The Old Farts Hit Bots! By Eric McMillan
It all started when Garth from PMB joined the Club and one of the first questions he asked was “is anyone going to Botswana”? Yes I am, I said without even thinking about it. You see I have this weakness that if anybody mentions some exotic place, I have to go. This was one of the trips that I had been thinking about and had long ago armed myself with Veronica Roodt’s tourist Map of Botswana. I admit this map and guide was almost worn out before we went on the trip.
The timing of the trip had to be in winter and had to be before the birth of Garth’s first grandchild. This meant that the dates were late May/ early June. I had had enough of the Salt mine and all its problems and a break was definitely needed.
Things started to hot up when Gaby and Leslie phoned to say they would tolerate us and come along, this was good news as they are good fun and pretty laid back when the going is not all lavender and roses. I sent Fred some photos of some exotic birds to be seen and he did not offer too much resistance.
Pre-trip and planning meetings were held to sort things out but these were more of a social gathering as my attitude was “ag! we will sort it out when we get there” I am under the impression that the others all felt the same. One thing we had to do was book into the game parks and Goby through his friends Simon and Joyce organised that for us.
Bots is a long- long way and about a thousand ks before you get to Martins Drift. The border formalities were pretty straightforward and we found the officials very helpful and polite. Our first over-night stop was to be Kubu Island but near Serowe the alternator on Garth’s 110 said howzit and when he stopped and opened the bonnet there was a flame coming out of it. That was that, no alternator means no fan, no water pump and no power steering resulting in a landy that cannot go. The decision was to tow it to the Rhino Sanctuary outside Serowe and effect repairs the next day. Serowe sports a Midas shop so a universal alternator was purchased. This is not a direct replacement as the shaft is a smaller diameter and the bottom-mounting lug does not quite fit. An adaptor bush was made for us in the machine shop at the local training center. The trials and tribulation we suffered to get this done is a whole story by itself. The alty was eventually fitted and we were on our way, by this time we were running a day late on our schedule.
We got to the edge of Sowa pan late in the afternoon, as it is getting dark. The pan is about a 100 by 40ks and Kubu Island is not visible to us, as we do not know how to identify it. Luckily the coordinates are programmed into the GPS and it is reassuring to look at the animated road screen on the GPS and see Kubu straight ahead. The surface looks like cement and the dust gets in everywhere. It is already dark by the time we get to the campsite and we are surprised to be met by two game guards riding bicycles. These days one has to pay to camp there and it is quite expensive by our standards also the only facility is a long drop. Kubu is a very interesting place and needs more exploring, next time.
Next day we are off to Maun to stay at Simon and Joyce’s place. They are delightful people and made us very welcome. Their camp is beautifully kept and they also run their own tour guide business. Their knowledge of Bots is extensive and they passed on quite a few tips. One of the highlights was to go and have look at the local river starting to flow. This is normally a dry river but with all the rain in Angola the delta had filled up and was pushing water into the rivers.
Shaun and Twane
Palmer Westville Defender 90 TD5
Monica Merle Umzumbe Freelander 5door Petrol
Gregory and Sharon Labuscagne Mt Edgecombe Defender 110 TD5 HT
Remember it’s your club and you will get out of it what you want to. You have purchased THE BEST 4 x 4 x FAR and now its time to use it. See you at the next club event.
Club Dates For Your Diary
|When||What, where||More Info.|
|Sunday 31 Oct||Cumberland, near PMB||
Cumberland is a private nature reserve near “Table Mountain” outside PMB. Meet at PMB Land Rover at 09h30 for 10h00. Some hiking trails, birding and a BYO braai for lunch. No 4x4 trails and suitable for all Land Rovers. Give Peter Basset a call for more info.
|NEW DATE 27-28 Nov||Eston Farmers Club GATES & TRAIL||
Saturday. Gates event at the Quarry site above the Club. Camp over at the club on Saturday night. Sunday. A trail ride around the farms in the area on part of the route used by the Sugar Belt 400 off road race. More info below.
|13–20 Nov||3 Passes Lesotho||
Drive 3 old passes in Lesotho. Baboons, Letele’s and Rampai’s. A serious 4x4 trip for serious people. Give Louie Powell a call for more info.
