learnt can be read.

    Summary of Lessons Learnt

    • A fuel pump does not a filling station make.
    • If you want to go anywhere far with your car, have that repair/service/modification/wheel alignment/balancing done WAY before you leave - a month prior, should just about do it.
    • There is no leeway or discretion in terms of exceeding the speed limit in Zimbabwe. If you are going 1 km/h too fast, you are going to pay.
    • Some border crossings are more equal than others.
    • “Black Market” is a place where black people sell stuff.
    • 20l of fuel bought at the roadside is equivalent to 18l at the pump.
    • The above fuel type HAS to be filtered. “Pool Gobbler” socks work well.
    • Not all petrol pump nozzles have been upgraded to the smaller “unleaded version”, and may not fit into your tank filler. A funnel with flexible hose would be useful.
    • Garmin maps have more detail of the cities than T4A.
    • Carlsberg is big in Malawi, and cheap – R12.50. All the variants and also the local Kuche Kuche beer available.
    • Wine is very expensive – more than restaurant prices at home. A bottle of Chateau Libertas would cost around R100 in the Spar, and a 5l box of Overmeer in a Metro, around R250. So if you want to take drinks and space is lacking, rather take wine.
    • If you prefer the hard stuff, I have it on good authority that the local Malawi Gin is up to standard. Tonic (Schweppes) you'll find in every fridge.
    • Most towns have ATMs. Up to 100,000 Kwacha can be drawn per day in K20,000 multiples.
    • Airtel and Vodacom prepaid service is available both here and Mozambique. If one does not want to run the risk of an expensive incoming call phone bill when enabling roaming, a reduced "SMS roaming" feature can be enabled prior to leaving home.
    • A Bradt Guide is essential.
    • Malawi uses the UK rectangular-pin 220V plugs. With a bit of a fiddle, two-pin plugs will fit.
    • Radio communication between convoy vehicles is essential.
    • YOU may hold the schedule - THEY have the time.
    • A full tank of fuel is a liberating emotion.
    • Employ a local advisor. In Cape Maclear, this would be Harry – or reasonable facsimile.
    • Always bargain. Do NOT pay the price originally asked.
    • Rather use the reflective white and red tape on your vehicle. This is not as desirable a collector's item as the rectangular plastic reflectors.
    • In a convoy: “Suffer one, suffer all”.
    • Pick your travel companions carefully. You could visit the most fantastic/exotic places, but if the people you’re with are not agreeable, you’ve achieved something purely academic: Been there, done that.
    Last edited by JJJ; 2011/09/16 at 01:14 PM.
    Volvo XC60 T5
    180kW/350Nm (1500 - 4800 rpm)

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