. . . AROUND THE WORLD 2001/02
Africa 1999
Around-the-World 2001/02

The Team

Jeff Willner
1. Start: Recipe for Adventure
2. Zimbabwe: Hyperinflation
3. Namibia: Southern Circuit
4. South Africa: Circuit 2
5. Zambia/Malawi: Sketches
7. Kenya: Bandit Country
8. Ethiopia: Diary
9. Ethiopia: Border Run
10. Sudan: Across the Sahara
11. Egypt: Cape to Cairo
12. Jordan/Syria: Sept. 11th
13. Turkey: Hospitality
14. Bulgaria/Romania/ Hungary
15. Slovakia/Austria/Poland
16. The Baltics & Russia
17. Scandinavia
18. Western Europe
19. Brazil: Clearning Customs
20. Argentina: Revolution
21. Argentina: To Ushuaia
22. Patagonia Disaster
23. Buenos Aires Beautiful
24. Uruguay: Beaches
25. Chile: Expedition Life
26. Bolivia: Atacama
27. Peru: Transit
28. Galapagos: Gorgeous
29. Ecuador: Jungle Run
30. Knifepoint
31. Dubai: Lay over
32. Singapore/Malaysia
33. Thailand: Hospitality
34. Cambodia: Ankor Wat
35. Vietnam: Hanoi & Halong
36. Laos: Back to Basics
37. China: Beijing Tour
38. China: Shanxi
39. China: Western Province
40. China: Tibet
41: Nepal: Mountains
42. India: Driving Struggle
43. Pakistan: Dodging War
44. Iran: Overcharging
45. End: One Last Laugh

Sally DeFina
1. Cape Town: Robben Island
2. Zanzibar: Mike & I
3. Kenya: African Driving School
4. Sudan: Mud Crossing
5. Patagonia: Goodbye Max
6. Malaysia: Mike Update
7. Thailand: Ko Phangan
8. Cambodia: Phnom Penh
9. Vietnam: By Train
10. Laos: Vang Vieng
11. China: Meet Mr. Chen

Jody Finver
1. Start: Surreal Solipse
2. Great Zimbabwe
3. Brokedown in Kenyan Desert
4. Egypt: So Should I Hyphenate
5. Poland: Home is Where the Truck Is

Gulin Akoz
1. Start: Bits and Pieces
2. Zambia: Diaries
3. Egypt: Africa Memories
4. Turkey: For Your Information
5. The Team and The Bean
6. Somebody Else's Child
7. On My Own
8. Long Lost Memories of Childhood
9. The Tree and the Boy
10. Jealous
11. The Aftermath


Panamerican 2003
Various Trips
Planning an Expedition


Kensington Tours can help you plan your own expedition anywhere in the world.




#11 - Cape Town to Cairo
Jeff Willner - 8 September 2001

Cape to Cairo, one of the most fabled overland routes in the world, evokes a spectrum of exotic images; desert, jungles, massive rivers, wild animals, and dark tribal faces. For almost two decades it has been almost impossible to drive the entire route due to political challenges. But recently, improved relations between Kenya, Ethiopia, and Sudan, re-opened the path. Stretching over 13,000km, through eleven countries, it is an unforgettable trip.

We left Cape Town on July 8 and arrived in Cairo on September 8, exactly two months on the road. An average of four days each week were devoted to driving. In southern Africa where the roads are good we were able to cover up to a thousand kilometers a day and border crossings took about an hour. But north of Nairobi and through Ethiopia and Sudan the expedition was more challenging. On the worst sections of road we averaged twenty kilometers per hour, and unexpected delays slowed us down - we were delayed a week in Ethiopia for our Sudanese visas to be processed and waited another week in Sudan for the cargo ferry to depart for Egypt.

Our experience in Egypt didn't start well. It took a full day to clear customs, pay an unexpected $250 import fee (despite having a Carnet de Passage for Egypt), and register for Egyptian license plates (required). Despite the early frustrations, Egypt's amazing historical sites and modern infrastructure provided a great ending to the trans-Africa run. It sounds cliché, but after the deprivation of North Africa, when we ate dinner at McDonalds in Luxor we were giddy with excitement. After seeing Ramses temple in Abu Simbel and the tombs of the Pharaohs in Luxor, we joined the military convoy to Hurghada on the Red Sea coast (all tourist traffic and historical sites are carefully protected by military guards). Ridiculously low off-season rates convinced us to stay at the Sheraton resort in El Gouna for two days and we lounged in five-star comfort, soaking away the accumulated stress of the trip (though the traffic in Cairo has packed some back on again).

