Regular Leaded, Please!

At the pump, we just ask for: “The red stuff, please!”
We’re speaking about lead substituted gasoline, we’ve only found in South Africa (as well as Namibia) on Herbie’s World Tour, visiting 72 countries since September 2009.

While American and European countries are already selling ethanol containing fuel, (South) Africa seems to be far ahead, still providing metal containing gas for vintage cars.

Back home we would also never find a high-performance motor oil like this fully synthetic 10W-60, Domi just bought at a local automotive retail store. Herbie is over happy!


Embassy Hopping in Pretoria

After visiting fourteen African countries we’re preparing ourselves for making the u-turn in order to drive all the way back on the east side of this continent. Therefore we need to get some visas in advance, just as for Sudan as well as others.

Our planned route back north is the following: South Africa, Mozambique, Malawi, Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt. From there we’ll try to get on a ferry going from Port Said to Iskenderun in Turkey.

The half Egyptian, half Austrian Chick!

We were curious about hits coming from a website by a company called “Das Wagen, LLC” in Denver, Colorado. They just posted an article on “Traveling the World in a Volkswagen”. Amongst others they’re mentioning Herbie’s World Tour…

We had to laugh, when we saw that the editor had written the following:
First and foremost is Herbie’s World Tour. This guy is travelling with the hottest half Egyptian half Austrian chick I have ever seen, hands down!!

Anyway thanks for the compliments and following Herbie’s World Tour!
Air-cooled regards from Pretoria, South Africa!

The VW Family of Sanita & Chris

While we stayed at the Volkswagen factory and its museum (“AutoPavilion”) in Uitenhage, we got to know Chris and Sanita van den Heever, who invited us to their home. Herbie and the camper immediately became part of the huge “Volkswagen van den Heever” family. The  lovely couple has more than 30 children (Beetles). Our Love Bug set-up even got its own parking besides all the other kids.

The Love Bug met the Fun Bug! This was just one of those many special editions by Volkswagen, the Van den Heever’s owns. Below you can see even more family members. Many thanks, Sanita and Chris, for your warm hospitality!

The Addo Elephant National Park

Together with the VW enthusiasts Sanita and Chris van den Heever, who we got to know at the “AutoPavilion” in Uitenhage, we visited the Addo Elephant National Park.

Even though the entrance fee is pretty expensive for nonresidents (the annual pass for all South African National Parks would have even cost hundreds of Dollars – it actually costs five times of the one for residents), we really enjoyed spending the day with Chris, Sanita and all the elephants we spotted within the park.

Sanita and Chris van den Heever are proud “parents” of about three dozens of vintage air-cooled “Vee Dubs”. On our day trip to the National Park, they took one of their wonderful restored kombis (“Volkswagen Bus T2”) for a ride.

Volkswagen of South Africa

The day before yesterday, we visited the South African Volkswagen factory as well as the “Place of Cars and Legends”, its VW museum called “AutoPavilion”, in Uitenhage.

Johan Wagner, the manager of the Volkswagen museum, welcomed us personally and guided us through this wonderful exhibition about Volkswagen in South Africa.

We were very lucky that we got the chance to meet this South African “Volkswagen rock of ages”, Johan Wagner, as he’ll eventually retire from his work next week.

Above you can see the first and very last Beetle, manufactured in South Africa. They produced Volkswagen Bugs already in 1951, and unfortunately stopped in 1978.

We also had an very interesting tour, guided by one of the management personnel named Zak Davids, who showed us the assembly lines, where they’re manufacturing the VW Polo nowadays. Thank you, Zak, for giving us that perfect insight of Volkswagen!

We felt like VIPs after all Johan Wagner has done for us. He even invited us to lunch. And afterwards, Heilie Combrink, from the press showed up and took pictures of Herbie.

Actually, the “AutoPavilion” was the first official Volkswagen museum we’ve ever visited so far. And we really loved it! We can highly recommend going to see this place.

The exhibition also included very special VWs, just as the prototype “1021” – a kind of “Volkswagen Jeep” with an air-cooled Beetle engine – or a VW Bug 1303, originally owned by German adventurers, who drove it from the North to the South Cape.

At this point we want to say thank you, Mr. Johan Wagner, for your very warm welcome at Volkswagen as well as the “AutoPavilion” in Uitenhage and these lovely presents!

Camping at Victoria Bay

Arnize (Arno and Elize) went camping with us at Victoria Bay for the last two days.

Before that we spent almost a week with them at their home in Mossel Bay.

Yesterday evening, Adriaan Pienaar from the “Hot Wheels Club” came to visit us.

He even surprised us with a personal letter and a talisman. Thank you so much!

We spent the entire evening chatting about the adventures of Arnize and Herbie.

But today we eventually had to say good-bye to Arnize and their “Bakkie”.

However we’re so looking forward to meeting them again somewhere in the future.

We hit the road heading east, while Arno and Elize got back to Mossel Bay.

Tomorrow we’ll visit the VW factory and its museum (“AutoPavilion”) in Uitenhage.

