It is hard to imagine that the world wide web only became publicly available on August 6, 1991. Before that people who wanted to research long journeys to far away places (before the word “overlanding” itself was ever even given as a name to this pursuit) and have half a chance of knowing what was to lay ahead over the following weeks months or years was to read travel books. They were a bit thin on the ground and hard to find with the info given in them usually being out of date at the time of reading. To receive messages from family back home before email was done by a method called Poste Restante. When travelling in Africa this involved you letting the person you wanted to message you the name of a big city you would be in at a given date and get them to wright you a letter on paper and send it a month before you were due to arrive. They would send it to the post office in that city and you could go along and pick it up and have a read. In theory this should work but the stamps on the letters would often be stolen enroute and more often than not you would never receive your mail. We used to find back then that the only way of getting real time up to date information on boarder crossings, scams and corruption was to talk to other ‘travellers’ heading in the opposite direction than you were. In a nutshell you never really did know what you had let yourself in for and what you were to expect until you actually set off and met people on the road and the folks back home had no idea where in the world you were for weeks or months at a time.
Back in 1987 three people with a tiny budget set off from Europe and travelled across 21 countries over 14 months and covered 36,000KM on some of the toughest road conditions ever seen by the trio. They did all of this in an old (even for back then) front wheel drive Peugeot J7 diesel van and had no idea what to expect of the road that lay in front of them.
People like these are the pioneers of what internet users call ‘Overlanding’ these days.
Luckily for us they filmed this trip on film using cameras and we would like to share the African Dusthopper experience with you.