To write about all the best and worst of the trip would take too much space. But we all got together to compile this list with our own personal highlights…

Best Sights
Sally: "Wildebeest migration in Masai Mara"
Jeff: "After two tries, seeing the top of Kilimanjaro on a clear morning"
Jody: "The Great Zimbabwe site at night, stargazing on the summit of the king's mountain"
Gulin: "Three rainbows in the mist of Victoria Falls"

Worst Accommodations
Gulin & Jeff: Blue Nile Sailing Club, "Night of a thousand mosquito bites"
Jody: Municipal Camp, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, "I've seen nicer prisons"
Sally: Hostel, Lalibela, Ethiopia "I had to beg ½ hr for a bucket of hot water"

Best Meals
Jody: "Seafood cooked on the pier" at Stone Town, Zanzibar, Tanzania
Sally: "Indian food at the Sheraton Hotel", Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Jeff: "Half a dozen dinners at Trattoria", Nairobi, Kenya
Gulin: "Red Sea fish at Belgian Café", Hurghada, Egypt

Most Terrifying Moments
Jody: "Driving in downtown Cairo at night."
Sally & Jeff: "Driving through the Sahara in Northern Sudan"
Gulin: "Almost hitting a man that jumped in front of the truck in Ethiopia"

Best Activities
Jody: "Gorge swing in Victoria Falls. Though sandboarding in Namibia was a close second."
Sally: "Sailing with Mike on Lake Malawi"
Jeff: "Off-road driving through the muck in Southern Sudan"
Gulin: "Going for a walk with the hyenas in Wadi Halfa"

Worst Roads
Southern Sudan (Gallabat to Gedaref), "Mud washouts so big there were five-ton trucks sunk four feet deep, abandoned like shipwrecks"
Northern Sudan (Berber to Wadi Halfa), "Absolute desolation, 120 degree heat, and soft sand - a fearsome drive"
Northern Kenya (Marsabit to Moyale), "One hundred kilometers of rocks pounded us numb, snapping one shock absorber completely in half"

Worst Toilet
Jody, Sally, Gulin: "Ethiopia - the entire country"

Sublime Moment of Civilization
Gulin, Sally: "Immaculate tile shower with glass doors at the Sheraton Miramar Resort" in El Gouna, Egypt
Jody: "Big Mac, chocolate shake, fries, and an apple pie at McDonalds" in Luxor
Jeff: "Three letters - KFC" in Cairo

Funniest Moment
Sally: 'I am strongly desirous of a kiss' Sudanese man to Sally, Khartou
Jody: Jeff to checkpoint soldier attempting to get a bribe 'I don't have $50 but I can give you threeee pens!" (the soldier took the pens and let us go) in Malawi
Jeff: 'I think you left the handbrake on' A mechanic in South Africa to Jeff, diagnosing the smoke that had been pouring from under the truck

More Trip Data…
Countries: South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, Sudan, Egypt

Highlights: Cape Town, Stellenbosh, the Garden Route (South Africa), Sosusvlei Sand Dunes, Etosha Game Park (Namibia), Chobe Game Park (Botswana), the Great Zimbabwe (Zimbabwe), Victoria Falls (Zambia), Lake Malawi (Malawi), Zanzibar, Kilimanjaro & Ngorongoro Crater (Tanzania), Masai Mara Game Park (Kenya), Lalibela, Gondor, Bahar Dar (Ethiopia), Meroe (Sudan), Abu Simbel, Luxor, Hurghada, Giza (Egypt)

Unexpectedly Crucial Equipment: Iridium satellite phone (cost $350 and $1.30/min) three times when we broke down in the middle of nowhere, Foley Land Rover was able to troubleshoot the problem over the phone and advise on a patch to get us going again

Cost per person: approx. $4,000 for the two month trip

Over the next two weeks we will travel through the Middle East; Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, and Turkey, to Istanbul. There are still many kilometers left to travel before we arrive in Toronto next year, but Africa was our first major hurdle, and it feels great to have it done.


Copyright January 1999-2011
All rights reserved - Jeff Willner
Contact: jeffwillner@yahoo.com