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Old 25 Sep 2005
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Location: Antwerp, Belgium
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What car is suitable?

In January we go for 3 months overland (with 2 toddlers of 20 months). Morocco, through piece of desert to Atar in Mauretania, then Senegal, Gambia, to Bamako in Mali, Timbouktou and then return to Segou to sell our car and fly back from Bamako.

At this moment I am searching for a second hand car to do the trip. Our total budget for car-expenses (buy+repair) may not exceed 3500 euro.

I see two main possibilities:
a) buy a Mitsubishi Pajero `85 or Nissan Patrol for 2500 euro and have it checked well before the journey
b) agree with a dealer to pay him after we return. `buy` a Toyoya LandCruiser `85 from him for 7000 euro, sell it in Mali and come back home with the money to pay the dealer. (this option I checked and is techinacally possible for the dealer)

1. What do you suggest?
2. What should we take into account to consider these two options?
3. Do you have another option for our situation?
4. How big is the risk our Toyota LandCruiser gets stolen and we can not pay the dealer back? If we mainly stick to guarded hotels/campings and sleep next to the car in the desert? Which countries from our list have a large risk?
5. How much larger is the chance that a Mitsubishi (or cheaper car) gets stuck on the way and not be able to repair it easily? How much safer/reliable will a trip with a LandCruiser be?
6. A LandCruiser will probably sell easy in Mali.. Will a Mitsubishi too? Will we get more or less for a Mitsubishi in Mali
7. What country on our way is the best to sell our car in?

Thank you for your help!
Maja and Patryk
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Old 26 Sep 2005
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Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: France and UK
Posts: 157
Dear Maja and Patryk
I think you are placing certain restrictions upon yourselves for your African trip. Desert travel doesn’t work like that... You can’t do deals with the unknown, you can only do, as you are doing, a bit of research in advance and travel with an open mind and a flexible approach to breakdowns, theft, accident, injury.
1) Your toddlers will be fine – what is good for you… is good for them. I have travelled far with my youngsters. (They are now grown up…)
2) I do not like to assume anything in advance, and that includes selling your vehicle. Selling a car in an African country is a hazardous pursuit, accompanied by changing regulations, graft, bribes, police restrictions, false money, un-discharged carnet and possibility of theft after the deal is done… Try and avoid it unless you are an experienced car-dealer. Plan a return trip instead, even if this means restricting your itinerary.
3) Take any car you are comfortable with, but Toyota Land-Cruiser and Land-Rover are the best choice for spares, saleability and reliability.
4) Theft of your car is a smaller likelihood than theft of your money and possessions. A stolen car will not get far, due to local road checks, but you might have to pay a large bribe to get it back from the police…
5) In a nutshell, take AS MUCH money as you can, and bring home AS MUCH money as you can save. Be prepared to abandon the car en-route; some problems are beyond economic recovery.
6) I guess this advice applies to long-distance European travel too, not just Africa.
Good luck

Kitmax - Traveller
Desert Pictures at
homepage http://www.kitmax.com
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Old 29 Sep 2005
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Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Horncastle,Lincolnshire,UK
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I have never seen a Mitsubishi in Mali so I think you would have huge trouble selling one. Landcruisers are very common and spares are readily available-certainly in Bamako. There is a big dealership on the North side of the river heading West. Nissan Patrols are also very common and reckoned to be better vehicles than Landcruisers but spares are more expensive than for LCs. A word of warning though. The favoured vehicles are ones without turbos which don't last for long because of the dust. Hence all the local LCs and Patrols have big 4 litre engines. This will mean that you'll get much less than you might expect for a standard European spec. vehicle.

However, I would reitterate the earlier advice. You will have huge problems selling any vehicle in Mali, the Tax to pay will be high and the paperwork necessary VERY complex. Don't try it would be my advice.

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