@5410Africa Weekly Travel Update #6

Photo by Mantas Hesthaven

Another week has passed and a week closer to going home. I’m still at sea where I work as a Navigation Officer, but the end of a 5 week rotation is in sight. That will be followed by 5 weeks at home and I am planning to travel.

As mentioned last week, the region in Namibia where I live is under lockdown until 28 August. Should the lockdown be extended it will hamper my travel plans to the North of Namibia. Only time will tell, but in the meantime I’ve developed a Plan B as well. It is not as exciting as Plan A as it involves remaining in the Windhoek area and mainly getting the car ready for the 5410Africa trip.

What is 5410Africa?

For those that still don’t know I’ll spend 10 years travelling to all 54 countries in Africa. This will be done with my recently purchased Toyota Hilux truck ( see The Toyota that will take me to all of Africa ) driving from one country to the next. I’ll start from my home country Namibia, then Botswana, Zambia, onwards working my way around the continent in an anti-clockwise direction.

Travel planning

Last week I told you about my plans to head to the North of Namibia and to do some serious exploring along the river that forms the border with Angola. This week I need to tell you of my alternative plan, should the lockdown still be in place when I arrive at home and I am not able to leave Windhoek.

Understandably a crap load of work needs to be done to the Hilux before I depart. So, if the lockdown is still in place when I get home I might as well use the time to get some of it done. From here things will get a bit technical, but getting the car ready is part of the trip and I feel it should be shared.

The initial modification of the vehicle was going to happen over several months, but I’ll fast track some of the work. The replacement bumper is in Windhoek, so that will be fitted. The canopy is being fabricated in Swakopmund as I type this post and will be couriered to Windhoek if the lockdown is still in place. Then I’m thinking why not install the drawers myself seeing as I have enough time. Doing the job myself will also save 50% on the costs.

Also I’ll have the rims refurbished and painted black and at the same time have the roof rack and sidesteps resprayed. All of this is being done to extend the lifetime of parts and equipment. Hold onto your seats, there will be a lot of mechanical work happening if the lockdown remains in place and I cannot wait to see transformation of my Hilux. She needs a name by the way, I am not sticking to Luxie, any suggestions?

The Car

The Hilux is safely at home awaiting my return and nothing has been done so the list remains the same, but potentially a lot of it will be ticked off should the lockdown remain in place:

  • Bumper & winch (for safety)
  • Upgrade lights (safety, the old lights are not good enough)
  • Canopy (more and secure cargo storage)
  • Fitted awning (provide shade when there are no trees around ie the desert)
  • Drawer system (better and more organized storage in the back)
  • Dual battery system with solar charging (supply electricity off the grid locations)
  • Shock absorbers (old ones not good enough and provide more support to original suspension)
  • Tires (but only once the current tires are worn)
  • Compressor (to enable me to control my tire pressures)
  • An array of recovery gear (get myself out when I inevitably get stuck)
  • Camping (tent, table, chairs etc etc, to enable me to live on the road

Equipment and Others

No new equipment received, but I have hit one major snag, well potentially. This week I read that many African countries do not allow you to enter with a drone. They actually confiscate them at the airport/border posts if found. Meaning I am now in limbo whether I should get one or not… Will conduct a bit more research before I make a decision, but it will be sad to do Africa and not get those amazing drone shots.

Wish list:

  • Canon full frame camera
  • 70-200mm & 400mm L series lens
  • GoPro Hero 8 with accessories
  • Laptop to run editing software
  • DJI Mavic Air 2 Drone***

All of this is in addition to what I already have.

Social Media

Thanks to all the new followers. Remember I am on Instagram, Twitter & Facebook @5410Africa. I also have this blog and I’ll be starting my YouTube channel in Sept/Oct during my next shore leave period. We’ll have to see what the content will be about as Namibia might still be in lockdown at that point.

My Twitter has grown to 856 followers during the last week. I am always happy with growth. I’ll be hitting 1k very soon, that was my initial target for when I leave in June 2021. (Ultimate goal: 250k).

I have actually gained followers on Instagram even though I’ve not had full access whilst at sea. Another 2 weeks till I’m home and posting again. I currently have 99 followers. (Ultimate goal: 100k).

And the  YouTube channel will start shortly, well it should be up and running within the next month. Super excited and super nervous!!! I hope that everyone will enjoy that. (Ultimate goal: 100k).

Gained quite a few new followers on the WordPress blog after doing a more personal post. I’ll continue to do some of those in the future. I guess people can relate so they enjoy reading them.  I am now on 32 followers. This weeks post will be me trying to figure out why I am doing this trip… and why people end up becoming full time travelers… Then on Friday I’ll share one of my favorite travel tips: How to avoid those deceiving online hotel photos. You know the ones that get you to book a hotel, only to be disappointed upon arrival (Ultimate goal: 1k).

And there is Facebook, but I’ll alert yawl when that is properly up and running.

Thanks for reading, and if you are traveling, be safe and enjoy 🙂

Nick from Namibia @5410Africa

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