Cell : 0836828717
South Western area of Lesotho. If interested give george a call.
|20-22 Jan 2005||Duzi Canoe Marathon||
Spend 3 days in the Umgeni Valley helping out with marshalling. More fun than work. Give Henry a call for more info. Cell : 0829220370
|Feb 2005||LROC KZN 16th AGM||
More info to follow
PLEASE NOTE NEW DATE Eston Farmers Club. GATES & TRAIL 27-28 November 2004.
The Eston Farmers Club has offered the LROC the use of the Club Grounds and full ablutions for a weekend camp over.
On Saturday the LROC will organise a Gates event in the Quarry area above the club. Attempt the obstacles or watch others have fun. The Gate’s event to start at 12h30.
Saturday evening will be a braai at R45.00 per head organised by the Eston Farmers Club. The braai will consist of Wors, Chop, Steak, 2 salads and a roll. Saturday evening will be a social in the Club Bar with the LROC showing a few off road and driver training videos etc on the TV.
Breakfast on Sunday will be in the Eston Club at R17.50 per head OR book before 18 November and pay a deposit of R50.00 per vehicle and your breakfast will be covered by the LROC.(Members only). The R50.00 deposit will go towards your braai on Saturday night. You cannot loose unless you book and do not turn up.
The trail on Sunday with the local farmers will be around the farms in the Eston area, following part of the Sugar Belt 400 Off Road Race route. Trail will start from the Eston Club at 09h00.
Its going to be a good weekend and booking is essential before Thursday 18 November. Come on guys lets support the Eston Farmers Club as the farmers are going out of their way to accommodate the LROC.
PLEASE NOTE. The event will only take place if we have a least 20 vehicles and payment of the R50.00 per vehicle is received by the 18th November. Give George Goswell or Peter Bassett a call for more info.
· Howling moon rooftop tent, 2-man, used only 20 nights, as new. R3000. Contact Dave 083-508-3795, or 031-266-1361 or firstname.lastname@example.org
1988 Land Rover 110 V8 S/W, 5
Speed, A/C, P/S. New tyres, rebuilt gearbox, stainless steel exhaust, weber
carb, long range fuel tank. 207 000kms. Free bullbar & tubular rear bumper.
Contact Kevin (082) 466 8814. (031) 566 3347(h)
1. ADE 236 Diesel engine,
engine mountings, flywheel and adaptor plate to a Santana gearbox R12
2. 15" alloy rims x4 R2000.00 Contact :Jan Cell: 0828243030
· DIFF LOCKER: 10 Spline ARB for Land Rover Defender / Series 1 Discovery. Was 3 months in vehicle, used once. R7500 o.n.c.o Contact Mario 0833200244 021-9504208
· LAND ROVER Discovery: Aluminium roofrack. R.2300. 082-9057068
· LAND ROVER: Discovery series. 2 nudgebars. Black R.600 ea or R.1000 both. Set of original rubber mats for Discovery Series 2. Worth R.1300. Asking R.650. 082-9203402
· Land Rover Defender 90/110 roofrack. Black Aluminium. Not full sized. Can’t take rooftop tent. Ideal for loose items such as tents, chairs , jerrycans or wolfpaks. R.1000 not neg. Garsf 082-5561191-
· LAND Rover 300 Tdi 110 CSW: 1996. Roofrack, Tbar, long range tank & dual battery system plus more. FSH, 1 Owner. R.95000. 083-6271153
· LAND ROVER TDi 2.5: 1997. Good cond. Bargain. R.70000. 083-4632228
· LAND ROVER 2.25 Petrol LWB: 1968, drive-away. R.7800. 031-5057118
· LAND ROVER 4spd gearbox: Good cond. R.1200. 082-7833929
2000 Land Rover Discovery TD5
XS Auto Features: FSH by L/R dealer, radio/tape, a/c, p/s, e/w, ABS,
2 x airbags, 2 x sunroof, alarm/imb, Traction Control, Hill Descent Control,
Self levelling air suspension (rear) & Active Cornering Enhancement
Extras include: CD shuttle, bulbar, spots, L/R t/bar, full length L/R
rubber mats, Melville & Moon seat covers 92 700 km Excellent condition &
well looked after by love & caring owner. R225 000 onco
Willie van der Vyver Tel. +27 12 678 2500 Cell. +27 82 897 1923 E-mail: email@example.com