From there we’ll drive further east towards Durban and from there to Pretoria.

In Pretoria we’re planning to apply for all visas we’ll need for Africa’s east coast.

Furthermore, we want to visit Wernher Hartzenberg from “Air-cooled Wonders”, who traveled across Africa in a 1959 Volkswagen Kombi named “Mabel” in 1999.

Arnize Go 2 Africa

Herbie’s World Tour has been taking a little break! We’ve been spending a wonderful time with Arno and Elize in Mossel Bay, since we arrived here on Valentine’s day. Tomorrow we’ll drive together to Victoria Bay in order to go camping by the sea.

Arno and Elize (“Arnize”) are eager to start their trip across East Africa too, as they will take off in just about a month. Above you can see Arno with their travel companion “Bakkie” (a Toyota Hilux 4×4), in which “Arnize Go 2 Africa” (their blog).

This is that gorgeous view over the Indian Ocean from the balcony of Arnize’s apartment, which we’ve been glorying the last couple days. Thank you, Arno and Elize!

We are so grateful that Arno and Elize invited us to their home, although they didn’t even know us personally. We’ve found another good friends on our travels.

Yesterday, Arno helped Domi washing Herbie and QEK, the camper. There was still a lot of red muddy soil from Congo on them, they were trying to get rid of it.

We are chatting the whole day long about all the world and his brother as well as exchanging our experiences of traveling Africa and other parts of the earth.

Our Love Bug set-up has also been taking a rest from touring Africa’s west coast. But tomorrow we’ll continue traveling, further along the South African shore.

Arnize will take about the same route going north than we do: South Africa, Mozambique, Malawi, Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, Sudan, Egypt and from there to Europe.

Herbie’s engine is running in almost the same manner as we started, even though this motor was set on fire, drowned in water, flew in the air as well as driving us thousands of miles across the African continent. Thank you, Herbie! Cheer up!

Valentine’s Day with Arno & Elize

We had a wonderful Valentine’s Day visiting Arno and Elize van der Merwe in Mossel Bay. They got to know us via the Africa Overland Network and wanted to meet up.

Arno and Elize are also adventurous travelers and followed Herbie’s World Tour while we were heading south on the west side of Africa towards the Cape of Good Hope.

They contacted us on our webpage and invited us to their beautiful home right in the heart of Mossel Bay, a bit more than 270 miles (or 440 kilometers) east of Cape Town.

They even organized a safe place to stay for Herbie and the caravan, right underneath the apartment in a big garage, while we got our own bed- and bathroom.

In April, Arno and Elize will start their very own Africa overland trip. They’ll take a couple months off and we’ll be heading north on Africa’s east side towards Europe.

And they got the perfect gear for touring this continent: A Toyota Hilux 4WD from 1994. Follow their journey “Arnize Go 2 Africa”, which will start already very, very soon!

We really enjoy spending time with the Van der Merwe’s. Thank you for inviting us, Arno and Elize! And thank you for giving us the chance to get to know you!

Along the Indian Ocean

Since we left the Cape of Good Hope, we’re driving besides the Indian Ocean.

While traveling on Africa’s east coast towards Europe, we want to visit the following countries: Mozambique, Malawi, Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt.

Just before hitting the Cape of Good Hope, one of the camper’s drums broke. We were lucky that we didn’t loose the whole wheel. We stopped by a garage in Fish Hoek.

The shop named “Pitstop” is managed by Moenier Wilson, who welded the broken part. Many thanks to him and his awesome staff! The repair was even on the house!

While at the shop in Fish Hoek, we met Brendan Gradwell, who already spotted us on the highway the other day and has been following Herbie’s World Tour online. Like many other Herbie’s World Tour fans he contacted us, because he wanted to meet the Love Bug. Brendan, thanks for coming by!

Yes, We Made It!

Thanks to our beloved car and travel companion, Herbie, who made it through all those challenges, we reached the Cape of Good Hope, after driving the Love Bug more than 105,000 miles (or almost 170,000 km) around the world!

From here and now on, at the most south-western point of the African continent, we’re heading back home to Europe along Africa’s east coast. The first half of Herbie touring Africa has been a success and we hope the best for the second part of it.

Welcome to South Africa!

We made it all the way to the country at the southern tip of Africa. Our destination: Cape Town and the Cape of Good Hope. From the Namibian border we still had to drive 678 kilometers (or 421 miles) to the city between the Indian and Atlantic Ocean.

Thank You, Windhoek!

As we were sitting in a café called “Tornado” in downtown Windhoek, the capital of Namibia, we got to know its owners, Jens and his wife. They invited us to their home just a couple hundred meters away from their business. Thank you so much!

What a coincidence: It turned out that Jens, who moved from Germany to Namibia almost a decade ago, is a Volkswagen Bug enthusiast. His one is from 1972.

Jens recommended us a place (“Conti Trade”) where we could finally find spare parts we were looking for since Togo – a master brake cylinder and rear axle gaskets.

