After we decided during our stay in South America to travel to Africa as the next continent, it soon became clear that we first wanted to take a little break of 3-4 months in Europe before heading off to new adventures. Instead of traveling to Central and North America as originally planned, we preferred Africa primarily because of wildlife and the bigger travel challenges which we wanted to tackle rather sooner than later. For this very break, different reasons were decisive for us.
On the one hand we wanted to give Shujaa after 60,000 km over some very rough tracks in South America a little “wellness”- treatment. The partial negative experience with small on-site repairs on the ground in South America had shown us that this can be done much better at home than in various local workshops – which also do not know the vehicle. At our trusted MAN workshop (Toni Maurer), Shujaa received a full service and was attested again an excellent health condition. We also had the air suspension of our cabin replaced with a traditional spring version. Driving on heavy duty tracks the movements of the air suspension were simply too strong … and we still have our air-suspended seats to provide sufficient comfort in off-road terrain. At our cabin manufacturer (Discover Mobil) various smaller points were repaired and further optimizations implemented – even a great cabin can be optimized further.
On the other hand, we wanted to prepare the renovation of our finca in Mallorca – which has been our second home since we sold our first home in Munich last year – in such a way that the work can begin during our trip through Africa. We also wanted to see our good friends again and enjoy highlights of our “old life” (including skiing in Lech / Austria).
Last but not least, we found it more enjoyable to prepare our next travel section with the comforts of the western world: high-speed Internet with unlimited data volume (without having to buy new pre-paid data volume for the local SIM card if you are doing important things on the Internet), Amazon delivery of travel guides and GPS maps, etc. One should also not forget that despite huge progress on digitization there are still many administrative things that can be done much easier offline, e.g. getting the Carnet de Passage for Africa, extending our truck driver’s license and so on.
All in all a great and quite busy time, which we really appreciate. Compared to our previous life, we enjoy the time and leisure we have now: drinking coffee in bed, then getting up, doing a lot of sports and doing the above stuff … without any time pressure. The difference to our “old life” is becoming much more evident here in Mallorca than during the first stage of our trip around the world: perhaps it is due to the familiar environment, perhaps also due to the contact with people and friends who are still in the middle of their working life. Anyway, we are again and very intensively aware of what a really great life we have and that the timing of our “professional exit” was optimal for us.
What’s next with our trip? Probably in the beginning / middle of April we will start in Namibia / Walvis Bay with our second stage and will travel for the next eight months through Namibia / Botswana / Zimbabwe / South Africa. The shipment of Shujaa to southern Africa is not yet finalized, but we are working on options. Since many ships from there continue to Australia and the Australians are known to be very afraid of imported insects, all vehicles (whether they are unloaded in southern Africa or continue to Australia) need to be heated up over 2.5 hours to almost 60 degrees in order to kill any possible invaders. Needless to say, that we would like to avoid this for our beloved Shujaa – especially after just having had a great wellness treatment.
Before Christmas we want to come back to Europe / Mallorca, finalize the conversion of our finca and have the household of our old house currently stored in Munich transported to Mallorca. The second part of our Africa expedition is planned to start in the spring of 2020: via Zambia to Malawi and into eastern Africa (Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya) and from there via Ethiopia, Sudan to Egypt. So is the plan at least. And that’s why we hope that, along with many other things, the political situation will remain stable, especially in North / East Africa.