· Land Rover s/wagon, roof & sides with backdoor, R.2,500, 2x s/wagon rear sidedoors, R.750 each. Ph 082-8523477
Land Rover 1984 series 3 R6
Original 2.6L 6 Cyl engine, Roof Rack , Bull bar, Spot lights, Light
protectors , Long range tank, Dual Battery's , Hi lift jack , OME suspension
, Excellent Condition , R50 000.00 neg,
LAND ROVER 2.25 Petrol LWB: 1968. Drive away. R.6000. Tel. Colin. 031-5057118
· LAND Rover Series 2A: 3 Complete engines. Good cond. R.1200 each or R.3600 for all. Complete rear and front axle. Exc cond R.1200 each or R.2400 for all. (Middelburg). 013-2434648
· LAND ROVER DISCOVERY 1: Differential centre portion R.500 onco. 083-5543432
· LAND ROVER Discovery TD 5 Bonnet. R.1500 072-9666759
· Land Rover Series 3: Manifold. R.500. 082-4900579Contact Jason 082 416 1274
· Land Rover Series 3 S (1983) With Nissan LD 28 Diesel Engin Conversion Extras: Rear Salisbury Axle and 5x Series 2A Rims Selling Price: R35 000 Contact: Pieter Jacobs - 082 781 3626
HYBRID TOPLESS SHORTY FOR
SALE SI – Body SIII – Chassis 2.5 Chevy engine Beautiful rims with
very good tyres
Licensed and in good overall condition Asking R25 000.00 negotiable. CONTACT Alex McCormick 082 412 8847
· Land Rover Series 2/3 Spares - Canvas Canopy for LWB bakkie, also fits Defender - R1500. 2x front doors complete R500 each. Contact Shane 082-8565194
· LAND Rover Canopy Series 3: R.500 onco. 072-6064224
· Land Rover Series 3 LWB: Front & rear diffs, engine, gearbox complete, chassis body for spares. R.2500. 072-5620392
· Paul Chantler is looking for the following :
1. Anyone have a Hi Lift jack they want to get rid of.
2. 110 V8 Inlet manifold complete with SU Carbs and all relevant attachments for air cleaner system and carb linkages. Willing to purchase or to swop. I have an Oeffenhauser manifold with two barrel Holley carb.
3. Compressor mounting bracket for the 3.5 V8
Give Paul Chantler a call 0837447072
· I would like become part of the club, but the first thing that I a trying to do is obtain Series 3 landrover, preferably a LWB 5 door, 3 door or bakkie, in original condition. I am more interested in the 2.25 than the 2.6 side vale and R6. However I am open to suggestions when it comes to the pros and cons of the different engines.
Contact Jayce Lane 033-3454516 Cell 0828055788 firstname.lastname@example.org
From earlier . . . Old Farts ……
After two days in Maun we are off to Moremi to camp at Xakanaka. Not far out of Maun we start to enter the mompani shrub area shortly after that we start seeing game, first of all buck and then giraffe and eventually elephant. These seem to be huge guys and very dark in colour. We do not take the “mainish” road, as there does not appear to be a main road but venture onto the little side roads that eventually end back on the “mainish” road. It is on one of these detours that we see a vehicle in the middle of the track with people madly waving their arms for us to stop. It turned out that they had been stuck for twenty-six hours, most of it during the night. I had the impression they did not enjoy it, with lions, elephants and other nasties lurking about. A quick tow got them unstuck and then Goby noticed that the front wheels were not driving. They had borrowed the vehicle and the owner had not told them to lock the front hubs. They stuck to us like glue until they reached their campsite at third bridge. The devil thorns at the campsites play havoc with our bare feet and seem to find their way in between your slops and soles of your feet. Goby seems to be immune and carries on walking kaal-foot until he hits a patch with both feet. Unfortunately a camera is not at hand to record the antics. Later on, paper thorns become a problem and attach themselves to just about everything that you have and your shoes look as if you have rope soles.
