For desert travel, fit long-range fuel tanks and make provision for storing drinking water. Carry further supplies of both in jerry cans. A jack is of no use in soft sand and an air bag should be carried which is inflated by the exhaust. Extra filters will be needed in the fuel line and air intake. Sand tyres must be fitted and sand channels carried to get you moving again when bogged down in loose sand. For high altitudes, the carburettor needs adjustment. In scrub country, thorn gators will reduce the risk of a flat tyre. Believe it or not, antifreeze is an absolute must for keeping the motor running at a cooler temperature. Always remember that different climatic conditions will dictate how your vehicle should be tuned. Two spare wheels are a minimum requirement for your African safari and of course a fully equipped toolbox for obvious reasons.
Generally, you will encounter extremely varying temperature changes when traveling through very dry and arid regions, which can put an enormous strain on any metal parts of your vehicle’s motor increasing the risks of leaks – be sure to keep a close eye on the condition of your engine. Overheating is always a concern while on safari due to slow traveling speeds especially in older 4×4 vehicles. If overheating occurs, the best solution is to stop and allow the engine to cool off and try to identify why the vehicle is overheating. If in a tricky stretch and stopping is out of the question, turn on the heater. This will make the cab extremely hot but what it does is allow is greater volume to the cooling water and, the engine will become cooler. Check the radiator hoses for leaks as well as the radiator, adding the white of an egg will seal small holes in the radiator.
Here are a few general tips to keep your vehicle running smoothly while on your African safari. If you encounter clutch slip, often caused by oil or grease on the clutch plates use your fire extinguisher and squirt it through the inspection plate; this is a great degreaser. A fan belt is a crucial part of your vehicle’s motor without it you are going nowhere but don’t stress if it snaps improvise with a pair of tights, a tie or even string. If a high-tension lead breaks, you may be able to replace it with any twig with a high water content, the current will be carried from the coil to the distributor through the twig. Be careful, the current is about 1300 volts. The twig must be replaced regularly as it will dry out. Don’t worry about a dead battery, nothing a steep incline cannot sort out to start your vehicle – use gear two or three when releasing the clutch.
Its is always a good idea to make sure that your vehicle is in good running condition before going on an African safari, some places you might be visiting are miles away from any service or work shops and communications might be a bit of a hassle if you are off the beaten track.