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lots of it, as the families head into Africa for what turns out to be the final leg of their journey together
AFTER THE boat crossing from Jordan we hit the immigration control centre of Egypt. This is an array of small kiosks – you pass each of them, collecting a stamp on a bit of paper. Once you have picked your final stamp, you are given your number plates and passports. This procedure can last up to eight hours, but for us, with four kids in the heat of the day, it took two. We could not believe it, but were happy all the same. Our first long stay destination was to be Ras Mohammed in the southernmost tip of Sinai. We had heard of an overland camp that was literally on the beach, secluded from the masses of tourists that hit Sharm el Sheik every day.

S S
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EA AND

by Richard Poskitt

On arrival we drove right on to the beach, less than ten metres from the shore and our own reef. We were in no rush to leave and stayed for two weeks, just enjoying the quiet and the marvel of sea life that was at our doorstep.

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an accident leads to luxury

Main: Dust road in Sudan. Bottom left: Happy mechanics in Cairo. Bottom right: Camel ride at the foot of the Great Pyramid.

The second accident of our trip occurred while we were visiting Sharm, when Luka hit his teeth while playing at a playground. At first sight it looked bad, but when we arrived at the dentist the full scale was given to us. He had, in fact, smashed off a bit of the jaw bone and had to have stitches and the jaw glued back in place. Thankfully our insurance company covered

this and also organised further checkups in Cairo. Since Luka could not go camping due to infection risks we booked ourselves in a hotel for a couple of luxury, all-inclusive nights. All our batteries recharged, we headed for Cairo, a driver’s nightmare and also the most pushy place on our route so far. A major check-up for the vehicles was needed in Cairo and the 110 needed the clutch changed – as well as new springs again. The Britpart HD springs, put on just before leaving, had not been up to the challenge of our weight. We were directed to a garage that dealt with Land Rovers and, sure enough, the clutch was changed with no real hassle and

new original springs were found. We replaced the original shocks with the spare OME ones that we did not have time to be added in Sweden; it was like a new vehicle. The 130, on the other hand, had a replacement vacuum pump and a complete service. We visited the usual tourist traps and headed for the white desert, west of the Nile, on our way to Luxor. This route gave more freedom, as no convoys are needed.

the Valley of the Kings before our boat to Sudan. We had very little information on this boat but knew it was expensive and going to be tough with kids. When we arrived in Luxor we bumped into an English family we had met in the Sudanese Embassy in Cairo. We had a pleasant evening and discovered that we should catch the compulsory convoy between Luxor and Aswan directly in the morning and get into Aswan to

Below left: Reef at Ras Mohammed. Below right: Great formations in the White desert.

It had taken all day to load the barge full of Feta cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, olives, and two Land Rovers. It was one big floating Land Rover salad
To drive directly into the desert of pure white, sculpture-like formations with an orange dust of sand was just alien. We actually arrived after dark and drove around, guided by the GPS, looking for the camp that was supposed to exist. After a while we came to our senses and just stopped, set up the tent, put the kids to bed and had a glass of wine, enjoying the silence. In the morning we hit the road to Luxor so that we could visit organise the ferry – so no valley this time. The Landies were to be on a separate boat so we needed time to get all the paperwork sorted. After a morning with a Mr. Abuda, our Mr Fix-it in Aswan, we had all our tickets and were very much poorer. We had checked into a hotel so as to get to the boat on time. This really was a miscalculation on our behalf, as the ferry finally left at six in

the evening. It had taken all day to load the barge full of Feta cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, olives, and two Land Rovers. It was one big floating salad. We waved goodbye to our cars and boarded the ferry. There had been a lack of first class tickets so we had one first class room to share. To describe first class is to describe a room the size of eight square metres, with a bunk bed and a table that detached itself from the wall the moment you put a glass of liquid on. It did, however, have an AC and this was its up point.

cramped, but cosy

Two children and one adult in the top bunk bed, two more children and another adult in the bottom one and two adults on the floor – it was cosy, to say the least. The rest of the passengers huddled up to whatever flat shaded surface of the boat they could find. It was going to be a long night. We had been in touch with one of our sponsors, Info 24, who had supplied the Iridium Tracking system. He had

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agreed to SMS us the status of the Land Rovers as he received it. Every four hours we had the coordinates, the direction, and the speed sent by SMS. This was stress relieving, as it was the first time we had left the cars. Arriving in Sudan we were greeted by our Sudanese agent.

