Back in Trans en Provence on May 2017 after the two year journey in Americas I worked with the preparation of my future trips, Sardinia, Portugal and especially a one year-long trip in Southern Africa and if the political conditions of the region and the state of my health allow it the return in Europe by the Arabic peninsula, Iran and Turkey. After a short interlude in Sardinia, the revision of the cell at Psi-Azalaï and the technical control of the vehicle having involved the change of the kneecaps of the nose gear as well as an intervention on the brakes drum back having been immersed in the Moroccan and South American wadis, I remained on standby until October 19th to leave to Portugal.
In January 2018 as of my return of Portugal I attacked the administrative part of the journey in Southern Africa. I discovered that obtaining the international driving license was centralized with the prefecture of Nantes with a 10 weeks deadline, not understood the postal times and, that in addition that the renewal, free, passport not having more free pages requires the supply of a plane ticket. At the same time president Macron quoted a sentence of president Pompidou on 1966: “stop bugging the French”. But the icing on the cake was the discovery that the Automobile Club does not accept any more the banking guarantee for the carnet de passages en douane, CPD. The guarantee of the monetary value of the vehicle must be deposited by credit transfer or bank draft certified, knowing that this guarantee is of 150% for Iran… and 250% for Egypt… Welcome in long journey in the countries requiring the CPD!
On Sunday, February 18 I left as of early dawn to go to Germany at ORC close to Stuttgart to make adapt the suspension of Mercedes-Benz “G” Pro to the driving on the tracks in Southern Africa. I arrived in the night under difficult traffic on the snow-covered roads. The night temperature was negative. My vehicle was taken in charge of the 8:30 and was returned to me around 15:30. I begun again the road to return at once to France towards the south under a more mild climate of Provence. Then I entrusted it at Mercedes-Benz Draguignan for a complete revision at 127,644 km.
From mid-January to mid-March 2018 I spent most of my time to seek on Internet the transfer of my vehicle in Namibia or South Africa to the most advantageous price, RoRo or collocation of a container. In fine I obtained four proposals. Expensive at least expensive, a container in solo at Fos sur Mer, a container in solo at Antwerp, RoRo (without personal effects in the vehicle!) at Sheerness, the U.K., RoRo (with personal effects in the vehicle) at Antwerp and finally a container in collocation with a Belgian at Rotterdam. Of course the comparison was made in complete costs, price of the forwarding agent increased with the cost of approach of the place of loading and the return to Trans en Provence. I choose with the lowest offer, the container in Rotterdam bound for the Cape, by crossing the fingers knowing that it was not perhaps the most reliable proposal… to follow. On March 23rd the forwarding agent taught me that a container ship left ETD on April 10th with an ETA on April 21st and, that I was to place my vehicle at his disposal at the latest on April 4th which was still at Mercedes-Benz Draguignan on standby of spare parts specific to “G” Professional. I recovered it the 28/03 in the afternoon. After the Easter family meal on Sunday April 1st around the Passover lambs, I left Trans en Provence on Tuesday, April 3 at the forefront of day to traverse the 1300 km towards Rotterdam. I placed my vehicle at his disposal on April 4th at 11:00.
I had beforehand taken a train ticket, Thalys and TGV, from Rotterdam to Les Arcs-Draguignan for April 5th, without being informed of the go-slow strike of the railway men. With happiness I passed between the drops of the storm of the revolutionary trade unions which defends the centenaries acquired rights of their trustworthy. However the devil appeared by a delay of 15 minutes of Thalys in station of North and, extremely opportunely a delay of 15 minutes of the TGV at the beginning of the station of Lyon. Phew! But alas, a broken down railway convoy on the way before the station of Toulon stopped the progression of the TGV which arrived the following day at 0:21 am at Les Arcs, that is to say a delay of 2:30. Still, I went home.
On April 22nd, 2018 I had to fly from Nice to Paris, Charles de Gaulle, then the following day a direct flight of 11:45 duration from Charles de Gaulle, CDG, to Cape Town, CPT. There is no jet lag between Paris and Cape Town because Europe is in daylight-saving period which does not exist in South Africa. By then, many events can still occur. The preparation of a long journey is not a long quiet river.
But the saga was not over. Indeed the forwarding agent announced to me a delay of two weeks of the container ship “MOL-Presence” which will not stop in Cape Town but will move towards Port-Elisabeth then Durban returning to Port-Elisabeth and finally to Cape Town on May 6th at 21:00. Who can believe that the forwarding agent of Antwerp did not know the road towards South Africa! As result I changed my airline and hotel reservations with penalties, of course, to arrive on May 6th instead of April 22nd. Is this the end of the history? At all events I take the plane in Nice on May 5th then the direct flight on May 6th from Roissy CDG to Cape Town CPT.
The icing on the cake could be on arrival at immigration control which sometimes request a return ticket to get out of South Africa. To follow to Cape Town from May 7th.