African Routes

African Routes is a South African overland company that runs tours for people ages 18 to 35 who want to experience roughing it in Africa.  Overlanding is a fun (and relatively safe and easy) way to see the African continent and always brings together people with similar travel experiences and expectations.  Both Mike and Matt have experienced African Routes before - Mike in 1995 when he did the Namibian Explorer trip and Matt in 2002 when he did the Namibian Explorer and a portion of the Northern Trek to Malawi.

We decided to join the African Routes "African Secrets Tour" that runs from Nairobi to Cairo when we made the decision that we did not want to take the Land Cruiser into Egypt (for many good reasons including: the required 200% bank guarantee for the Carnet, the lack of insurance companies willing to insure vehicles in Egypt, and the fact that we would have to leave the truck somewhere in Cairo for three weeks before Andrew would get there to pick it up).  But, because we had already made plans to fly to Dubai for the Rugby 7's we planned only to partake in the portion of the trip between Nairobi and Khartoum at which point we will break away from the trip and finish the Khartoum to Cairo leg on our own as backpackers.

Our group consists of the following people:

Wimpie - South African:  Wimpie is our guide and has some great experience traveling the Cape to Cairo route as well as many other places in the world.  He's a great driver, a great cook and makes a mean hot chocolate when the weather cools down.  Hot chocolate isn't the only thing Wimpie ingests however, look for him with a cigarette, beer, vodka, gin, diesel or anything alcoholic that he can sneak into the Sudan.  Thanks to Wimpie our African Secrets journey was a huge success and a great time.

Sonja - Austrian:  Sonja is a seasoned traveler and really has a knack for getting to know the locals.  She has a habit of disappearing for hours on end, but is always close by when something cool is organized for the group. Simon believes Sonja to be a secret agent as she is so adept at blending in, but she neither confirms nor denies this allegation.

Lindsey - British:  Lindsey has had lots of experience traveling in Africa despite her tender age of 19.  She is an R&B guru and had an endless supply of music for us to listen to on the long drives.  Even the older members of the tour (i.e. us) found themselves "getting jiggy with it".  We apologise for that.  Lindsey has dedicated her life to eventually finding a way to get a Sudanese visa.

Danielle - Dutch:  Danielle is travelling the full Cape to Cairo journey as a member of African Routes.  Danielle celebrated her 23rd birthday on the 10 hour drive between Addis and Harar (happy birthday indeed).  Luckily Danielle capped the night by feeding the hyenas which helped compensate for being so far from family and friends.  For some reason, Danielle was full of energy and always managed to be the last to go to sleep and the first to wake up.  On top of that, Danielle is the only person we know (other than Cathy) that actually likes Nick Cave.

Floortje - Dutch:  Floortje is able to find the shopping district and the good deals in any city in Africa.  Unfortunately, she is less successful in finding someone who will carry all her purchases through Egypt for her.  Floortje describes her musical taste as R&B, Dance and Dire Straits (which of these does not belong?).  Watch for Floortje on the Arab porn internet site www .bareshoulders.co.arab.  Floortje is another full African Routes Cape to Cairo adventurer.

Marja - Dutch:  Another full African Routes Cape to Cairo adventurer.  Marja's stories of young girls in the Netherlands has further solidified Matt and Mike's fear of Dutch bushes (and having to raise daughters).  Marja is committed to becoming the rock-paper-scissors champion of the world, and will be touring with the Dutch national team once she determines "which one is better".

Kiomi - Dutch:  Kiomi is also a full African Routes Cape to Cairo adventurer. Furthermore, she is the first korean-dutch girl to really take a liking to the Irish melodies of Gerry O'Kane.  Unfortunately for Kiomi, Gerry has no future touring engagements scheduled in the Netherlands.  Kiomi will have to make due with Alcoholic Party until then.

Mike - American:  Mike has spent the past year working in South Africa with kids stricken with HIV/AIDS.  He is always willing to join in on an adventure and is never far away when someone needs help finishing up the last bit of food.  Mike is on his way back to school next year and although he is younger than Pac Man he will probably feel like an old man compared to the inexperienced and untraveled co-eds.

Troy - Australian:  Always ready with a raunchy comment, Troy was the master of "question and answer".  As an experienced shipmate in Australia, he was also never without an interesting story that you would normally not talk about at parties.  As resident right-hand-man, Troy had the unenviable job of filtering the music for the long drives.  Luckily he was always able to keep the R&B music to an acceptable level.  Troy has declared war on the Sudanese embassy.  Good luck, Troy.

Simon - South African:  A trained geologist and generally intelligent guy, Simon is currently on a year-off from his job as a strategy consultant in Johannesburg.  Simon's plan is to circumnavigate the Indian Ocean in a year, but he's fallen a bit behind having struggled to leave his beloved Africa.  Simon is ridiculously upbeat and amazingly positive, something that will come in handy throughout his travels.

We've started another section on the message board for our African Routes companions for messages and comments as well as contact details so we can stay in contact after the trip.