London to Cape Town, Cape Town to Cairo and Cairo to Spain
Who are we? We are Mark A. Whorlow from England, Blanca Ramos Gonzalez from Spain, and Grommet our 1977 Land Rover 101 Forward Control.
Our dream was to visit Africa and explore the “dark continent.” We left England in July 2004 to avoid the appalling weather, making the final preparations to Grommet in the south of Spain before venturing over to Morocco and North Africa in October 2004, the dream had become real.
Sticking to the West of Africa we set off towards Cape Town and Africa’s most southerly point at Cape L’Agulhas where the Atlantic and Indian Ocean’s converge.
Our adventure was to take us from the dry arid deserts of the Sahara, through hot and steamy jungles and thick sticky mud in Gabon, Congo and Central Africa, through war torn Angola to arrive in Southern Africa in the grip of winter nine months later. Since we couldn’t drive any further south, the only option was to turn round and head north!
We had really enjoyed West Africa but fancied something different, so we wiggled our way up through East Africa. Leaving behind us Southern Africa, the mountainous plato of Lesotho which left poor Grommet gasping, a quick diversion west to Victoria Falls, then back to plains of the Central Rift valley teaming with wild life, then up though the fertile Rwanda and Uganda, across the cracked lava plains of Northern Kenya to the green surprise of Ethiopia and on to Saharan North Africa once again with the dusty deserts of Sudan and Egypt. We then said farewell to Africa before crossing in to Israel and a ferry to Portugal and journeys end in southern Spain
Our journey through Africa has taken just over nineteen months during which time we have covered nearly fifty thousand kilometres, on the same set of tyres. We have visited over twenty seven countries, including many considered a dangerous by the British Foreign Office and for “essential travel only” such as Nigeria, the Congos, Angola and Sudan with out any trouble what so ever.
We have searched for crocodiles in the Saharan desert of Mauritania, been stunned by the scenery of the “Ring Road” in Cameroon and dense forest of the “Crystal Mountains” Gabon, swam with whale sharks in Mozambique, experienced vast migrating herds of the Serengeti and the playful Gorillas in Rwanda.
Set backs, of course we have had a few, a broken a leaf spring in Cameroon, didn’t stop us and neither did stripping down and rebuilding Grommets V8 heart in the car park of a yacht club in Angola but when you consider we have driven some of the worst roads that Africa has to offer in a 29 year old Land Rover you must expect the odd problem along the way.
Africa was packed full of surprises and wasn’t the war torn land of hunger, poverty and suffering that we had been led to expect from the TV and press, with armed bandits behind every tree and bush. Instead it has been an excitingly diverse continent full of wonderful adventure and amazingly hospitable people.
If this has wetted your appetite for adventure you can read more in the following pages and hopefully feel encouraged to give it a go!
So what of the future, we hope to start a business here in Spain selling accessories for 4x4’s along with organising and running overland trips around Spain and North Africa and in my spare time I would like to write a book of our experiences and then may be we will let Grommet take us to Asia, the Americas or Australia who knows…..!