Stan Rogers is a recently retired Australian. He and his wife, Marianne, decided that they want to explore Africa and in 2012 they will be driving from Cape Town to Cairo with their Land Rover Defender called “Tin Can”. Stan shares his experience returning to South Africa, his home country…

Getting through the travel checklist

At long last we have arrived in Cape Town on the 26th January after a long (30 hour) but uneventful flight! The past month sitting in Australia waiting to get going has been tiresome – as there has been little organisational stuff to do after Tin Can left other than a few last minute things. Car hire Cape Town is your best bet of achieving this.

The past few days in Cape Town have been more challenging.

Photos by: Stan Rogers

We are fortunate to be staying with Marianne’s sister and brother in law Marijke & Hugo who are terrific hosts. They have been driving us around half of Cape Town to purchase stuff on our travel checklist we couldn’t bring like:

  • Some personal protection items – which would be highly illegal in OZ!
  • Marine candle and parachute safety flares (which should be great to discourage the odd unfriendly animal/human)!
  • Trip to the AA to get warning triangles, a safety vest and a blue and yellow sticker denoting towing – which is a requirement in Mozambique if one wants to avoid fines at road blocks.
  • Maps to add to our Michelin series- including Tracks 4 Africa paper maps and GPS mapping.
  • A Garmin Nuovi 2460LT GPS to run T4A on.
  • A Cadac gas cylinder to run Marianne’s kitchen stove for the next year. (It’s difficult in this day of “Swap & Go” to get your own LPG cylinder filled it seems? But Afrox helped out).

Although we love Australia after living in the best country in the world for 37 years and raising a family there-and having left South Africa in the awful times of Apartheid and Stan fighting in the Border War, ahh… to be back on African soil and in the beautiful city of Cape Town at that.

The memories and feelings from our youth growing up in South Africa flood back as we deal with the local Zulus, Xhosas and Cape Malays again and the smells of Africa flood the nostrils. In fact I can only sum up the mood from a poem I came across. (The author is unknown):

An African Poem


See the African landscapes

Within my soul, within my mind

There lies a place I cannot find.

Home of my heart. Land of my birth.

Smoke-coloured stone, flame coloured earth.

Electric skies. Shivering heat.

Blood red clay beneath my feet.


At night when finally alone,

I close my eyes – and I am home.

I kneel and touch the blood warm sand

And feel the pulse beneath my hand

Of an ancient life too old to name,

In an ancient land too wild to tame.


How can I show you what I feel?

How can I make this essence real?

I search for words in blind frustration

To try and reach an explanation.

But how can heart and soul be caught

In one – dimensional written thought?

If love and longing are a “fire”

And man “consumed” by his desire,

Then this love is no simple flame

That mortal thought can hold or tame.



As deep within the earth’s own core

The love of home burns evermore.

But what is home? I hear them say,

This never was yours anyway.

You have no birthright to this place,

Descendant from another race.

An immigrant? A pioneer?

You are no longer welcome here.


Whoever said that love made sense?

“I love” is an “imperfect” tense.

To love in vain has been man’s fate

From history to present date.

I have no grounds for dispensation,

I know I have no home or nation.


For just one moment in the night

I am complete, my soul takes flight.

For just one moment .. then it’s gone

And I am once again undone.

Never complete. Never whole.

White skin and an African soul

Tin Can is still sailing the deep blue sea

The road awaits and 35,000kms ahead – and we cannot wait to see our Defender Tin Can again. But ships and shipping agents are a minefield to negotiate! (Although Martin & Chris at Seaboard Maritime Services in Cape Town have been great)! Tin Can remains somewhere on the Indian Ocean and the conversation goes a bit like this:

“The ETA of 4th Feb in Cape Town is not any longer achievable”

“Why not?”

“Because the ship has to go to Durban first.”

“ I know that. That was always the case.”

“But the container has to be transhipped to another ship in Durban.” (This I didn’t know).

“But it may not be transhipped in Durban. The ship it’s on may come to Port Elizabeth instead and transhipment might occur there. We don’t know what ship it will come to Cape Town on.”

“Any idea when it might arrive”?

“Maybe the 7th or the 8th or the 9th or the 10th

Fair weather, oh ship!

Do you want to trample the African soil with a Defender like Stan and Marianne? Hire a Defender yourself and go big in Africa!