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Desert Travels - Motorcycle Journeys in the Sahara and West Africa!

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  #1  
Old 13 Jan 2005
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To dakar in summer + shipping

Hi,

We are planning to drive to dakar this summer. Most people seem to be doing this in winter, I presume for the weather conditions. Going in winter is, for holiday purposes, not possible for us, hence the question: How "bad" is the heat during the July (and rain in Senegal?)? I checked the weather websites and yes it seems to be very warm there, but can someobody who's done this explain if it is bearable?

Next: As our time is limited we'd do a one-way trip to dakar, thus we need shipping for our car(2cv) back to Europe. Any experiences with companies? Not really sure were to start looking for a shipping company...

Thanks for the help!

Frederik

[This message has been edited by 2cvfred (edited 13 January 2005).]
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Old 14 Jan 2005
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Try to contact this company:
http://www.grimaldi-freightercruises.com/
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Old 15 Jan 2005
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Hi Fred,
I did the trip once (Christmas 2000 and on) in a 2CV. I can tell you that even in winter, the weather is hot and sometimes the car goes very close to overheating, so I would definitely advise AGAINST driving this route in summer with a standard 2CV. Not talking about you wanting to escape the overheated cockpit of the car every five minutes. We drove in Central Asia as well (kazakhstan and Uzbekistan), with outside temperature as "low" as 35°C, and the thermometer in the car read close to 50°C: the 2CV is pretty much a tinbox when talking about heat...
Now I know that the road is about to be sealed to Dakar, so without leaving the tarmac, this could be doable for the car. If you plan to do some offroading (which is why you plan this trip, right?), definitely improve your car's cooling abilities: additional oil cooler with fan, bigger oil filter, to start with. And prepare for a dramatic water consumption for youselves: meaning more weight in the car, which is exactly the unwise way to go in a 2CV...
Definitely know what you're doing before going. We all know the atlantic route looks like a motorway, but it really isn't, esp in summer with a 2CV.
Then I wonder if shipping the car back is really worth it, considering the car's price and what you could get for it (anything between 500 and 800 euros, I guess). Now if it's your beloved 2CV, it0s a different thing. But then you don't want to make it endure the trip and take the risk to abadon it in the sand...
Best of luck! If you want more info, don't hesitate! Cheers, Séb


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Normal cars go to paradise, 2CV's go everywhere!
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Old 15 Jan 2005
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Pietro, thanks for the tip, I'm awaiting their reply..

Sebch,

Thanks for your valuable advice. The offroading is nothing I worry about (my 2cv is in technicall mint condition and has seen quite some dirt before). Your remarks about the temperature do start to make me doubt though. We've been to southern Europe before (for example during the heat-wave of 2003) with outside temperatures up to 35C. That was doable without special preps. But I guess the summer desert heat is not to be compared to that.

While it's true that it can get very hot in a 2cv, I've been more uncomfortable in other (non-airco'd) cars when hot.

As for the shipping, while I would guess the value of the car (in belgium) would be around 2000euros, the emotional value is ofcourese much much more. I've been thinking about buying a cheap, worn down, 2cv and sell it there but the chance of having technical problems on the trip is much higher then. And my current 2cv has all the nice "mods" for camping/offroading already...

So still many decisions to be made... :-)

Anybody who has done the trip in summer in a non-airco'd car?
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Old 18 Jan 2005
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Did quite some research by now.

Crossing the sahara in summer(July/August):

Some posts on this subject already on this forum. Apparently most people tend to recommend against it, not because it is not possible but because it is too hot to be fun. Several people seem to have done this already though.
Temperatures stated in these posts are all in the 40's (celcius) and up to 50C. Yet according to weatheronline temperatures are more like in the 30's C and up to 45C.
In general I'd like to believe it is just hot ;-) Any hands-on experiences are welcome though!
Since one of us is a teacher we are bound to the school holidays and have no other option but going in summer.

Shipping:

Several companies contacted, no useful replies yet.

Still some issues I have no clear information on:

- What's the latest news on driving a car(older then 5 years) into Senegal. Is a carnet needed? I have no intentions selling the car there.

- Is a guide still necessary for the crossing of the Mauritanian border into the sahara? Is the road ready? We'd prefer taking the beach piste.

- Is forming an ad hoc convoy a problem because of the rather limited amount of people crossing the sahara in July?

At the moment the (hot) weather seems to be to only possible showstopper for planning our trip...

Thanks for all the valuable info!
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Old 24 Jan 2005
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2cvfred, r u from Belgium? I'm living in Zaventem,Belgium. I'm planing to go to West Afrika in Apr. with my Range Rover. Interesting to organize a convoy together?

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