The evenings at the campsites are extremely pleasant, with a large fire, a couple of toots and good conversation we do not get to bed too early. The campsites in Bots are not fenced and beasts have the run of the place. During one of these evenings we hear a movement in the bush and next thing a very large elephant walks through the campsite about ten meters from us. Another evening the hyenas are a real nuisance and lurk just outside the firelight, they were after the meat that we were cooking. Garth had the experience of a buffalo falling against his tent and then mooching round with its stomach rumbling and belching, he no doubt lay very still and did not venture out. Somebody left a bottle of cooking oil outside, the next day we found the bottle, chewed to pieces and licked absolutely clean; I guess something had a hell of a stomach ache the next day.
The road from Sauvuti to Chobe follows the Chobe River and has many loops, which are on the riverbank. We called these the beach roads and there is an abundance of game to be seen. Most of the time we have the place to ourselves. The GPS was named George and this was invaluable providing fixes, showing distances and bearings. The signs in the game reserves are few and far between and some have been destroyed, I guess by elephants. The ablution block at Chobe is fortified so that the elies don’t destroy the place and pull the taps out of the ground.
Close to Chobe villiage the vehicles are taken out diff lock after nearly seven Hundred kilometers of sometimes heavy sand driving. I used low ratio quite a bit as a lot of the work could be done using third, fourth and fifth rather than first and second in high ratio. We spent a couple of days at Chobe village and managed a trip to Vic Falls. There was a lot of water in the Zambezi causing a lot of spray and limiting the view. Curios, if you are into them are very cheap as the Zim people are struggling and will exchange almost anything you can offer.
After Chobe, it is almost a straight road to Francis town and the border at Stockport.
They say once you have had Botswana sand in your shoes you will always return. I have found this to be true and want to visit the Central Kalahari Game Reserve next year. Anyone want to come along?
Summary and some tips:
Total Distance traveled +- 6500 kilometers
Time for trip: Two and a half weeks.
Cost +-R7000 Take about a 1000BP (Botswana Pula. R1.4 = 1BP) with you from here, you can draw from the Auto Tellers up there if you have a Visa Card (Standard Bank Auto-bank cards do not work up there)
You can also use your Credit Card to buy fuel, food etc.
There are Spar shops in all the towns so it is not necessary to take large amount of food or drinks from here or to cart them around there.
I always take water from Durban when I go anywhere. Sixty liters was more than enough for the two of us. All the camps had running water.
Meat and dairy products: We found the inspections at the vet fences inconsistent as sometimes your vehicle would be searched and sometimes not. At times your shelf milk or margarine would be confiscated while your fresh milk and butter would be left. Meat is available at the Spar shops.
Do not have a leak in sight of any official, this is considered to be indecent and you could be fined.
Fuel is available just about anywhere in Bots and is cheaper than here so if you had a range of 700ks that would be more than enough for lots of off the beaten track stuff and between fuel stops.
TWO, THEN 6 DAYS IN NIGERIA, AUDITING ON SECURITY!! By Dave King
18th July 2004: Sunday.
Depart from Durban on internal flight for Johannesburg, after a traumatic time over the last three days trying to obtain a Nigeria visa. Letter of introduction was not forthcoming until the 15th PM – 1745hrs. Visa application had already been submitted, but we were told that it would take 4 days to process after all the correct papers had been submitted. This was to include the elusive letter of introduction. When received, the letter (faxed) was forwarded to the travel agents who then forwarded it through to the visa experts, who had contact with somebody, who knew somebody in high places. This of course would cost a bundle of money, but we were under pressure from abroad. Mid-day 16th, told that the visa had been granted and that my passport would be couriered to me at home on the Sat. 17th, which was duly done.