We hit Windhoek with a flat tire! So we went to “Fast Wheel & Tyre” and they actually sprang for the repair. Many thanks to Mr. Leon Smit, the Sales Manager, and his team! The reason for Herbie’s flat tire was a sharp sting from a tree.

Herbie’s speedometer wasn’t working anymore, after it made weird noises. Domi had to disassemble the whole part. Unfortunately he had to break the original seal from 1963 in order to lubricate the speedometer. But now it’s working again!

In Windhoek we could also get new triangular safety reflectors for our camper, “QEK”, after they got broken due to those bad road conditions in the Congo.

And we finally got the suitable axle fluid for Herbie, as we had to flush the transmission after the muddy water entry in Congo – a fully synthetic 75W-140.

The Southwest of Africa

Namibia – we entered this country in the Southwest of Africa coming from Angola. A lot of things have changed by then. The Republic of Namibia, which gained its independence from South Africa not until 1990, offers vast but harsh landscapes.

From now on Herbie has to be driven on the other side of the road, even though we still have the steering wheel on the left hand side. But Zainab did a great job cruising across those wide open spaces and underneath that big Namibian sky.

The Republic of Angola

In “N’Gola” we had to go through hard times, because of a chaotic and nonprofessional work of the only shipping agency in Cabinda, “Zamba, Lda.”, as well as divers ocean carriers. But we also experienced great moments, amongst others because of people like Pedro Jorge F. Marçal, who offered his warm hospitality by sharing his flat with us. Therefore we left the Republic of Angola with an auspicious and a dropping eye!

Meanwhile we are staying in Windhoek, the capital of Namibia, having some cups of rooibos tea at a cafeteria called “Tornado” and connecting to the world wide web.

Miradouro da Lua

“Viewpoint of the Moon” (or “Miradouro da Lua”) is the name of the sight we visited in Angola, after we safely arrived at the International Airport of Luanda – together with Herbie and his trailer. We spent our first night in the camper right besides the landing runway and the airplanes coming from all over the world.

This beautiful country is nearly twice the size of Texas or five times the area of the Great Britain. We really enjoyed its tropical nature and mountain scenery. In Angola, the means of subsistence are very expensive (except fuel). After a long and bloody civil war, which ended at the beginning of the millennium, the country has been undergoing an enormous economic growth. Unfortunately the gainer of this are just a few, while the majority of people are suffering from poverty.

Fasten Your Seat Belts!

Herbie is flying! After spending an entire day on the base of the Angolan Air Force (“Força Aérea Nacional”, FAN) in Cabinda, finally a huge “Iljushin IL-76TD” landed at about seven p.m. It took more than three hours until Herbie and the camper were able to “check in”, because of unloading the aircraft first. We got very excited when it was Herbie’s turn to drive into this gigantic airship. The ramp was pretty steep, but Herbie made it!

We felt honored to get to know the pilots from Russia and the Ukraine. They invited us to sit as co-pilots in the cockpit. Not only was it an exceptional and wonderful experience to fly together with our Love Bug set-up, we also enjoyed this gorgeous view over Luanda’s skyline. At this point we want to thank the Angolan Air Force as well as the aircraft controller Pedro Marques (down right) and his colleague Adriano Valácio, who made our dream come true and helped us getting on one of their aircrafts.

Mimosa Famosos

While we were waiting for an aircraft that should take us away from the exclave of Angola, we got the chance to meet another great fellow. Her name was “Mimosa”. From the first moment on, she had only eyes for one person – Zainab.

It was so cute to see how much she was seeking Zainab’s closeness. She played as well as cuddled with Zainab and even slept between her feet when she got tired. Entertaining “Mimosa” made the long hours of waiting for an aircraft by the Angolan Air Force, flying us out of the exclave, a lot shorter.

Herbie Will Fly!

This is no joke! In the next days, Herbie, the camper and we will go aboard an airplane by the Angolan Military (“Força Aérea Nacional”, FAN). The aircraft will be an “Ilyushin IL-76” or similar. Hopefully everything will work out and we’ll all have a safe flight!

Actually we came to Cabinda, the exclave of Angola, in order to bypass the Congo River and the DRC (Democratic Republic of the Congo) by taking a ship to Luanda. And as we just have single entry visas for Angola, the exclave was a kind of dead end for us. So, the only possibility for us to travel on, was to find a way to get to the mainland of Angola. But due to a huge hassle caused by the local shipping agency (Zamba, Lda.) and various ocean carriers, that played along for almost two weeks, we eventually decided to ask the Angolan Military Air Force for help.

Gas vs. Water

We are still in Cabinda, Angola. The climate is terrible – it is hot and humid. We don’t have A/C or anything like that in Herbie or the camper and our water consumption is as high as never before on our trip across Africa. Unfortunately, water is a rare and very expensive good in this country. Drinking water costs exactly the same as gas, although gas is very cheap in Angola, because of its huge resources. The price for both per liter is 50 Euro Cents or about 2,40 US-Dollar per gallon.