Above left: The biggest sand pit in the world. Above right: Washing the 110 at Karen Camp in Nairobi.

He made everything very smooth and took us out of the building having completed our paperwork to an array of taxis. Every single one of the taxis was elaborately decorated, all had bumps and scratches and all were Series Land Rovers. We were ushered into one to go to the hotel to stay until the vehicles arrived the next day. Sudan, dust and frustration Wadi Halfa is a dusty town with character that must be experienced. The fish in the restaurants dotted around are fresh – and still happen to look

like burnt kippers. In the morning we had the SMS telling us that the Landies had arrived in port. We grabbed a Landy Taxi and went to the port. Our whole day was spent waiting and watching all of the salad being taken off the boat. The vehicles had to come off last. Just as the sun was setting and the Ramadan breakfast was about to start we drove off the boat. We did not get far, as the customs office had closed. We had to spend another night. Irritated, we went back to the hotel and watched a DVD on the computer, sweating. On the road through the Nubian Desert we had picked up a local who we had met on the boat – he invited us to stay in his village. He had been in Egypt for three years

trying to better his life. He had saved only enough for the ferry home and was disappointed with his time in Egypt. He had, however, taken a number of English classes and was now in full swing. We arrived in the village to a big welcome. We sat with his family and enjoyed a local Nubian meal. After a walk around the village we headed for Khartoum. This was a long day. It took us through roads that really did not exist, along rail tracks and through the desert. It was on this long, 14-hour day we had both ACs break and overheating on the shocks. Arriving in Khartoum late, we just crashed. All we needed to do was to have our Ethiopian visas stamped and we could leave. We all agreed that we wanted to move

on from the Middle East and into real Africa. We were getting tired of all the hassle and wanted to get to the coast again – we also were a bit tired of similar foods and longed for Indian Ocean seafood and Kenyan Tusker beer.

Above left: The worst road in Africa. Above Right: Our German friends we met in Ethiopia. Below: Mountain road in Ethiopia.

beautiful Ethiopia

The border crossing to Ethiopia is very easy to miss. In fact, we did, and were told to reverse back and park up. After very little time we entered a lush, green and very fertile Ethiopia. As we drove to Lake Tama we had wonderful views and the people took a distance to us. The tarmac roads were also welcomed. We enjoyed a few days in a hotel to watch a festival before heading down to Kenya. We all agreed that Ethiopia

was one of the most beautiful countries we had visited but we wanted to get on and further south. After a brief stop in Addis to pick up cash and provisions, we headed for what was supposed to be a nice spot on the lake, where we could swim, relax and enjoy the scenery. On our arrival we met a German couple, with a well kitted-out 110, who run an education centre in Moshi, Tanzania. We promised we would meet up and after swapping various GPS points we did our usual ritual of comparing Land Rovers. From our discussion with the Germans we headed for a Norwegian missionary place as our last port of call in Ethiopia. This place, we had been told, was supposed to

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be a little bit of Scandinavia in Africa. Sure enough, it was like being in Northern Sweden. The missionaries that run it were not used to overlanders and welcomed us. It was the first time in the whole trip we had a house. The kids had their own room to sleep in and we had a living room and kitchen… basic but, for us, luxury. It was time to be neighbours and not travel partners. The travel stress had been building up with the families and this was exactly what we all needed. Pia and Milan had met a family that were looking for sponsorship for their children to

Above Left: Crossing the Equator in Kenya Above right: Getting stuck in... then stuck completely. Below left: Monkeys picking up the crumbs in Samburu, Kenya.

go to school so they had spent some time sorting out school fees and agreed to cover the cost of schooling for the family’s children. It was wonderful to see what a difference it made on the faces of the parents.

tackling the worst road

It was, however, time for us to get into East African territory. The day we headed for the border to Kenya it was full monsoon rains, terrible visibility and oddly cold. The crossing was fast and we had to change road sides for the first time. Now the 110 had the overtaking advantage. Still, we now had what was to be well known as the worst

road in Africa in front of us. Two days and 450km of the worst corrugations, mud, rain and rock we have ever driven. While bypassing a stuck truck, the 130 slid off and also got stuck. Out with the sand ladders for the first time, a little digging – and out it went. We were still travelling with the English family in their Land Cruiser VX. They too had a number of problems including electrical and diff leaks. It really was a long day. Arriving in Samburu we decided a safari was in order. This is one of my favourite parks in Kenya and has all the animals within its varied landscape.

