Page 1 of 1

Crossing Africa 1959

Posted: Sat Jan 26, 2019 12:18 pm
by Shavenhead
Interesting set of colour photos from the 1950's in the year before Africa started to collapse.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PtG6niRiRXk

Re: Crossing Africa 1959

Posted: Sat Jan 26, 2019 1:14 pm
by Steve_in_Exile
Same route I did in 1985...
Image

Re: Crossing Africa 1959

Posted: Sat Jan 26, 2019 3:05 pm
by DCComic
That was excellent. So many ways to see it. There's the journey itself, the historical document of how those roads and places were, the nostalgia for that time and pace, the incredible arrogant confident naivety, the guy in his eighties looking back at old photos and remembering golden days and ancient friendships, the effort of putting the thing together, maybe with the child or grandchild he showed the pictures and told the stories...

Just extraordinary - thanks.

Re: Crossing Africa 1959

Posted: Sat Jan 26, 2019 3:46 pm
by Shavenhead
What I found most interesting is the amount of other people doing a similar overland trip across Africa with improvised trucks and other vehicles during that time.

Thinking about it, I guess the 1950's was probably the perfect time to do an expedition across Africa like this. The only country in a state of conflict then was Algeria, and judging by this clip, the French still had relative control during this time.

Re: Crossing Africa 1959

Posted: Sat Jan 26, 2019 6:29 pm
by Steve_in_Exile
I watched the rest of it--really excellent! The crossing of the Sahara in Algeria and also the condition of the roads in Cameroon, CAR, and Zaire(DRC), were much the same in 1985 as they were in 1959, whereas Harare and the Mombasa yacht harbor have gone down hill considerably since 1959.

Re: Crossing Africa 1959

Posted: Sat Jan 26, 2019 6:34 pm
by Steve_in_Exile
Shavenhead wrote:
Sat Jan 26, 2019 3:46 pm
What I found most interesting is the amount of other people doing a similar overland trip across Africa with improvised trucks and other vehicles during that time
There were lots of people driving south across the Algerian Sahara in 1985. European college kids on summer break would buy an old Peugeot, drive it across the Sahara and then sell it for a profit in West Africa, and fly home. The sides of the tracks through the desert were littered with the remains of cars that didn't make it. In fact you could tell when a particularly bad spot of soft sand was coming up by looking for the remains of the cars that didn't make it through.

Re: Crossing Africa 1959

Posted: Sat Jan 26, 2019 7:46 pm
by steveogolf
As I recall the "leader" of Overland Organized Trips across Africa back in about 1975-1980 was "Exodus Expeditions." I don't think that any other operator did such trips before 1975.
I never did a trans Africa trip, and never wanted to do it. I did go to Kenya for 3 weeks back in 1978, that trip included Lamu, Mombasa, Malindi, and numerous game parks.

Re: Crossing Africa 1959

Posted: Sat Jan 26, 2019 7:58 pm
by Shavenhead
Back in the day meaning 1959?

Seems these guys did their own thing with their own vehicle, but managed to get Mobil to sponsor their fuel.

Re: Crossing Africa 1959

Posted: Sat Jan 26, 2019 8:12 pm
by Shavenhead
Ok, you edited.

Re: Crossing Africa 1959

Posted: Sat Jan 26, 2019 9:10 pm
by Lincoln
Back in the 90's there were quite a few UK companies from small inde outfits to big companies offering overland trips in Africa, then in early 2000's can a newspaper report that said these companies would no longer take anyone over the age of 4 because they moaned too much.

Re: Crossing Africa 1959

Posted: Sun Jan 27, 2019 12:40 am
by VinnyD
Thinking about it, I guess the 1950's was probably the perfect time to do an expedition across Africa like this. The only country in a state of conflict then was Algeria, and judging by this clip, the French still had relative control during this time
The Hola massacre was an incident during the conflict in Kenya against British colonial rule at a colonial detention camp in Hola, Kenya. By January 1959, the camp had a population of 506 detainees, of whom 127 were held in a secluded "closed camp". This more remote camp near Garissa, eastern Kenya, was reserved for the most uncooperative of the detainees. They often refused, even when threats of force were made, to join in the colonial "rehabilitation process" or perform manual labour or obey colonial orders. The camp commandant outlined a plan that would force 88 of the detainees to bend to work. On 3 March 1959, the camp commandant put this plan into action – as a result, 11 detainees were clubbed to death by guards. 77 surviving detainees sustained serious permanent injuries. The British government accepts that the colonial administration tortured detainees, but denies liability.
From the Wikipedia article on the Mau Mau uprising. I picked 1959 because that was the date of the expedition in the video, but c. 1954 was much worse.

