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Setting up the Landrover

The Landrover was a last of the Series 3 Pickup Landrovers made in South Africa, and has certain parts from the replacement R6 version (such as brakes and wheel rims).  However, the engine and gearbox were the original 4 cylinder 2 250 cc petrol engine. Because of my height (6 foot 8 inches / 2.03 metres), I had converted the Landrover into a station-wagon, with the rear canopy forming a single unit with the front cab.  This allowed me to push the driving seat back to provide enough leg-room.

On this structure, I had put a roof-rack with an Easi-Awn roof-top tent.  On the back I fixed two No. 10 Cadac gas cylinders and a spare wheel (independently mounted from the door).  I also fixed two long-range fuel tanks under the front seats.  This gave me a total petrol capacity of just over 200 litres - or between 1100 and 1400 km, depending on the road conditions.  There were two 130 watt halogen spots mounted under the roof-rack where they were safe from branches, etc.

In addition to this, I carried 6 25-litre water cans (not quite full), and an MSR water filter (which I never actually needed).  Obviously I carried a wide variety of tools.  The most well used were the 3 jacks - a high-lift for lifting the vehicle to change tyres and/or springs, a small 2-ton hydraulic jack which was invaluable in adjusting the springs to fit them, and a scissor jack, which was used to position the axle horizontally to fit the lugs on the springs.

The roof-top tent was fitted with the normal mattress, as well as a 2-inch ultra-high density foam under-mattress.  This increased the comfort level very substantially.  Rather than using a sleeping bag, I took along a light-weight duvet, which is the most comfortable option in warmer climates.  However, in the highlands I also used a sleeping bag as an extra blanket - and in the mountains I slept in the sleeping bag with the duvet as a blanket.  This worked fine (except for Bale).  Although I took along a lightweight normal tent, I never used it.

I used the Cadac gas only for light, using a 100 candle-power light.  Cooking was carried out on an MSR dragonfly multi-fuel cooker, which I ran on Paraffin.  Note: petrol is called Petrol, Blend or Regular south of Ethiopia, but Benzene in Ethiopia.  Similarly Diesel is called Gas-Oil in Ethiopia, and Paraffin is called Kerosene.  A Garmin 3 GPS with internal map was invaluable.  While the map was largely useless in terms of roads and villages (it seemed to have only small villages - with all towns and cities were missing), the mapping and way-point facility was invaluable, especially if one had co-ordinated of towns, national parks, etc to orientate one.

Other than that, I took along sufficient cold and hot food to mean that I didn't need to stop to buy supplies.  I also took along two pairs of binoculars - my favourite Minolta 12 x 50's and a lightweight pair of Nikon 9 x 25's.  Both were extensively used, depending on the conditions.  In the latter part of the trip the Minolta's developed a fault in the focussing mechanism, so I was most grateful to have a backup pair.  My new Kowa TSN821 scope with the 32x wide-angle eye-piece was used on the lakes to search for waterfowl..

What I deliberately did not take was a camera - as a keen photographer I find that if I have a camera I spend too much time composing photographs, and didn't want to be restricted in this manner.  With hindsight, I still believe my decision was right, as there are plenty of photographic guides that have excellent photographs covering most of what I saw.

An Ethiopian trip: 27/11/1999 to 17/01/2000Giles Mulholland 31 January 2000

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