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Discussion Starter #1
Hi Folks

I’m currently preparing to do a Cairo to Cape Town trip (via East Coast route) but rather than do this in the usual Defender or Mk 1 Disco, I want to do this in a little more comfort! I currently have a L322 Td6 and – having been inspired by its build quality and all-round capability – want to now throw a bigger challenge at it. But is it man enough for the job?

I don’t know if anyone has done this trip in a L322 before so I’m currently assessing the feasibility and am looking for help, advice and general informed comment about the practicalities and required preparation of taking a L322 through Africa. I’m sure some will think this is a silly idea! But I will not give up on this idea until it’s been properly investigated.

The general ethos of this trip will be “how easy can one make the drive through Africa right now?” so I intend to stick to tarred / gravel road for as much of the distance as possible to make life easier for the car. As such I would like to keep the car as standard as possible. Research suggests the toughest sections will be driving through the desert in Northern Sudan, parts of Ethiopia and Northern Kenya.

The sort of information I am looking for is as follows:

1. Basic vehicle capability
- can the air suspension really cope with thousands of miles of poor roads?
- ditto the transmission
- can the cooling system cope with the heat and dust?
- are the electronics appropriately sealed from water and dust?
- will I be able to get diesel of good enough quality?
- what is going to potentially strand the car in the middle of nowhere and end the trip (eg: is EAS failure a disaster or can you continue slowly on the bump stops, if the gearbox throws a wobbly can you still maintain drive even if its only in one gear etc)

2. Vehicle preparation
- what is essential to do to the car in terms of preparation?
- what other accessories are deemed desirable?
- which preparation company should I use that would be familiar with the L322?
- where will I be able to get dealer support in Africa. (I assume Cairo, Nairobi, Dar es Salaam, South Africa but are there others?
- what would be essential spares to take?


Would Land Rover themselves be any help with this information or do they have no interest? I’m much encouraged that the G4 cars were actually very close to showroom spec so I’m hopeful this is a doable project but want to really find out what I’m getting myself into. All help or pointers much appreciated.

By the way my car is a late 2003 Td6 that I’ve owned for several years, done lots of miles in it and it’s been bullet proof so at least I know I’m starting with a decent example.

Many thanks

RRG

Ps: I’ve posted this in a few places and on a few forums so apologies if you see this more than once!
 

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- can the air suspension really cope with thousands of miles of poor roads? Yes if the roads round here are anything to go by! Although a full health check before you go is advisable, double checking bushes and replace any that show the slightest sign of wear, front ball joints will take a hammering, they aren’t massively expensive, maybe replace them before you go?

- ditto the transmission Get the oil in the trans changed a month or so before you go, this will a. be a help in the heat and b. if any probs from the change occur they will do so before you go

- can the cooling system cope with the heat and dust? As long as it is in good condition then yes, if you suspect the coolant is old then change it, if you ever get any overheating currently then it will be worse out there, dust is a bigger problem for the air filter, take a spare or two

- are the electronics appropriately sealed from water and dust? Yes, to an extent - safe from water up to the wading depth and a little bit more, the seals on everything as long as intact should be fine for the dust.

- will I be able to get diesel of good enough quality? Not sure on this one, but a diesel is a lot more forgiving of poor quality fuel than a petrol

- what is going to potentially strand the car in the middle of nowhere and end the trip (eg: is EAS failure a disaster or can you continue slowly on the bump stops, if the gearbox throws a wobbly can you still maintain drive even if its only in one gear etc) gearbox failure will either end in limp home mode or no drive at all, engine failure same, EAS will just mean a bumpy ride but doesn’t actually leave you stranded
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Dan, many thanks for taking the trouble to reply! Really appreciate your thoughts. Sounds like you too have faith in the L322! If you know a reputable preparation company please let me know - there is no way I'm going to trust the dealers for this one!

Regards

RRG
 

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RRG said:
Dan, many thanks for taking the trouble to reply! Really appreciate your thoughts. Sounds like you too have faith in the L322! If you know a reputable preparation company please let me know - there is no way I'm going to trust the dealers for this one!

Regards

RRG
You could give Keith Gott a bell: http://www.keithgott.co.uk/ Family friend, and he looks after a couple of our Classics, one with EAS. Not used him myself though as I tend to just bolt things back on when they fall off!
 

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2010-2012 Range Rover MkIII / L322
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One concern will be with the poor fuel standards. It is often contaminated with water and/or kerosene, combined with the usual high sulphur content. A 3.5 V8 Classic would be fine, but a sensitive engine management system and a complicated fuel system will cause problems.

And a second point - if you need a part (and here you may be 100's of km away from a dealer) then double the cost of a UK item - Then add between 50 and 100% for local duty. Then factor in availability (which is presently a BIG issue worldwide anyway with Land Rover at the moment) and you may find you spend much of your safari on the side of the Trans African highway fighting off Somali's or other regional shifta. Saying that though, if you do break down and need a safe place to bed down for a while, get towed to a Mosque. For a small contibution, they'll look after you well and no-one will bother you either.

