January 2004-2020 16 years on the road

Hi all,

16 years on the road travelling around the world.

Last Monday, January 6 2020, it was 16 years ago we left on our 5 year around the world tour. Starting with a small mailing list of around 100 friends & family we now have a list of nearly 2000 people from all around the world.

Biggest changes we have seen in 16 years of overlanding. From mud maps to Gps, From Tracks for Africa (2009) to Garmin, from finding your own camp spots to lately using I-overlander, Maps me, Google maps. From HF Radio (Flying Doctor and VKS) to Satellite Phone and now iPhone and local sim cards. From amazingly rude attitudes by some people on forums (happened to me for the first time this week when I asked for a response re a campsite as the price was double of what we had been paying sofar!) to a lack of research by many would be travellers resulting in many of the same questions being asked. From lots of questions being asked and answered by me, but no response, no “thank you”, no sharing any of their own experiences.  It also appears no one likes to read long detailed blogs anymore? (it must be me getting old and out of touch).

Areas Explored so far:

Africa, South East Asia, Middle East, Australia, Russia, Mongolia, China, India, Pakistan and Iran. Last 3 years we are exploring South America.

For more details click our latest update.

For the video compilation Part 1 to 5 click http://www.doubledutchworldsafari.com.au/video-gallery/round-the-world-compilation/

For other videoclips go to Popular pages and click video’s

Coming Up Video clip 16 years around the world in 16 minutes

We started off with a Landcruiser 100 series, (4600 KG when loaded) fully optioned with all the aftermarket gear available and 6.9-liter turbo Chevy. After the roof top tent came the Off-road Caravan. (easy to leave behind when going real off road) Next (2008) came the upgrade to a mid-size truck (Fuso FG 84 4×4 off road motorhome weighing 7000KG   it did not take long before we realized that overlanding is not off road climbing mountains, sand dunes, doing rallies  or doing hill climbs on 4wd weekends. Hence we upgraded again (2012 till current) the Mercedes Atego 4×4 motorhome, a 12000KG beast with lots of comfort, space and room for the scooter inside, offering more luxury and travelling 9 months of the year, this became our second house. 

WHAT VEHICLE NEXT? Who knows, but like we downsized from our hugh house this year to  smaller one, we will do the same with the truck once we reach Alaska. It could become a luxury 2WD motorhome so we can explore Europe, or possibly a mid sized truck like an Iveco Daily 4×4 so we can do another around Australia trip. Time will tell.  

An amazing journey which is still in progress, sofar 480000km, meeting the most incredible people.

Most memorable moments: Meeting the Pygmy people in Uganda, spending time with a Mongolian family in a yurt, spending time in a Lao village, the gorillas in Rwanda, Lions and Elephants around our bush camp in Africa, a giraffe who came to visit us sticking his neck under our awning. Camping with the Kalahari Bushman, meeting the head hunters in Borneo and Kalimantan, meeting the Mursi people in Ethiopia, walking with chimpanzee’s in Zambia, amazing scenery Tajikistan and Tibet, Potala Palace in Lhasa, Wildebeest Migration in Kenya, seeing Mt Everest, Extreme 4WD Driving with Iceland 4WD club (Iceland Interior) including drive to the top of volcano Eyjafjallakull in Toyota Landcruiser’s and F350. (Not with our truck), Dakar lead up and the race in Peru 2019 (A lifelong wish), Galapagos Islands.

Most scary moments: being escorted from the Wakhan Valley (Tajikistan)  by soldiers to their compound  in the middle of the night from our bush camp on the border with Afghanistan, not knowing if they were Taliban or Tajik soldiers. Being escorted out of Mozambique in convoy to Zimbabwe during unrest, being stuck in Quetta (Pakistan) during bombings waiting for permit to leave the city to drive to the Iran border.   

Most emotional moments: The killing fields in Cambodia, meeting the survivors and those who lost their loved ones and children during the Tsunami in Thailand, meeting the children who lost their parents during the Genocide in Rwanda and live in the same street as those responsible, the Rwanda burial grounds, visiting the war cemetery in Al Alamein (Egypt), Sandakan (Sabah), visiting the bridge over the River Kwai and surrounding cemetery  (Thailand), the Concentration Camp Auschwitz (Poland), visiting Gallipoli & Anzac cove.

