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Sahara Travel Forum Topics specific to North Africa and the Sahara down to the 17th parallel (excludes Morocco)
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Desert Travels - Motorcycle Journeys in the Sahara and West Africa!

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  • 1 Post By Dave The Hat
  • 1 Post By Chris Scott

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  #1  
Old 22 Dec 2012
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Through The Sahara In The 1950s...

Good read and some good photos!

Through the Sahara - in a 1950s Kombi | Drive Out
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  #2  
Old 22 Dec 2012
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Well spotted Dave.

£55 for a trans Sahara permit in 1959... but that came with a rescue service.

Ch
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Old 22 Dec 2012
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Yep, the French would want a bit more than that today!

I think I read on this article (or it could have been another one on another site), that their plans were altered due to French nuclear testing near Gao.....anybody know exactly where this supposed testing took place?
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Old 22 Dec 2012
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I notice the planned route in the article went up the Tanezrouft - would have been a lot easier on the cars than TS'H'.

I would have been surprised if the French were letting off atmospheric nukes anywhere near Gao - the Sahel is much more populated. Maybe the authors meant Gao was the start of the Tanezrouft piste which got closed that winter.

The better known site was near Ouallen, south of Reggane up the Tanezrouft. Atmospheric tests from February 1960 it says here.

Ch
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  #5  
Old 22 Dec 2012
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Nuclear tests near In Ecker

There were also some nuclear tests there (very bad for French and Algerian people):

[url=http://www.jp-petit.org/Divers/Nucleaire_souterrain/in_ecker.htm]N
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  #6  
Old 16 Jan 2013
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Re: choice of vehicle
"Neither of us had any confidence in Land Rovers, as it was said in those days that if someone you know buys a Land Rover you should pray for them instead of congratulate them."
OMG - nothing has changed!
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  #7  
Old 20 Jan 2013
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A truly fascinating old book is "Two Roads To Africa" by a journalist on the weekly magazine, The Motor, Humfrey (correct spelling!) Symons, (or H.E. Symons), who wrote about his travels through the Sahara on various record breaking runs, including one to Timbuktu, another to Nairobi, and a long chapter taking a Wolseley to Cape Town on the first non-stop record run, in January 1939, which involved swimming across a river in the Congo after falling off a bridge, and getting a local jail to find 50 prisoners to go in and haul out the car...so they could carry on regardless. Well worth tracking down, particularly for the travel photos of the Sahara, descriptions of various places, maps and route information.

Symons "invented" the expansion tank idea for the radiator so expanding hot water was not blown onto the ground but collected in a container (with a run in a Morris it was a two gallon Shell petrol can). The book was first published in 1939, just before the war broke out, and is obtainable from the various sellers of second-hand motoring books.
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Old 20 Jan 2013
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I thought Bagnold came up with the expansion tank idea in the 20s running Fords in the Gilf? (Though perhaps Symons had already come up wit it?).

Ch
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Old 1 Mar 2013
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"Two Roads To Africa" is a very interesting book about Symons and his companions' several overland journeys through Africa. It also dispels some of the widespread notions about the unreliability and lack of durability of British cars of the time!

Sadly, Humfrey Symons died in 1940. He was an officer in one of the early RAF 'Phantom' intelligence gathering units that were sent to France during the Phony War. His unit was evacuated from Dunkirk on a small Belgian ship, the 'Aboukir', which was sunk by an E-boat in the Channel. Symons' body was not recovered, but he is commemorated among many others on the memorial at Runneymede, Surrey.
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  #10  
Old 22 Mar 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Scott View Post
I thought Bagnold came up with the expansion tank idea in the 20s running Fords in the Gilf? (Though perhaps Symons had already come up wit it?).

Ch
Yep - I recently reread Bagnold's Libyan Sands. Early in the book he describes the invention of the expansion tank idea, and how it transformed their range and drastically reduced their water burden.
A cracking book, if people haven't read it.
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