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  #1  
Old 18 Feb 2008
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How many spare seats required for overland travel?

Hi

Busy prepping for a trip through Africa (and general overlanding) and was looking at my storage options, I would like to make use of the rear seat area but have heard that it's compulsary to take a guide along in some African countries

Is this true? Would I ever need more than one seat in the back?

I would like to hear of your experiences of picking up/helping people not only in Africa but in all countries.

Thanks
Pete

Last edited by africanpete; 19 Feb 2008 at 18:38.
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  #2  
Old 18 Feb 2008
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There are certainly a few saharan countries that require you to have a guide.
You might consider fitting 1 or 2 folding jump seats in the back corners so that you can use the rear bench space for storage.
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  #3  
Old 19 Feb 2008
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If you don't have the extra seats there will be times you really really regret,
If you do have the extra seats there will be times you really really regret.

Our hj60 has no back seats, this space is filled with auxillery tanks (fuel, water) as low as possible, extra batteries and easy accesible storage-space (through the backdoors), behind this three long drawers with supplies, and a sleeping arrangement on top (permanent).
We replaced the passenger seat with a doubleseater (well actually a 1.5 seater, for somebody with no legs) with somesort of removable container/cubbybox on top (in the middle). This proved to be a nice sollution in most cases.
It worked OK to give nice persons a lift, but it was small enough to refuse to get forced to give people a ride.

It's nice to invite somebody into your private space, but it's annoing if somebody invades into it.

Giving people a ride can be very heartwarming and we once found ourselves with 3 adults and a child cramped on the front row (giving our old toyota the ultimate bushtaxi apperance) and sometimes with one or two persons lying in/on our bed for short distances. But we also managed often to refuse to play free taxi-ride for bullying officials, showing there are no unoccupied backseats. Although I remember one time we where forced to take the chef of police from the Mali border to Kayes! He was stressed out and constantly trying to get me riding full speed, through towns and roadblocks..... but that's another story.

If you want to take somebody for longer periods (like a guide or new friends), there must be somesort of proper seat. But I would also ask myself: am I going to do those streches where a guide is compulsary with one vehicle and how often will this valuable space be acctually used by a person instead of storage?

cheers
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Last edited by Sophie-Bart; 19 Feb 2008 at 10:47.
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  #4  
Old 19 Feb 2008
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When I refitted my 110 I fitted 2 small seats where the 3 full-size ones were located in the second row. I did this "just in case" I needed to take someone for a short distance. If you're 6ft+, it's not a comfortable option, but it does at a push.

We've not used them yet. I'd prefer a place for more storage, but I doubt we'll remove them.

We're going to Iran in April, and I'm undecided whether or not I'll take the 110. You have to by accompanied there (well, my wife's American, and she does). So maybe we'll be using the seats after all...

If I was building from scratch I probably wouldn't bother with more than 2 seats.

Nick.
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  #5  
Old 19 Feb 2008
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fiddling with your gear

Thank you very much for the replys, just what I was after.

Now, have you ever had this person along and they start going through your stuff, fridge etc.
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  #6  
Old 20 Feb 2008
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!?

Quote:
Originally Posted by africanpete View Post
... have you ever had this person along and they start going through your stuff, fridge etc.
Now that would be rude. Most people we met in Africa are much to polite to behave like that. Don't confuse curiosity with brutality.

Have you ever opened your fellow 'unknown' travellers's suitcase on a bus, train, plane or station ?

But it's always a good practise not having everything laying around in plain sight, anyway. Everytime! with or without a guest, whether your in a town or not, whether you are traveling on a road with roadblocks/checkpoints or a lonely piste.
It's difficult to say no to a 'cadeaux' asking person when you are sitting in a showroom full of goodies and it becomes very irritating to have to hide, close, store and lock everything away every photo-moment, coffee-moment, shopping-moment, lunch-break, etc. or even when stucked/bogged or broken down, you'll get sloppy and will create opportunities (for people to swiftly re-arrange some of your welth).
Think safety (flying objects! and the occasionly opportunity 'thieves'), be aware, relax and most of all enjoy!

cheers
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Last edited by Sophie-Bart; 20 Feb 2008 at 08:54. Reason: hmm, it sounded a bit like we are very organised, tidy and scared, which we are not!
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  #7  
Old 20 Feb 2008
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I have always given people lifts - stranded tourists/locals whatever. Every trip I end up carrying someone! In my troopy I kept some of the seats for passengers, as the car had 11 I figured I could keep a few! But I also have to confess to making a guide (well, bloody gangster con-man really) ride on the roofrack for a short time as I was at my wit's end. Friend of mine did a similar thing 'cause the guy's feet smelt that bad. Here in the West African Bush I always enjoyed having a pick-up as you could help people out but not have to put up with bags of frozen fish - that happened once in an almost brand new 105 cruiser... stopped and helped out a couple of guys doing a 20km walk home from market - next day realised their bag of rapidly defrosting fish had leaked under the rear load mat. Bloody car stank for weeks. So yes I would always recommend some sort of seat, but when you look at a local taxi or whatever you realise that even your roofrack could be classed as quite luxurious in certain circumstances :-) And check what they are carrying!!!
Gil
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Old 20 Feb 2008
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Gil, you made my day
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  #9  
Old 20 Feb 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sophie-Bart View Post
Gil, you made my day
Mine too!

Thanks again, good advice and opinions all round
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  #10  
Old 20 Feb 2008
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Talking make shift seat

Hi Pete,

I would go with what Bart said, some sort of make shift arrangement, just possible if you want it but far from obvious if you don't. In that way its to your descretion whether you want to take people and compulsory guides suddenly do not seem to be so compulsory anymore when there's no place. We took many locals, mostly on the roofrack. Drive slowly and they will be fine with it. We took a bunch of Himba on the roof in Namibia. As you may know they stain terribly, the whole roofrack was orange with oker and butter. Glad they weren't inside the car

Cheers,

Noel
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  #11  
Old 20 Feb 2008
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Cheers Noel, more good info
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  #12  
Old 27 Feb 2008
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spare seats

We have a Land Rover Hard top with only front seats.

When we travelled through Libya we had to have the guide come in his own car which was pricey. This was the only country on East & North Africa route where a guide was compulsory.

With Kenya for example we took an armed policeman in the cab and my wife sat on the cubby box in the middle! Not very comfortable but OK for shorter distances.

From the above experiences I have put the small LR middle seat back in and got rid of the cubby box.

I would echo what was said above that sometimes this arrangement was a perfect excuse not to take passengers we were not too sure about. However a number of times we had a few on the roof! But I would only do this for short hops.

In short I would generally try and give people a lift if I was sure about them, after all this is a great way to do a bit of 'bonding with the locals' as one of my overlanding friends calls it. Generally I never felt any security risk. I have felt more threatened in some european cities!
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  #13  
Old 27 Feb 2008
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Thanks Wanderer, more good advice.

Pete
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