Biggest mistakes we made: listening to all those who never travelled overland around the world but always had the information from someone else,all the spare parts we purchased and never used.

Best decisions we made: Accepting the fact that our Off-Road Club trips with our 4WD club were very different than travelling overland around the world. The upgrades from small to large vehicle, buy a scooter for sightseeing and shopping allowing us to park outside of towns in the bush without having to pack up and move. Advice given by Camperbouw to store the scooter inside the truck, keep all electrical and other stuff old fashioned and simple so it can be repaired by any mechanic around the world. Purchasing a truck with a short wheelbase (3650mm), a great turning circle and easy to drive on narrow bush tracks.

Best Campfire Discussions: Tyres and what size, Foreign aid and the waste of money, Climate change (is it really changing?). Since records began in Australia in 1888 temperatures have reached every year over 50 degrees, in the 19 sixties even 53.9 degrees. Bushfires have been around forever well controlled by the local aborigines. Unfortunately now clearing the bush, having back burning done like in the old days, is bad for the environment!!!!!! Hence all bush is overgrown, and this will burn taking the wildlife with it. About time those who supported this to chain themselves to a tree.  (I know I am being sarcastic)        

Most asked Questions

  1. Is it safe, yes, it is. I would think the USA is the most dangerous place in the world with most murders and shootings/bombings happening since we started travelling? I am only aware of 5 overlanders being violently killed in the 16 years of travelling around the world. 2 in Mexico (Bicycle riders) and 2 in Mali (Timbuctoo) one German and one South African. One in Australia just North of Alice Springs.
  2. You are A- technical, how did you cope with breakdowns? Simple, call into a garage. But most important keep your vehicle in top condition and service it to death. I recommend 100.000KM service before you leave, new tyres and new suspension that can handle the weight of the vehicle. It may sound sarcastic, but I seem to always walk into people with vehicle issues who service the vehicle themselves while walking around in overalls.  Stick with a well know brand IE Landcruiser, Mercedes, MAN or Nissan. As for tyres, do your research and pick a brand available in the region you are travelling. (Michelin XZL are not one of them)
  3. What spare parts do you carry? I used to carry everything I was told I should carry, only to realize that after 4 years of travelling I still had all the parts in the truck ($10.000.00 worth) and the ones I required we did not have?. Now we carry no spare parts anymore except a few hoses and fan belts.
  4. Which country did you like most? Very hard to answer. If it was a one-off trip (annual Leave) It would be South Africa. If it is a 6-month overland trip it would be East Africa, if it would be 12 months it would be the whole of Africa. To summarize: our favourite continent by far is AFRICA, second would be Central-East and South Asia, Including India-Pakistan-Nepal and Iran and South America would be our last choice.
  5. Why South America your last choice? It has beautiful scenery, is very sophisticated, good roads, well organized, safe and friendly people. For those still a little scared about overlanding I suppose a great continent to start. But it misses the adventure, wildlife, excitement and culture of Africa, not to mention the wild camping amongst all the animals. Please note we have not yet visited Central and North America.

websites I am using and lots of information

Personal Friends: http://www.goannatracks.com/Home.html Kym and Lynn Bolton, http://www.guidebooks.com.au/about.htm Ron and Viv Moon, https://www.amworldtour.nl/ Atte and Marijke Schaaf, Flying High for kids (He drives my old Fuso around the world)

Other very professional and informative websites:

If you think our 16 years is impressive have a look at Emil and Liliane Schmid ( I believe with 34 years on the road they are the world record holders)http://weltrekordreise.ch/a_startd.html

Other Very impressive Websites with lots of information we have used for information are:

Landcruiser adventure, https://landcruisingadventure.com/ (also on the road for 16 years) Jan Van Bekkum, http://www.deeindervoorbij.nl/ Julie and Marcus Tuck,  https://www.tuckstruck.net/ Sabine and Rallo Armsen, The Hubb, Arend & Akkie (truck travel) Joop and Adrie, Ton Peters, Expedition Portal, Recently Ioverlander and since we are in South America Pan American Travellers association.  (Facebook)

For all those on our WhatsApp list and mailing list please note you have also given us lots of info which we have in return passed on. (The Ecuador trouble is just the last example)

For the video compilation Part 1 to 5 click http://www.doubledutchworldsafari.com.au/video-gallery/round-the-world-compilation/

For other videoclips go to Popular pages and click video’s