Back to the 18th, with visa duly pasted in the passport, and on my way. At 1500 hrs boarded an ageing SAA Jumbo 747. I thought this was a big plane for the run however it was apparent that most people on this run prefer to book 1st / business class, and therefore seating is required to accommodate the numbers. In the end, there were quite a few on board, +- 2/3 full which was surprising, with a lot of S. African Caucasians going out on contract work. I had a good seat next to the door, and with a selection of films, I chose one about a desert race on horseback. With the compulsory meals, some of which was tipped over me by my fellow traveler, the 6 hours soon passed. On landing one realizes where the old fleet of SAA jumbos are posted to prior to retirement, as the landing gear, and in fact the whole aircraft complained bitterly with loosened rivets and screws undoing yet another quarter turn. The crew was unperturbed
Immigration formalities were tedious and thorough, but all in order. Outside the Lagos airport, we were faced with a sea of indigenous prospective clients, all offering their services, but luckily I was told to look for a sign being held aloft – Hull Blythe, the shipping agents assigned to my welfare. I always thought Nigerians drove on the left side of the road. I still wonder, anyway, needless to say I ended up behind the wheel of the Prado before realizing my folly. I swapped places with the driver, which was just as well, as the driving in this part of the world requires an extended course on fun fair dodgem-cars, and good peripheral vision, all embraced with nerves of steel. The vehicle was impressive until we hit the first pothole within a few meters of setting out, when the true state of the suspension was revealed. This strengthened my views that even other vehicles are prone to wear and tare, and not only Landies! The car lights were also rather suspect, and as there are no street lights, road markings, traffic laws, traffic lights or any other modern means of traffic assistance normally found in built up areas of congestion, along with the hazards of pot holes, which were provided in abundance, any driving experience at speed was exciting.
It is typical Africa north of the Limpopo, (north?) where the relevant county’s population converges into the cities, forever expanding them with hoards of people, shanties, rubbish, un-roadworthy vehicles (in the normal sense of the word) and a myriad of motorcycles. Being Sunday, most of the side roads were jammed packed with parked lorries waiting in the vicinity of various depots, to start their deliveries early the next morning. Trucks, Containers, Tankers, etc, etc.
On arrival at the hotel (guest House with 12 rooms) behind a walled and locked solid steel gate, I booked in with the patronage obviously having waited up for me, as it was now 2200 hrs. The room was large, air-conditioned, with en-suite and a dud TV. Very African, and a very hard mattress on the bed, but I slept well, and although the paint was peeling in places, I soon got used to the ‘feel’. Better than Nacala where I had done a previous trip, although even there I got used to the place!
19th July Monday.
I had arranged to be picked up at 0600 hrs the following morning to be taken to the domestic air terminal. The driver arrived at 0610 hrs and off we went. I had been a little apprehensive during the night about being able to purchase a ticket to Port Harcourt in time. On entering the airport zone, the driver had to pay an entrance fee. Why?. I don’t know. Well, he didn’t have any money, and after a few choice superlatives, which even I knew what he meant, we were ushered to one side to be wheel clamped. This was because we had tried to enter the area without paying, and it would cost more to get un-clamped! The driver bounded out of the car, and from somewhere, got some money. At this stage I was looking at my watch. 0700 hrs. The money was proffered to one of the attending youths, who then removed the clamp from the wheel. (The flight was to leave at 0715 hrs.) We drove for another few kilometers, and because of the lack of funds on the drivers side, (I only had $) was deposited outside the airport parking area. I entered the first building where, amongst the sea of customers, some frantic bidding was taking place, as all the local airlines advertising various fares to the domestic destinations were boldly written on plastic boards propped up on the floor against the relevant kiosk. I had been pre-booked, but without a ticket because no agreement between SAA and Bellview Airlines existed. Their kiosk was in another building 100 yards down the way, so off we went at a hurried pace, only to be met with a similar sea of humanity, pushing and shouting at the various unfortunate sales persons. I was bewildered, and it was now 0710 hrs. I asked – (being male, this was humiliating! – this is for the ladies) for help, and a large Nigerian lady in national dress took me under her wing, pushed me in front of the queue, whereupon I was able to purchase a return ticket for $200. to Port Harcourt. With this in hand I joined the queue for security checks, with about 30 people in front of me. The woman, whom I was now beginning to admire, grabbed me, and together we rushed to the front of the queue, only to be confronted with a closed door. The flight had been closed! We bashed the door, which was then opened, and the bags were checked, and onto the bus we jumped. Amazing! The doors were closed, opened for more people, closed, opened, and eventually closed, leaving people behind. I felt rather smug that I had made it, needless to say with some assistance. The bus drifted out onto the airport apron, weaved amongst the planes, stopped at one asking the pilot where he was going to, and got it right at the second attempt. Tickets were collected at the bottom of the steps, and after being seated, the doors were closed. They were then opened for more passengers, closed, and opened a total of three times, before we were able to roll off towards the runway at 0730 hrs. Seat allocations are hand written on the front of the ticket cover, and serve as the official boarding pass. Food en route – cold ½ fried egg between two dried slices of bread, a fish paste sandwich, and a cup of tea.
