'Tourists' tackle Africa in a Merc
STOPPING OFF TO REPAIRS: Clive and Ann Barker alongside their trusty 1017A as it receives some TLC before taking them on the next leg of their global trip that will see them venture into Africa.
DURBAN - One English couple that has spent ten years - including a six-day traffic jam - travelling 300 000km across the globe in their Mercedes-Benz truck and are now in Durban while the 1017A is repaired ahead of their great African adventure.
The wanderlust grabbed hold of an English couple 10 years ago and it hasn't let go since resulting in them travelling close to 300 000km all over the globe in Mercedes-Benz trucks.
JOURNEY TO LAST MONTHS - OR YEARS
Clive and Ann Barker (68 and 65, respectively) of Somerset are in Durban at the start of a journey through southern and central Africa that could last months or years...
Clive said: "Time is not really an issue for us so we'll meander along doing what we enjoy most - meeting wonderful people and discovering places we know little about.
“We have no idea when our travels will end although once we’ve completed this leg we’ll have visited most of the countries we were keen to see.
“But we’re in no hurry to finish – we seldom travel faster than 60km/h. For us it’s all about the journey rather than the destination."
The Barkers’ 28-year-old Mercedes-Benz 1017A truck has been shipped from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and is currently undergoing repairs in Durban.
"The vehicle needed its brake cylinders replaced so that has been done for us in workshops of the Mercedes-Benz commercial vehicle dealer in Durban. Management kindly allowed us to sleep over for a few nights in our home on wheels while the repairs were being done," said Clive.
From here the Barkers plan to head north to visit game reserves in Zululand, then on through Swaziland to the Kruger National Park before trucking back to the coast for a journey along the Garden Route.
"We’ll leave the truck in Cape Town and fly home for Christmas. Early in the new year we’ll be back to resume our travels going up the west coast into Namibia and then on as far as the whim takes us,” said Clive.
The Barkers’ travel quest was sparked in 2000 by an advert in a British motor-caravan magazine about an overland and sea journey to Beijing, China. They inquired and decided to go “on the spur of the moment”.
They bought a Mercedes-Benz 811 truck and kitted it out fully for living in before travelling about 150 000km all over the world including a trip through south and Central America visiting 23 different countries.
GERMAN ARMY SPECIAL
In 2008 they bought their present truck from the German army, once again installing as many home comforts as possible. “We’ve bought old trucks to ensure there’s no modern electronics to confuse the issue when running repairs need to be made and chose Mercedes-Benz because they are so reliable and the only motor company I know which stocks spares for its old models – on top of that the parts are available almost everywhere in the world!”
In March, 2011 the Barkers left home and drove through Europe, the Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, China, Tibet, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand and Malaysia where their journey ended in Singapore earlier this year. They then shipped their truck to Durban.
“In China we got stuck in a traffic jam that lasted six days, although we managed to turn off the road after three days! The amazing thing is the spirit in which Chinese people accept such things as part of their lives – they smile and laugh about it,” said Ann
Clive said they were excited about their African adventure and were particular looking forward to seeing wildlife.