What’s the Story?
A plan to drive to the Sahara developed late in 2011. Land Rovers of Switzerland Club member Patrick Amann wanted to take his 1949 Series I 80in and was looking for other club members to join him. My 1950 Series I was in no condition to make such a trip, but I had a plan. I’d buy an ex-fire brigade Series III. By March 2012, we were a group with eight Land Rovers (six Series, one Defender and one Disco 3) and had bought our return ferry tickets between the northern Italian port of Genoa and the Tunisian capital, Tunis.
We met up one weekend at the beginning of August to plan the route and share information. Three of our number, Patrick, Willy Stirnemann and Stoni, were already experienced Sahara travellers, so I felt in good company. During that weekend, we got to know a great bunch of folk – in fact it seemed everyone was a Land Rover nut like me, and a strong bond was soon forming.
Our Favourite Bit?
About 25 miles south of Douz, we stopped at the Café la Porte du Desert, then after a drink continued south towards Mount Tembaine and the Jebil National Park. We approached a massive and difficult-to-drive sand dune – the clue was another desert café at its foot, offering shade from the sun and a place to spectate.
My sand-tyred Series III was the only one of our group to make it over the dune without getting stuck; all the others got bogged down several times. We camped a few miles down the road for our first night in the Sahara.
And the Verdict from Rob Wyss?
Rob Wyss says: ‘These are my personal opinions, but having eight cars did slow the tour down. Three or four Land Rovers would make for an easier convoy. Although, with the team we had, I’d do it again any time! I’d take a better refrigerator, a more powerful compressor, a big baseplate for the Hi-Lift jack, lots of mozzy repellent, a sand-proof camera, an electric current convertor for charging tablet and camera, a chargeable workshop LED lamp, and a satnav with better coverage.
‘I’ve already bought my own Maxtrax sand ladders and quick-release bracket. I’d also like an awning on the side of the roof rack to get shade, and a better shower: nothing beats a shower in the evening after eating sand all day!’
The full story can be found in the August 2013 issue of LRO. Download a digital issue, or order a back issue by calling 01858 438884.