Re: Crossing Africa 1959

Posted: Sun Jan 27, 2019 7:45 am
by Shavenhead
The Mau Mau rebellion was a pretty low key affair compared to what unraveled later in the Congo, Rhodesia, Angola and Mozambique.

I don't think it would have been enough to deter overland travelers such as the three guys in the story.

Re: Crossing Africa 1959

Posted: Sun Jan 27, 2019 1:45 pm
by Steve_in_Exile
I wonder how the infrastructure and the roads from 1959 compare to the roads of today?

Re: Crossing Africa 1959

Posted: Sun Jan 27, 2019 2:07 pm
by VinnyD
The only country in a state of conflict then was Algeria
an incident during the conflict in Kenya

Re: Crossing Africa 1959

Posted: Sun Jan 27, 2019 2:08 pm
by VinnyD
Shavenhead wrote:
Sun Jan 27, 2019 7:45 am
The Mau Mau rebellion was a pretty low key affair compared to what unraveled later in the Congo, Rhodesia, Angola and Mozambique.

I don't think it would have been enough to deter overland travelers such as the three guys in the story.
It probably didn't deter white people, no.

Re: Crossing Africa 1959

Posted: Sun Jan 27, 2019 2:36 pm
by Shavenhead
*sigh*

Re: Crossing Africa 1959

Posted: Sun Jan 27, 2019 2:40 pm
by Steve_in_Exile
I ran across this cool map while google earthing some places I'd been...
Image

Re: Crossing Africa 1959

Posted: Sun Jan 27, 2019 2:45 pm
by Shavenhead
How does that map work?

Re: Crossing Africa 1959

Posted: Sun Jan 27, 2019 2:50 pm
by DCComic
Looks like watersheds.
Very cool.

Re: Crossing Africa 1959

Posted: Sun Jan 27, 2019 2:51 pm
by DCComic
Actually, no.
How can there be islands in a watershed?

What is it?

Re: Crossing Africa 1959

Posted: Sun Jan 27, 2019 2:54 pm
by Steve_in_Exile
DCComic wrote:
Sun Jan 27, 2019 2:51 pm
How can there be islands in a watershed?
Because not all drainage basins have an outlet to the sea. For example you can see in southern Africa on the map the drainage basin of the Kavango river which ends in an inland delta, the Okavango Delta. All that water never makes it to the sea.

Re: Crossing Africa 1959

Posted: Sun Jan 27, 2019 3:00 pm
by Steve_in_Exile
Most of the drainage basins in the Sahara are very small and have no outlet to the sea. In higher rainfall areas, the basins are larger and of course do have river outlets to the sea. The Kavango/Okavango, marked in pink on the map, is an interesting exception to that.

Re: Crossing Africa 1959

Posted: Sun Jan 27, 2019 3:01 pm
by DCComic
Amazing.
Makes perfect sense once explained.

Re: Crossing Africa 1959

Posted: Sun Jan 27, 2019 3:03 pm
by Steve_in_Exile
The yellow area just north of the Congo basin(in blue) is another interesting one. All that winds up in lake Chad, and never makes it to the sea.

Re: Crossing Africa 1959

Posted: Sun Jan 27, 2019 4:19 pm
by Steve_in_Exile
Reading some more about this and apparently Lake Chad wasn't always landlocked. It's size varies with rainfall, and during an especially wet period around 5,000 BC, it rose to the point where its water overflowed into the Niger river via the Benue. I found it interesting that a landlocked population of African Manatees in Lake Chad and it's tributaries provide evidence for this prior connection to the sea.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Chad
Lake Chad is the remnant of a former inland sea, paleolake Mega-Chad, which existed during the African humid period. At its largest, sometime before 5000 BC, Lake Mega-Chad was the largest of four Saharan paleolakes, and is estimated to have covered an area of 1,000,000 km2 (390,000 sq mi), larger than the Caspian Sea is today, and may have extended as far northeast as within 100 km (62 mi) of Faya-Largeau.[11] [12] At its largest extent the river Mayo Kébbi represented the outlet of the paleolake Mega-Chad, connecting it to the Niger River and the Atlantic.[13] The presence of African manatees in the inflows of Lake Chad is an evidence of that history.

