Planning the route is lots of fun and gives us the feeling as if we are already on holiday.
Starting with books, information from the internet and most of all reading and hearing the
stories of experienced Africa travellers. To make sure that we are not going to miss
anything of interest we are marking all interesting points so if we are in the area we know
if we want to take all the effort of driving a bad road to see or experience something.
From the experience of previous travellers we know that nothing (especially the roads)
is as it seems to be. I have made all kinds of routes with alternatives.
There are so many different maps. All books give you different advise about which maps
you could or should use. Some prefer Michelin with a scale of 1:1.000.000 and others
swears by staff maps 1:50.000. We used all the information and we found something in
between. We bought all the maps at Stanley and Livingstone (specialized bookshop in
The Hague). Based on the looks of the maps (which colour and how detailed and how old)
we decided to buy mostly IGN maps (Institute Geographique National, scale 1:1.000.000)
and International Travel Maps (Canada, scale 1:2.000.000). Unfortunately not all the
maps contain map dates and coordinates suitable to use for GPS.
Buying maps is a costly thing to do for approx. 25 maps we had to pay 300 euro.
To protect the maps against moist and dirt we have applied 30 micron PET film over the
maps. This was done with the help of two colleagues.
Global Positioning System (GPS)
Using maps and roads can be enough to find your way through Africa. But in remote and
isolated areas like the Sahara GPS is a must. Also back tracking, find the route back
from where you come from, can be very helpful if you are lost. A GPS uses satellites
to give you the co-ordinates (within 10 meters accurate), so you can find on the map
where you are in Africa.
Based on information in the book Africa by road to pack up the GPS when crossing
borders and to have a handheld system, a demountable dashboard mounting system was
made by Peter.
The GPS we bought is the GPSII from Garmin. A well known brand with nice software and
the sales people claim that this GPS will never break down.