Preparations for Africa are proceeding at pace.

The biggest step forward in preparations, has been the reconstruction of Poki. Over the month of August, Gumtree 4X4 of Ditching, West Sussex, have installed a second, stainless steel water tank, in the space behind the nearside rear wheel. It will be fed by a newly installed pump connected through an in-line water filter, allowing the replenishment of clean water, and transfer between tanks.

The two gearboxes have been fully overhauled and a new clutch plate and dual mass flywheel, installed.

If you have been following our journey you will know that we have dogged by hard starting. Gumtree have looked into every possible cause and while I’m not going to say, the problem has been solved, I can say, it’s been immeasurably improved.

Battery power. Like hard starting, lack of enough battery power has made life difficult. To ameliorate that, a new 100a/h Lithium battery has been fitted to look after the ancillary equipment, such as fridge, internal fan, water pumps, lights, radio etc. Additionally, a new, larger capacity alternator was installed. Also an 80watt solar panel fitted to the spoiler to supplement the existing 130w panel. Our Redarc battery management system, will look after the different battery types and ensure they are kept at optimum efficiency. With this added capacity, the fridge can now be run for 24hrs, along with the fan at night, when needed.

Most importantly, there has been a performance upgrade. This has changed the drivability massively. A big thank you to Rob and Leon at Gumtree who have dealt with the mechanical and electrical upgrades.

Other improvements

A new Howling Moon side mounted awning has been purchased and fitted.

Jen is modifying the new Caranex to allow us to shower inside. She is making new improved side window bug screens for Poki.. Dr Adam, our fellow traveller, has prescribed a series of inoculations to protect us.

Still to fit. A set of Australian made Matrax sand tracks. While we do not envisage serious issues with sand, we will be driving along the fringes of the Sahara. We need to be prepared. The challenge will be, to find somewhere to mount the sand tracks, on Poki.

Some local happenings

A recent visit took us to Lancing College to see a flower arrangement display. A lovely friend of Jen, Carol, is involved in a Flower Arrangement Society and they had been asked by Lancing College to create a display in their chapel to fundraising for improvements. Man, what a building this is. Construction started in the late 1800 and has been continuing since. Oh! Yes, the flowers were pretty amazing too…:)

Lancing College Chapel.

Jen is an equestrian enthusiast so we visited the Hickstead Longines Royal International Horse Show. Hickstead is only a few kilometres from our lodge.

Headless Horseman or Woman at Hickstead…:)

Time to check Poki out, on a short trip…

First impressions when heading west for a few days, were, Poki’s exciting to drive, regardless of the weight we are carrying. Visiting Jen’s friend Victoria, who is struggling after the loss of husband Colin. Also, Dave an in-law of Jen’s who had recently suffered a devastating stroke. Since our last visit, Victoria had broken her wrist in a fall. Dave, while severely handicapped, has retained a lovely sense of humour. Both were most enjoyable visits.

camping one night on a remote and deserted farm camp site, allowed us to erect the Caranex and test it’s abilities. Fortunately the rain obliged immediately after erecting it. This was most fortuitous as it allowed some modifications to be tried, to reduce ponding on the roof. This new Caranex is going to give us more space and be more watertight.

While in Somerset, a visit to an astonishing farm and hotel development called, The Newt, was made with Bill and Penny. Bill and Penny are parents of Jen’s son’s wife, Sarah. An incredible amount of money has gone into expanding on some Roman objects found on the farm. The South African owners of the property have done an extraordinary job of making this a ‘must see’ tourist destination. Bill tells me they are heading to South Africa too, soon. They are hiring motorbikes for a 21day Tag-Along-Tour of Southern Africa. That’ll be amazing!!

Extraordinary Squash
Bill & Penny with Jenny…:)


What we have found is that the newer, ethanol laced diesel we are being supplied with now, is very prone to the growth of Diesel Bug. The Bug was found to have infected two of the 20L Jerry cans that had been sitting on board Poki while we were back in New Zealand. I’ve applied a biocide treatment that I’m hoping will do the trick.

This weekend, we are heading back to France.

Communication with Adam, has been continuing unabated, since our first meeting in June. So this weekend we are heading back to stay with him for three days and establish our intended route, logistics, visa requirements etc.. We also need to check our vehicle recovery equipment to ensure there are no gaps in the important things we each need to carry. Adam will also want to check and see that we are prepared with the appropriate medical and emergency First Aid supplies. Vehicle to vehicle communication protocols, and convoy procedures will be discussed too..

Books read.

Full Tilt by Dervla Murphy. Written in 1965 and reprinted since. In 1963 Dervla set out from Dublin to ride to Delhi on a single speed bicycle. This is an incredible read. A story of triumph over adversity. An unaccompanied young woman in Islam! A spellbinding, intellectual journey.

Narrative of a voyage of the Adventure and Beagle between 1826 and 1830. Vol 1. by Robert Fitzroy. The charting and mapping of the southern parts of South America. Captain Robert Fitzroy went on the become New Zealand second Governor General. He, along with Charles Darwin are the subjects of another book written by Fitzroy.

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  1. Hello!!! Sending love from mum and mike as well as myself!! Love reading the blogs!! So happy you are enjoying yourselves and happy times with family- hi to Kelvin too!!! Ill let mum know you are still overseas- ❤️Kelly n stacy xx

    • Hi Kelly & Stace,
      Lovely to hear from you. Tell Mum we’ll be home in a couple of weeks and will catch up with them when down in Wellington.
      Kelvin & Jen are touring in the Outback of Australia and we will pass on your regards. Big Hi! to friends and family in the US..:)

      Dennis & Jen

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