Posted by: Diema Village Ventures | January 19, 2019

So you think you can drive through African Deserts!

So you think you can drive through African Deserts…I have tell you it’s not that easy…As I’ve driven many times from Europe to Mali, many times from Europe as far as Nigeria and Johannesburg to Malawi, I’ve learned a thing or two..but even with the experience I’ve gained over the years, there’s always something new to learn.Always expect the unexpected…
In Africa a road is not always a road, it can be just a dirt track, a rough track with deep ridges in that not only shake your car but your bones as well.
Then together with the dirt road/ bone shaking track, you’ve the heat to contend with.
If you’re very lucky you may have air conditioning..I’m not so fortunate, so it’s either full on African heat from the sun’s powerful rays of up to and over 40c, or open windows and choke on the sands sand and dust that puthers into every crevise of your face, eye,nose, throat and ears.
Not forgetting the car with its engine getting choked up!
I’ve seen people getting out of vehicles who have been driving through the desert, looking as though they had orange eye lashes,eyebrows and hair.
They look so funny, yet in reality it isn’t funny at all.
Getting grains of sand in your ears or eyes is dangerous but that’s life out here in the African Deserts.

Then of course there’s the potholes, our craters in many cases.
More often that not they’re hidden by the shadows flanked across the roads and tracks..Hit one full on and it could be deadly.
I’ve seen the results, and it’s not something I want to ever see again.
A driver just losing control and the vehicle just bounces then overturns.. yikes!!
There are many wrecks of 4x4s, taxi’s, cars and buses, strewn along every route, reminding us all that life really is fragile.
At this point you may feel you’ve got it covered, know what to expect, but watch out there are camels about, they seem to blend in with the bushes they’re munching from, until suddenly they jump out into the road, you’ll need to be good on your emergency braking!.
Donkeys are lovely animals but in Africa,they stand in the roads and when you hoot your horn they only move closer to your vehicle, right into your path.
Goats seem to be the more intelligent of the local animals.
When you hoot, they do move out of the way.
Obviously there’s, chickens, dogs, cats, and as many people don’t have transport they walk on the road..too much sand and no causeway..
Don’t think you’ve got it sorted yet!
Remember this is the desert!!
We have high winds and very bad sand storms, so bad you barely see the car in front..Not that there’s so many driving out there all the time, but it can be as scary as being in thick November fog.
With sand blowing in every direction, covering the ground quickly, so potholes are a hidden threat.
You may also be unlucky enough to travel whilst roads being repaired..
Here there are no safety features, red flags, traffic lights, sign posts etc..it’s just you..you’re the one who has to look out for the diggers, sand ploughs, other obstructions in the road/ track.
It is a real nightmare.
Don’t ignore the fact that these drivers don’t all have licences, many just buy a vehicle and drive.they’ll pull out at will, stop when they feel like it. Many have no lights, indicators, brake lights, mirrors, wing or central.So even if you flash your lights, they won’t see, hoot they may not hear, many like to listen to music as they travel.
Taxis are always touting for business..it’s their livelihood so will not even think about whose behind..so watch out…it’s deadly if you’re not ready for any and all of the above..
In my case driving here feels sometimes as though I’m trying to squeeze myself out of Hell…. sooo tough.!!

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