Port Harcourt, a 45min flight away to the East, was shrouded in low cloud, wet and typically tropical. I tried to phone the agents, but had no cell phone connection, but was soon approached by a gentleman who recognized my dilemma. Asked who was to meet me and from which company, I was put onto Williams on his cell phone. I thought this bloke was probably insecurity, and therefore knew most of the goings on, especially when he mixed with some army personnel and over-fed Americans, all discussing security issues as is their want. Williams duly pitched up 45 mins later, and we proceeded to the office. It was a long way, and the first part of the road (no markings) was reasonably good, until we reached suburbia. Deterioration set in, as we were crowded in by yellow taxis, mainly VW combi’s, motorcycles, cars and trucks. The fun was about to begin, and again all one can truly do is to sit back and marvel at the African way of maneuvering in traffic, with all vying for the same gap. Horns and flashing head lights are a necessary accessory, especially for night driving, and as with the last driver, I commended him on his expertise, especially as it had started raining, and the wiper blades were well past their replacement date. I really don’t know what all the fuss is about in our TV advertising campaigns! We were lucky. A police car set his siren to escort a mini-bus through the traffic, so we joined the queue, and for a while was able to ride with the wave. Every motorist is aware of this opportunity to beat the traffic, and as a result, in a moment of hesitation, we lost our place, and had to join the mob. The agents had forgotten to meet me at the airport because of tribal riots around the office the previous Friday. One has to have Tribal Equity in Employment, and somebody had slipped up. The office was reasonable, behind the obligatory wall and solid gate, and once inside, I met the agent, Capt. Colin Handley, responsible for my welfare. (I had e-mailed them enough times before my departure from SA) A cup of coffee, which tasted remarkably like tea, a short chat, and I was driven down to the port to do my thing. Security was the name of the game (9-11 etc.) but due to the run down condition of everything, with mountains of garbage, open sewers, medium to large pot holes – no small ones here- and belting with rain, things didn’t look too good. No security in the port! The vessel was fine as the Russian crew had been through it all before. – cold war etc. pre Peristroika!
On returning to the office, the rain had beaten the storm drain system, and the street was literally knee deep in rushing water. The driver remarked that they have a few problems with flooding in this area! He wasn’t kidding! We persevered with 6 cyl. Toyota Prado, but even that was starting to splutter past the now marooned vehicles in the waters. A diesel Landy would have coped far better. One car approached us with a bow wave, which when in contact with ours, completely engulfed the other unfortunates. Most spectacular! He then landed in a pothole and all but disappeared.
No escort back to the airport to catch the 1445 hrs flight back to Lagos, and with plenty of time, just made it with a final dash.
Back in Lagos, things hadn’t changed, except that I now had another driver. Sandra Useh had looked after me on the Lagos leg, and was charming and capable, but I hadn’t met her yet. The new driver in an indiscriminate Peugeot, - no instruments worked, and wires hung like paper streamers from the dashboard. We soon encountered our first road traffic jam, which Lagos is famous for, and I suppose it was because he knew of a short cut, that we took the off-ramp from the main road overhead freeway! Once on terra firma, we entered another ‘Mad Max’ world beneath the overhead freeways. (it was still raining) Businesses, homes, masses of people, a jungle of vehicles, lorries, motorcycles, mud, pot-holes, filth and non-existent roads. Where do all these people do their toiletries, and where do they get their food? We took it in turns to move a few lengths, and then stop to allow a large tri-axle lorry to pass. All was done on the road side mud banks on a single lane partially tarred road between vendors and those engrossed in their every day lives. Others, completely oblivious to the surrounding chaos, had their mats spread out, and in national dress, with their shoes placed to one side off the mat, sat drinking cups of tea, discussing the days happenings. We weren’t moving anywhere very fast. What amazed me was the lack of aggression and road rage. No tempers were lost, and I didn’t see any accidents, although most vehicles bore signs of close contacts. In all this mayhem, we weren’t touched once!
20th July Tuesday
After a full breakfast, picked up at 0830 hrs and maneuvered our way to the agents office, behind fence and steel gates. I now met Sandra, a young Nigerian Lady, and was told that the ship had not berthed. This could be at around 1600 hrs, and with the flight back scheduled for 2215 hrs, this could be tight. Back to the hotel. It looks as though I might have to leave this ship in order to get back to SA.