Personally, I'm happy roughing it out in the bush and travelling around using local transport when I have to. It just doesn't appeal to everyone who thinks the western way of life is the only way of life.
 

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You'll be fine, just watched a tv program about an elderly couple who drove from Cape town to London (UK) in an 80s Rolls Silver Spirit. Kenya, in particular, has many L322s so parts should be available. Most main roads in and south of Kenya all the way to SA are in good condition (relatively). South Sudan / Ethiopia and Northern Kenya are the only places you risk armed bandits, but you will probably get a police escort in many areas or at least an armed guard out of the danger areas. It's easy going once you reach Nairobi.

My 0.02$:
- buy a fuel-water separating funnel (cheap, as used by ga pilots) or install additional filter to your fuel line.
-don't go alone, have another vehicle in convoy
- fit the smallest rim you can and the highest profile, strongest tyres (mud grip is better than a/t if you plan on taking the 'scenic' route). Carry 2 spares as well.
- fit underbody protection and snorkel (if you can find one!)
- carry a fault code reader / diagnostic tool like BBS faultmate etc and good set of tools.
- get contact details for LR dealers or good indy mechanics along the way
- sat phone
- carry spare air spring/damper / compressor; filters etc.
- obtain all paperwork before leaving and leave copies with family and carry some copies yourself.
 

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http://www.cmcmotors.com/contacts.php?subcat=8

I thought CMC also operated further south i.e. Zambia/Malawi etc... but clearly not. Nairobbery may be your best bet for complicated repairs. Ask for 'Shumacher' if you get stuck - he is probably now the main 4x4 expert in East Africa, and uses Autologic. Failing that, ask for Ian Duncan. Although he is a Toyota specialist, he will know where to send you.

Spares can come from various Asian set-ups such as Impala Spares. They (typically) have their fingers in everything and are based in the Industrial Area close to CMC.
 

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Rich998a said:
.... Failing that, ask for Ian Duncan.
THE Ian Duncan? Does he run a garage? There are some very good indys in Nairobi - if you do break down, they'll get you going somehow or the other!

BTW, I think CMC are in Tanzania (Arusha) as well. :thumb:
 

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Discussion Starter #9
There are some really good suggestions here - many thanks. I clearly need to do some more work on quality of fuel supplies en route and how to spot diesel that has been contaminated.

Any recommendations of roof-top tents that work with the L322? And can you get them in the UK?

Regards
RRG
 

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Frankly, the fuel quality in EA is [email protected] During either of the rain seasons you'll get water in the storage tanks in most garages. Kerosene gets added to 'water down' the fuel for profit making reasons.

TBH, don't bother poncing it out with an expensive roof tent. Just get an el cheapo one as chances are you'll appreciate not having a fly sheet over the top of the tent anyway. The 2 man dome tents are best and fold up into a space small enough to store safely inside the vehicle. Having stuff on the roof only makes the car more of a target so best minimise that? Besides, all that extra money you save with the tent you can book into one of the spectacular lodges in Samburu, Shabba or Tsavo. If you fancy talking about some (nice) places to stay up-country in Kenya, I can give you a list.

If I was you, I'd enter in the north (Moyale) and stop in Marsabit and then Samburu - That's probably one of the nicest parks in Kenya. All these parks and reserves have camp sites which are often empty. All you need to do is inform the KWS guys on the gate that you are there and they will probably supply an askari to keep you and the L322 safe. Then drive down towards Mount Kenya and you will pass this location once you hit the tarmac at Isiolo.

Drive up to the met station in the Mount Kenya National Park, camp for a while and then walk up Mount Kenya. Is takes about 1 day to reach the lower lodge. Then get up at 5am and climb to the top. You get to the 3rd highest summit at about 7ish and I promise you that it is the most spectacular sight you've ever seen. Nyeri is OK for a quick sight seeing and then go camp up at the fishing lodge on top of the Aberdares. You'll think you are in the Cairngorms. That's the park that the Rhino Charge sponsors, but is very quiet at the top as the tourist lodges are down below the bamboo line watching the elephants.

Call me or PM me if you want to discuss the rest as I don't know if you want to head up into Uganda or not, but I'd personally do Nairobi, Mombassa (Tiwi Beach - South coast), then Nairobi again, Nakuru, Bogoria & Baringo, Nakuru, Kitale/Elgon (Ebola virus so very quiet and tourist free :shhh: ) and a good test of the L322, Kakamega if there is any tropical rain forest left now. Lake Turkana is fantastic but pretty dangerous - there is a guy called Dave Rowden who runs a field study centre at Kapenguria on the road north of Kitale (for camping+food) and you can get as far as here before the GSU make you turn back, but if you have enough Tusker and/or packets of Sportsmen, you may well wangle an escort up to Lodwar and into the western side of Turkana. Again a test of the L322, but then you'll have seen plenty of sand earlier in the trip... :wink: I'd guess the film 'The constant Gardener' was filmed up there from what I have seen of it, but it is worth the trip as very few pale faces get to see it.