Re: Crossing Africa 1959

Posted: Sun Jan 27, 2019 9:23 pm
by Bill Barilko
Outstanding in every way!

Thanks for posting this.

Re: Crossing Africa 1959

Posted: Sun Jan 27, 2019 9:33 pm
by steveogolf
When I did Kenya in 1978 the vehicle could not enter Tanzania from Kenya due to conflict between the two countries, so we did multiple days in the Masai Mara and never crossed the border.
To be honest, that was probably the worst trip I have taken in the dozens of international destinations i"ve hit over several decades, probably because I felt like a spectator rather than a participant, but with wildlife viewing I guess that is what it is all about. In addition, most, but not all, of the members of the group of 15 were jerks and whimps.
Travelling independently (but not in East Africa due to logistics) is preferable for me.

By comparison, the 8 day group I went with to the Galapagos islands of Ecuador in 1979 ("Galapagos Economic Tours" no longer exists) was the best group trip I've been on (2nd place goes to the 8 days in Burma (with a Thailand operator in 1981) and 3rd place goes to an 8 day hike in the Everest region of the Himalayas from Katmandu in 1982.

Re: Crossing Africa 1959

Posted: Sun Jan 27, 2019 11:18 pm
by Steve_in_Exile
Duplicate post

Re: Crossing Africa 1959

Posted: Sun Jan 27, 2019 11:20 pm
by Steve_in_Exile
Bill Barilko wrote:
Sun Jan 27, 2019 9:23 pm
Outstanding in every way!

Thanks for posting this.
X2

It’s really one of the best things posted in quite a long time. If you follow the links on the guys YouTube video back to his channel you’ll see that he has continued a lifetime of adventures with recent trips to the Antarctic and the Aleutian Islands and many other destinations. At age 80!! He manifactures yachts for a living. Really inspiring stuff.

Re: Crossing Africa 1959

Posted: Mon Jan 28, 2019 1:26 am
by Steve_in_Exile
Here's another excellent video by the same guy, this trip done some 60 years later!



Re: Crossing Africa 1959

Posted: Mon Jan 28, 2019 4:58 am
by Lost Soul
I'm for re-colonizing the entire shithole. With the possible exception of Botswana, of course.

Plus, it would give purpose to Yurp again. Get 'er done!

Re: Crossing Africa 1959

Posted: Tue Jan 29, 2019 6:45 pm
by steveogolf
I'm never going back to Africa, except maybe to South Africa.

Re: Crossing Africa 1959

Posted: Tue Jan 29, 2019 10:26 pm
by Steve_in_Exile
I was just back in Kenya and Tanzania a month or two ago, and loved it. The people are just as genuinely warm and friendly as they were 30 years ago, and Tanzania has actually come up quite a bit economically, though Kenya has stayed about even in my opinion.

Re: Crossing Africa 1959

Posted: Wed Jan 30, 2019 8:46 pm
by Shavenhead
steveogolf wrote:
Tue Jan 29, 2019 6:45 pm
I'm never going back to Africa, except maybe to South Africa.
Don't be a soft cock.

Re: Crossing Africa 1959

Posted: Fri Feb 08, 2019 5:43 pm
by mishmish
Niice. The color quality is really good considering it's from 1959 and survived some extreme travel.
About these adventurous characters, can someone explain Collyn's teeny weeny tight shorts at about 1:13 into the film? I'm having trouble fitting those shorts into 1959.

I wonder about those fish in the desert streams they encountered, too. The watersheds in Africa are interesting. I was reading about the huge aquifers in the north (and elsewhere) Proper management of that could change the face of the continent. But this is Africa, and the aquifers cross borders, so I guess that means war and conflict instead.