Sitting around in the hotel room for 9 hrs with no TV. The SA 4 X 4 magazine, which I had brought, was read from cover to cover, including the small print in the adverts. Very frustrating. Phoned SA and Denmark for orders, and was told to stay and do the vessel the next day. Expenses would be met. This meant that I now had to go to the airport 22 km away to postpone my ticket to Friday, the next flight out. Another hell run in Lagos rush hour traffic. Left at 1830 hrs, and just made it before the office closed at 2000 hrs. extended the hotel stay, and returned.
Not much traffic on the road now, so galloped along at a fair turn of speed. I was in the same car with the wire streamers. Faith is a great thing, as I couldn’t see much of the road in the dim headlights. Dark figures raced across the road in front of us, and unlit vehicles were passed left and right. The driver was the usual. He didn’t have any perceivably superior eyesight, and most of the trip was more good luck than judgment. Rush Hour traffic is nightmarish, but by now I was becoming rather immune to fear, as nothing can be done about it, except take over.
21st July Wednesday.
Still in hotel. Phoned by Sandra at 0815 to say that a car was on it’s way to go to the vessel, but time is obviously not an issue, and it was not until 1115 that the driver condescended to show up. At 1015 they said see you in 5 mins!
No security in the port, not stopped, checked or identified at any point prior to arriving at the vessel at 1130 hrs. Ship sailing at 1400 hrs! C/O as SSO talking too much slowing things down. Audit OK, and vessel sailed at 1600 hrs (+2 HRS) Agents are expected to convey the port officials around to their vessels in spite of the authorities having their own transport.
During the evening joined a couple of blokes to the open-air pub down the road, and experienced some close-up “taxi” music, Nigerian style!
22nd July Thursday.
Have arranged a car through the agents to take me sight seeing around the city. An overcast day, with very little to do until the driver picked me up at 1100 hrs. There were a few recommended sights to see, as gleaned from the Internet, and as these were in relatively close proximity, we set off, firstly to Tafawa Belawa Square, which was originally the official parade ground for official functions when Lagos was still the Capital. This status was changed to Abuja because of the intense pressure of people (About 10.3 million) and the decaying infrastructure of the Lagos city. The square would have been quite impressive in it’s heyday, but was now a bit run down, unpainted, and the two sides to the stadium were now a bit tatty. The grass hasn’t seen a cutter for years, and litter is a dominant feature.
The Onikan National Museum, also a bit tatty, was interesting in it’s own way with various artifacts on tribal and cultural issues, as well as a photographic history, mainly of people, pre Colonial, colonial, and subsequent military rulers since independence in 1960. The country is still very tribalistic, and has suffered numerous coups, riots, and civil wars. On display in the museum is Murtala Muhammed’s bullet riddled car, a Mercedes, in which he was assassinated in 1975! What was interesting was the fact that a group of school children were shown a picture of the present president, and were asked his name. This they got right, and on being asked if he was a good man, said no! Obviously they listened to their parents talking, and ‘out of the mouths of babes’! Still a lot of tribalism around.
What is impressive is the number of bridges and overhead freeways, necessary to connect the numerous islands and relieve pressure on the ground. These were all built pre-independence, but one built since by the state, is 10km long, and is the longest bridge in Africa. Modern buildings mixed with old portray a partly modernizing city, which in itself is very big, especially with over 10m people. Lack of traffic controls and any parks and gardens departments result in uncollected rubbish and open polluted drains, waterways and unkempt, crumbling verges and pavements.
Victoria island appeared to be the smartest after touring Ikoyi Island. Victoria Island extension is apparently largely reclaimed land, and some extensive residential areas are being developed. This was Land Rover series 111 country, and graveyards were everywhere. Those that are still running, because of their legendary robustness, were overloaded with cement blocks being hauled to the various building sites. Up to this stage I hadn’t seen many Land Rovers, and these were obviously relics of the Colonial period, as the more modern 4 X 4’s were of Japanese origin. I did take note of 1 X Disco, and 1 X Rangie 4.6
The National Theatre had been built during one of the military coup eras, and was in the shape of a military cap! The harbour viewed from across the river, was well utilized with numerous vessels berthed alongside the river berths, and would rank as one of the larger ports in Africa.
