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-   -   The Road Chose Me: Jeep Wrangler around Africa. 2 years, 30+ countries, 80,000 mi. (https://www.pirate4x4.com/forum/showthread.php?t=2621154)

Grecy 02-05-2018 10:44 AM

The Road Chose Me: Jeep Wrangler around Africa. 2 years, 30+ countries, 80,000 mi.
 
Hi All,

My name is Dan Grec, A few years ago I drove a bone-stock 2000 TJ Wrangler 40,000 miles from Alaska to Argentina through 16 countries over 2 years. I documented the entire expedition on my website The Road Chose Me, and wrote a couple of magazine articles. That was the trip of a lifetime for me, and I became completely addicted to travel in remote parts of the world in my own Jeep. From the minute I got back I started saving money, planning and dreaming.

A year and a half ago I set out on my second big Expedition, driving my 2011 JK Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon around the entire continent of Africa.
So far I have driven over 20,000 miles through 17 countries on the West Coast of the continent, all the way through Morocco, Mauritania, Senegal, Gambia, Guinea-Bissua, Guinea, Mali, Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Togo, Benin, Nigeria, Cameroon, Republic of Congo, DRC, and now Angola.
Highlights have included the endless mud pits in Ivory Coast, the fast-pace and bribery attempts in Nigeria, the remoteness of Gabon and the mud slog through the DRC before crossing the Congo River on the smallest and most ramshackle ferry of my life.

Now I will drive to the Southern tip of the continent before turning North on the East Coast all the way to Cairo in Egypt.

Below is my planned vs. actual route so far:
http://static4.theroadchoseme.com/wp...la-415x480.jpg

I heavily customized my Wrangler with a lot of unique modifications never before done to a JKUR including a drinking water tank, filtration and UV treatment system, a modified J30 Camper pop-up from Ursa Minor that allows me to stand up and walk around in the back of the Jeep and much, much more. It really is my house.
You can see the entire build here: The Road Chose Me - The Jeep

http://static4.theroadchoseme.com/wp...en-720x480.jpg

The Jeep has performed brilliantly so far, with only a few minor modifications and repairs along the way. It took a beating through the DRC (Zaire) but held up well in the endless mud pits.

As I keep moving around the continent I will post updates here and on my website and also across social media:
Instagram - theroadchoseme
YouTube - The Road Chose Me
Facebook - The Road Chose Me
Twitter - dangrec

I'm also filming a YouTube channel as I make my way around, here's a video that shows the road conditions I have been tackling on the West Coast:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z740focQL4U

Fire away with any questions you have, I'm happy to help others get out there an have their own global adventures.

I will keep this thread updated as I start the trek North on the East Coast.

-Dan

Roc Doc 02-05-2018 10:47 AM

How many languages do you speak?

Grecy 02-05-2018 10:47 AM

Hi All,

Here are a few highlights from my Expedition so far along the West Coast of Africa:

The Sahara Desert in Mauritania was stunning
http://static4.theroadchoseme.com/wp...e1-720x480.jpg


Guinea has some of the best waterfalls I have seen in my life begging to be explored:
http://static4.theroadchoseme.com/wp...ll-720x480.jpg


The beaches in Ivory Coast are some of the best I have seen in my life:
http://static4.theroadchoseme.com/wp...jo-720x480.jpg

Crossing Nigeria was intense. Hundreds of military roadblocks with bribery attempts (I paid zero), insane traffic and spectacular jungles and mountains.
http://static4.theroadchoseme.com/wp...ch-640x480.jpg

The wilderness and tracks to explore in Gabon are like nowhere else I have been. Also I bumped into this guy, the first forest elephant I saw, just walking along a road:
http://static4.theroadchoseme.com/wp...le-720x480.jpg


The mud slog through the DRC is something I will never forget - smiling faces and the most ramshackle ferry of my life to cross the mighty Congo River!
http://static4.theroadchoseme.com/wp...it-720x480.jpg

Now, after 3,088 miles in Angola, it's time to move into Namibia.
Here is the hood of my Jeep as it stands today:
http://static4.theroadchoseme.com/wp...te-720x480.jpg


Cheers,
-Dan

Grecy 02-05-2018 10:50 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Roc Doc (Post 43067602)
How many languages do you speak?

I learned Spanish while on the road last time. I took lessons in El Salvador and studied hard at least a few times a week, so by the end of the trip I was close to fluent.

I learned French as I moved down the West Coast of Africa... I didn't take lessons and I didn't study very hard, so it's pretty bad. I can get by, but true French speakers cringe when they hear me!

I plan to learn at least some Swahili on the East Coast, I'm told the basics are pretty easy.

-Dan

Weasel 02-05-2018 11:01 AM

cool.

Kurtuleas 02-05-2018 11:05 AM

Bad ass.

I read a trip report a few years back on Expedition Portal or something about a Swedish couple in a Toyota that drove through Ghana. It really opened my eyes up to what it's like over there..

I am not sure I would want to do a trip like that after reading about all the stuff they went through.

Roc Doc 02-05-2018 11:10 AM

Namibia is the one place in Africa that I'd like to visit. I've see documentaries where this guy got video from an ultarlight of elephants 'surfing' down huge sand dunes by swimming with their front legs and dragging the rears like a rudder. And of lions eating a whale carcass...that's not something you see every day.

Mattafact 02-05-2018 11:12 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kurtuleas (Post 43067738)
Bad ass.

I read a trip report a few years back on Expedition Portal or something about a Swedish couple in a Toyota that drove through Ghana. It really opened my eyes up to what it's like over there..

I am not sure I would want to do a trip like that after reading about all the stuff they went through.

