Rob and Dee Overland in Africa 2014 – 10,000 miles – 4 months – 10 countries

Pre-departure

We realize that there are many folks out there reading our blog to assist them in planning their own trips- with that in mind I have prepared a series of posts with the type of nitty-gritty detail that will help others intent on their own adventures. I have placed this series under the pre departure or preperation tab on our website.

Money Changers

As noted elsewhere it is best to only change money at actual foreign exchange businesses or official banks or in some countries at the post office. If the post office does do foreign exchange the line there is sure to be shorter than the banks. Your life will be ever so much easier if you get money for the next country long BEFORE you get to the border. Dealing with money changers is always a risk. If you get stuck and must change money at the border at least know what the bank rate is- you won’t get that, but you might get close, and only change what you will need for border fees and until you get to an ATM.

Keep in mind in some countries a city large enough to have an ATM may be several days away and once away from the border you are unlikely to find other moneychangers.

If you have to change money with a money changer at the border do this with your border “helper’s assistance.”

The money changers you see hanging around borders and especially outside banks in cities are usually crooks. THEY DO NOT MAKE THEIR MONEY ON THE EXCHANGE RATE—THEY MAKE IT BY STEALING FROM YOU DURING THE TRANSACTION.

The have a number of typical cons. The simplest one is they simply run away down some back alley with your cash. Most other cons rely on sleight of hand and short changing you.

These guys may offer you a better than bank rate- their goal is to initiate a deal- the rate they quote is immaterial. Once the deal is underway they will distract you change the rate, have their friends jump in and start yelling the rate was something else or any of a number of cons. One favorite con is they give you the new currency. Then you give them the old currency – the guy counts both out in front of you and is holding the money you just gave him in his hand. Then he says you did not give him enough. He will then say the deal is off and he wants his money back. You give his money back and he gives you yours back—EXECPT HE HAS PALMED SOME OF YOUR MONEY EVEN THOUGH YOU WATCHED HIM COUNT IT IN FRONT OF YOU.

If you must change money with a moneychanger here are some tips.

Put the exact amount of money you want to change in your right pocket. Ask how much he will give you for that amount- know in advance what you will accept. Do not do the math in your head in-front of him while being pressured, especially with all the zeros in African currency it is easy to get confused.   If he has friends with him make them all go away or insist he walk away with you and they do not follow. If possible have your companions next to you to observe all of this and support you. Make the transaction brief and you control the entire deal.   Make him count his money into your hand first. After he counts it you recount it without him touching it. Stick it in your left pocket. Agree again at this point on what you are paying him. If the amount has suddenly changed give him back his money and WALK AWAY. If not proceed. Now, having agreed on the amount you are to pay him, reach into your right pocket count out the money you have already pre-counted yourself. Watch him count it. WALK AWAY.

Walking away is the critical element, because at that point is when he or his friends will try to distract you or change the deal or get in an argument. Most of these guys are cowards who rely on sleight of hand – they are not violent crooks.   Few will do anything when you just walk away.

Safe travels.

Rob

 

 


A week ago I sent an email to a number of friends telling them of our trip.  One friend responded she was jealous.  I replied that the truck had a back seat and could hold two more.  Over the next few hours more emails went back and forth.  Bottom line – within 48 hours of hearing about our trip our friends had made the decision to join us in Namibia and purchased tickets.  Carpe Diem– how’s that for seizing the day.

Our friends who will be joining us are Brian and Sarah who live in New Zealand and owned the sailboat Anon.  We sailed together from Australia through Indonesia,  Singapore and Thailand. We are always excited for new adventures with old friends.

Can’t wait to see you guys.

Rob


The countdown continues.  We’ve finally bought every item on our long list.  We spent some time today spraying our clothes with a semi permanent insect repellent called Permethrin which we have used before successfully.  Hopefully it will keep away those malarial mosquitos.  The next few days we have to vacate the house we are in and move all our stuff either back into storage or to our motorhome.

kayaks on snow crop2We’ll be missing summer in Salida.  That means missing mountain biking and kayaking.  Right now is the transition of seasons- the end of winter and ski season and the beginning of spring and summer sports.  The last few days I managed to cram in a day of flying my gyroplane, one day of mountain biking and a last day of skiing.  It is fun to watch the quick transition here from skiing to kayaking.  The ski hill is still open but in the warm afternoons we are already seeing kayakers on the river that runs right through town.   Some of the locals like to combine the two so the switch of seasons is really seamless.


Days ticking by – one week until departure. Bitter sweet to be leaving Salida as Spring arrives and  active summer just ahead. There will be others here. This year – Africa. As we prepare we try to remember less is more. Less to cart around and more focus on being where we are – living as the locals do. OK we will have the 4×4 with roof top tent, all the supplies to feed, cloth and communicate but we will be camping out for four months. Bring it on. Like the sailboat, self sufficient, independent, engaging with the locals. I hope to get exercise beyond bouncing along in the 4×4. Plenty of hiking opportunities and we’ll walk like the locals do. Arrive in Jo’burg Saturday April 19 in time for Easter Sunday/Monday holiday. Then touch and feel our selected 4×4 on Tuesday and deal with registration, insurance, all the paper work and refurbishing we decide to do. Hope to be on board and off by Saturday April 26. Be flexible, Be Present, take in all the adventures. Come along with us. Dee


Only 10 days until departure.  Managed to sneak in a great day of powder skiing at Monarch Ski Area- may get one more ski day in before departure and hopefully a few more flights in my gyroplane before we leave.  For the longest time it seemed the trip was at some distant point in the future and there was no hurry to pin things down, then suddenly it is only days away and there is plenty to do.  The best thing to happen was finding and buying a vehicle over the internet.  A bit risky but we are dealing with a very reputable company so I think things should go OK.  We just sent them a large deposit today but having a fully rigged out 4WD waiting for us when we arrive will save us maybe two weeks so we can see more of Africa.  The vehicle is in Johannesburg and our airplane reservations, lodging and rental car had been made to Cape Town so Dee has been busy changing those.

Monarch Ski Area Salida, Colorado

Monarch Ski Area
Salida, Colorado

 

Flying my Xenon gyroplane in the Colorado Rockies

Flying my Xenon gyroplane in the Colorado Rockies