23rd July Friday
Nothing planned for this day, and spent the whole time in the hotel. The TV was fixed, and so some viewing time was put to good use, however, there are on average about 4 or 5 power cuts per day, which makes the story line hard to follow. Most public buildings have diesel generators in their gardens, and these are put to good regular use throughout each day to supplement the local grid.
The time had arrived to depart for the airport yet again, but this time it would be for good. The authorities obviously don’t trust anybody, as the tickets / boarding passes and passports were inspected at least 8 times before boarding the plane at 2200 hrs. It’s always good to get back to familiar sights, sounds and surroundings. Pity I had to miss yet another LROC outing to SHU SHU.
I need to update our records :
· Do you have a Series Vehicle that we do not know about ???? In fact if you own a Landy described below please give me a call with the info. Either by email or phone.
· Are you currently rebuilding a Series Vehicle or one of the following ????? Please do not assume that we know about it. Again please give me a call or email me with the details.
· Series 1,11, 11A,11B forward control, 111, lightweight, 101, 110 with sliding front window or pre 1980 Range Rover.
Please do not ignore this request. THANKS.
IBEX – Latin word for ANIMAL. By George Goswell
What is an IBEX?
For those who where at “ The Broadleaze Invitation” and saw the odd looking “Land Rover” and wondered what it was, read on.
What do you do when you have a rugged 4x4 vehicle like a Land Rover 90 and feel that it can be improved on? Well that is what John Foers of Foers Engineering in Rotherham, Yorks, UK did. In late 1987 work was started on the first Ibex prototype. By April 1988 the 1st Ibex was ready for the road and by December 1988 the 1st Ibex MK1 went into production. The last Ibex MK1 was made in 1994 and was replaced with the MK11 after only 31 had been made. The Ibex MK11 was launched in January 1995 and phased out after only 11 where made in 1997. In January 1998 Foers Engineering announced that Cosworth, Birkin South Africa ( based in Pinetown and well known for the Birkin 7, Lotus 7 kit cat) and Foers Engineering have been jointly developing a sports utility vehicle for the US market. In September 1998 an Ibex was launched in the USA using all Ford components.
The original Foers Ibex was built, like it's successor Ibex MKII, from Land Rover Defender components on a tube space-frame chassis of Foers' own design. The front bulkhead (firewall) and back wheel boxes are welded in and then the whole steel framework is hot dip galvanised. The body panels are made from marine grade aluminium and are all bent and not pressed to allow any engineering workshop to make replacement panels. The aluminium panels are bonded to the chassis to prevent electrolytic reaction. The front wings, grille and rear fender flares are made from G.R.P. a special reinforced fiber-glass. Further more built into the inside of the vehicle is a full length roll cage. The roll cage is not visible because it’s an integral part of the space frame, and is therefore hidden behind aluminium bodywork. Basically, the space-frame IS the chassis, body framework, roll-cage, and all other structural parts fabricated as one unit. A MK11 Ibex has 3 main roll hoops.
A unique feature of the original Ibex is the doors which open upwards held on gas struts in a semi gull-wing style. It has a utilitarian and purposeful look, which is generally much admired by off-road enthusiasts.
From Land Rover comes the engine along with gear and transfer boxes, axles, internal dash, seats and steering. In the Ibex MK1 the motor used was the 200Tdi and the MK11 used the 300Tdi. Being a “Kit Car” any motor could be fitted and a few Ibex’s came out with the Range Rover V8 motors.
The Ibex is a great all terrain vehicle with outstanding off-road performance. The long travel coil suspension set up gives a smooth ride and a high degree of axle articulation, which maximises the traction over the roughest terrain. The large clearance axles allow plenty of room for massive tires. It is a thoroughbred of the 4 wheel drive with an excellent driving position with a short bonnet and a wide windscreen which is an essential requirement for a 4x4 vehicles.
With the wheels being positioned right at the front and back, not only do you get excellent approach and departure angles (85 deg) you also get a good weight distribution with no weight forward of the front wheels.
With only 42 of the “ Land Rover” based Ibex’s having being made the vehicle has become a collectors item.
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