We camped at one of the camp sites there and had our first encounter with baboons in the morning. Just after making the packed lunch a group of them came crashing through, one was stealing bananas from the boot of the 110 and the full stack of sandwiches and a jar of jam was quickly swiped from the rear of the 130. Chaotically we said our goodbyes to the English family– they were off to Nairobi – and we went off for our morning drive and down to the Equator line. We had friends from Sweden who were staying on Solio Ranch, Nanyuki, right on the Equator; this was to be our stop-over

before Nairobi. Tired and hungry for good food we arrived at our friends. One week of fantastic food indulgence, good company and the clear view of Mt Kenya from the open fireplace was heaven.

Above left: Out she comes. Above right: Baboons block the way. Below: Tall pedestrians in Nakuru National Park, Kenya.

the best family 4x4xfar

Pia’s parents were arriving in Nairobi for a few weeks vacation so we had to run. During their stay we split for a while, as Lina and I had found some interesting options to move to Kenya – so we wanted to stick around to look more into it. The Poznics visited the coast to enjoy the heat and white sands, as well as seeing the

Masai Mara. The Poskits visited schools, had numerous workrelated meetings and started to set up the new life that would start after the trip had finished. While in Nairobi we were introduced to the workshop manager for Land Rover Kenya and many of the other staff working there including Martin Forster, the CEO. He loved what we were doing, proving the Land Rover is the ‘best family 4x4xfar’. The following days the cars were given the full VIP service and all parts that needed to be changed were changed. Thank you, Land Rover Kenya! With the cars set perfect for the last leg of the trip and

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Pia’s parents on their way back to Sweden we split for the trip through Tanzania. We were to meet up in Malawi a little while later. We had all been looking forward to seeing Kilimanjaro again, as well as our old friends in Dar es Salaam. Tanzania was to be mainly transit to get to Lilongwe as fast as possible to meet Lina’s sister. Dar es Salaam had changed since we were there last – a quick overnight catch up and a drive around was enough. The Poskitts headed for the Malawi border. Due to the time stress to Lilongwe we had to complete another of our long drives. Arriving on the Lake Malawi coast we met up with old friends. We agreed that they would catch up further south and stay on the beach for a while when Lina’s sister was there.

Top Left: Trying to spot the Lion from the roof. Top Right: Tuvale and Oliver loving the vantage spot from the roof. Main: The Masai Mara at sunset. Below left: Peaceful Lake Malawi. Below right: Ras Mohammed beach camp.

Back in Europe, all the financial crisis had not affected us and we were happy with that... until, one day, a call came through that the company renting the Poznics apartment in Stockholm had gone bankrupt. Now we had to sort out a large mortgage payment cover, which was not fun.

the final days of adventure

This stress got us all thinking about other problems that might occur. Lina and I thought more about our new life in Kenya. Maybe it would be better to return and finalise things before our bank ran dry and time ran out for our vacation. Back and forth, we finally decided to return to Kenya. For us the trip was over. Pia and Milan thought that it would be fun to continue and then perhaps further continue

to South America and around the world. They would rent their apartment again and continue. That was it. We had a good last day on the beach with the kids and then an emotional evening which was to be our last as Adventure Family. The adventure that had started on February 15, 2008 truly was an experience of a lifetime. So many surprises, so many interesting people and the ups and downs of family life – we will remember this year for the rest of our lives. We hope that our adventure will inspire others to do similar… it is not as hard as it sounds, it is just different. We wish Pia, Milan, Luka, and Tanya all the best in their further travels and look forward to LRM following them.

54 March 2009 LAND ROVER monthly