I think it was democratic republic of Congo. Amazing story.

sdmf 02-05-2018 11:15 AM

How do you get through checkpoints without paying? Ever worried about having the jeep stolen? Seems like you would have a target on your back from day one.

Subybaja 02-05-2018 11:17 AM

Very cool!

Quote:

military roadblocks with bribery attempts (I paid zero)
How did this part work?

Deuce 40s 02-05-2018 11:19 AM

The youtube video was very well done for being on the road. Keep the updates coming.

Yota Up 02-05-2018 11:21 AM

Do you carry a weapon? Even a temporary cheap AK that could be bought when you arrive in Africa and sold prior to going home.

How do you handle safety and personal security? Do you try and hide at night or minimize fires, etc. Do you avoid certain areas based on local knowledge, have you had any scary moments with any local people or wildlife?

Kurtuleas 02-05-2018 11:22 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mattafact (Post 43067770)
I think it was democratic republic of Congo. Amazing story.

Yeah...you are right.

Here's the link if anyone wants an amazing read:

Democratic Republic of Congo: Lubumbashi to Kinshasa - Expedition Portal

Grecy 02-05-2018 11:24 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sdmf (Post 43067802)
How do you get through checkpoints without paying? Ever worried about having the jeep stolen? Seems like you would have a target on your back from day one.

There are a lot of different ways to approach it.. my rule is to be VERY respectful. Take off my sunglasses, shake hands (always), be very polite and then be firm. When they ask for money I ask if they are bribing me, I ask for something in return, and I get stubborn and wait them out. Sometimes I make tea, sometimes I say I'll just camp right there, etc. etc.

Here's a video I took of the checkpoints in Nigiera. At the end I caught one genuine bribery attempt on film. This is almost always how they go down, from Mexico to Argentina, Morocco to South Africa - it's always similar to this.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7RTlDa2cg0o

-Dan

Grecy 02-05-2018 11:27 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sdmf (Post 43067802)
How do you get through checkpoints without paying? Ever worried about having the jeep stolen? Seems like you would have a target on your back from day one.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Yota Up (Post 43067858)
Do you carry a weapon? Even a temporary cheap AK that could be bought when you arrive in Africa and sold prior to going home.

How do you handle safety and personal security? Do you try and hide at night or minimize fires, etc. Do you avoid certain areas based on local knowledge, have you had any scary moments with any local people or wildlife?

Carrying a weapon across international borders would be instant jail time - so no, that's not an option.

It's not what you think over here. People are extremely friendly - in fact more friendly than Canadians or Australians. I have been invited into countless homes, shaken hands with hundreds and hundreds of military guys with AKs etc. etc.

I have never seen a weapon even being carried by anyone out of uniform, never heard a gunshot in a year and half, etc. etc.

No, there have been no scary or touchy moments with people or animals - though I have seen a few scorpions lately which gives me the creeps. Getting bitten would be very bad.

-Dan

D-RAT 02-05-2018 11:27 AM

Cool. Takes stones to do this. Props sir and good luck on future travels.

blugreenformula 02-05-2018 11:29 AM

Did you travel through Cote D'Ivoire or Togo? If so, what are your thought about either location from a safety stand point?

Grumpy356 02-05-2018 11:31 AM

Any female traveling companions?

And Any pics of female traveling companions?

TJGreg5 02-05-2018 11:38 AM

How much fuel do you carry? How difficult is it to find fuel in the villages? Any worry about the quality of it?

thumping 02-05-2018 11:45 AM

Awesome thread....subscribed.

:beer:

Grecy 02-05-2018 11:55 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by blugreenformula (Post 43067978)
Did you travel through Cote D'Ivoire or Togo? If so, what are your thought about either location from a safety stand point?

I did go through both. I saw basically all of both.

Ivory Coast can be kind of touchy. In the north there is Boko Haram influence.... I had a great time there, but it's not the safest. Super, super, super beautiful.

Togo must be one of the safest countries in West Africa. Really, really friendly people, great places to visit. I really enjoyed it.

-Dan

Grecy 02-05-2018 11:57 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TJGreg5 (Post 43068058)
How much fuel do you carry? How difficult is it to find fuel in the villages? Any worry about the quality of it?

The Jeep has the stock 22 gal tank, and I have a titan transfer tank on the tire carrier that is another 13 gallons. Range is around 600 miles.

Basically all towns have gas stations.
Scooters and motorbikes outnumber 4 wheeled vehicles 100000 to 1, so you can buy gas from every single dirt-street village out of coke bottles.

quality is a concern for sure... often it smells more like paint thinner than gas, and it was very cloudy in Nigeria. So far the Jeep has drank everything without complaint.

-Dan

Weasel 02-05-2018 12:05 PM

Man you have alot of a patience not sure i could do all that hand shaking and smiling at every checkpoint.

CrustyJeep 02-05-2018 12:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Weasel (Post 43068274)
Man you have alot of a patience not sure i could do all that hand shaking and smiling at every checkpoint.

Average Pirate:

Quote:

Originally Posted by Made Up Shit
Hello! What's that, you want my vehicle papers? You got pics of your mom's turd cutter? Eat a dick! Blam blam blam blam blam! Vroom. Drink bleach bitches!


Grecy 02-05-2018 12:25 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Weasel (Post 43068274)
Man you have alot of a patience not sure i could do all that hand shaking and smiling at every checkpoint.

I treat it like a game or an intelligence test.... Some days when I'm tired it's not so fun, but usually talking to the military guys like that is a good distraction and gives me something to do.

After all, I came here to meet people and learn about these countries, so the roadblocks give me the perfect opportunity to do just that.

-Dan


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