Next you need to think about either Uganda, or entering TZ... Uganda has Jinja for some white water action and also the Queen Elizabeth national park for the Gorillas and/or Guerillas, then Rwanda, Burundi as I think Long Way Down did it? TZ is pretty vast though so probably best to head towards Dar?

By the way, don't forget to ensure you have something for the malaria before you go. When you get into Africa, buy something to treat it like Cotexin, and plenty of that extra strong deet. Read up on treatments before you go and DO listen to what the locals say to do.
 

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I'd say go for it.
We did 5500Km this summer in a little over 3 weeks with our P38. Went off tarmac and
in temperatures of over 40°C, and altitudes up to 2500m.
The car made it with only having to stop frequently at the petrol stations. :lol:
I had my faultmate with me but didn't need it.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Rich, thanks for such a detailed reply and imparting your clearly considerable local knowlwdge of the region... I will come back to you when we get into the route in more detail. I'm trying to resist doing the fun stuff like working out all the great places to go before I've sorted out the critical stuff like how to prepare the car / prepare ourselves!

Been speaking to some people who prepare L322s for overlanding/rallying and the prognosis is good - sounds like they are basically pretty tough and reliable and not far off 'Africa ready' out of the showroom. But I think I now have my answer: YES - it is feasible doing Cairo to Cape in a L322.

The key thing will be wheel/tyre selection, underbody protection and a few other bits and bobs. I'll let you all know how I get on. Should be very interesting.
 

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I don't think I can add much to the suggetions already given, but as I did a lot of desert driving in Egypt and Jordan in the '80's and '90's let me add my two cents worth:

a) I second the advice about finding another vehicle and travelling in convoy. Not necessarily the same vehicle for the whole route, but I don't advise doing any of the off road north African ( Egypt/Sudan) parts on your own.). When I was much younger I did so on an overland trip across the eastern Sahara from near the Libyan border to the Nile, and I wouldn't do it on my own again.

b) nobody mentioned a compass, but I would think about a good dash -mounted one to supplement the off road nav feature, plus of course a pocket one.

c) winch and tow ropes

d) blanket to cover your windshield in a sandstorm

e) a sense of humour

Have fun. Wish I could come with you, but family circumstances don't allow.
 

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FrogIsland 4x4 in Uk has done L322 expedition preparations.
I got my SD roof rack from them.
 

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Sounds very interesting - please keep us updated.

I don't know if this is as much of an issue with the LM as with the P38 or if it can be manipulated as on a 38, but I would turn off a good number of the alarm functions above all the immobilization. Last thing you need miles from nowhere is an argument with the body control module over whether or not you're authorized to start the engine...

RRG said:
Been speaking to some people who prepare L322s for overlanding/rallying and the prognosis is good - sounds like they are basically pretty tough and reliable and not far off 'Africa ready' out of the showroom. But I think I now have my answer: YES - it is feasible doing Cairo to Cape in a L322.

The key thing will be wheel/tyre selection, underbody protection and a few other bits and bobs. I'll let you all know how I get on. Should be very interesting.
Do you have any names? Websites?

cheers,
Steve
 

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RRG said:
Rich, thanks for such a detailed reply and imparting your clearly considerable local knowlwdge of the region... I will come back to you when we get into the route in more detail. I'm trying to resist doing the fun stuff like working out all the great places to go before I've sorted out the critical stuff like how to prepare the car / prepare ourselves!

Been speaking to some people who prepare L322s for overlanding/rallying and the prognosis is good - sounds like they are basically pretty tough and reliable and not far off 'Africa ready' out of the showroom. But I think I now have my answer: YES - it is feasible doing Cairo to Cape in a L322.

The key thing will be wheel/tyre selection, underbody protection and a few other bits and bobs. I'll let you all know how I get on. Should be very interesting.
See you in the Cape, then :D
 

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Google Boundless Sa I asited their team on a couple of their legs one of the team drove a range rover.I stay in sothern namibia and run a guest lodge let me know if you need to book accomodation or need any assistance I stay in a town called Rosh Pinah about 800km south of Whindhoek tar roads all the way and the fuel is great.
 

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For whats its worth,

I drove UK to South Africa 3 years back but I did the west coast, this route is not for the feint hearted, if you like smooth tarred roads go east coast, skip Uganda, do Zambia, if you want to go via Etypt ? then be preparred to pay big bucks for getting 4x4 through as bonds can be as much as 400% of value, I kid you not

Weather is critical if you dont want to get stuck and hate mud like I do, research is key on weather patterns.

What do I regret not having...a fridge, when its hot you'll drink tons, went through western sahara and it was average 50c in mali at night it was 36-40c bottled water is as hot as a kettle.

and toilet paper is worth more than Gold.....you cant get it and if you can be prepared to fork out for it.
Medication is important, include emergency malaria treatment, normally 16 tablets at once, ask me I got in Angola, aint nice, even though it was mild.

Border crossings, good luck....
 
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