I don't see how those vehicles could be very fuel efficient. The route that you mentioned; Germany, France, Spain, Maroc, Western Sahara, Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Togo is at least a 3,000 mile journey. I'm guessing they're diesel.
At 15 mpg, thats 200 gallons in 6 months. In Europe gas is at least 5 dollars a gal. and I think Africa it's less but I really don't know. If we estimate an average of 4 dollars a gal. on the trip so far, they spent the equivalent of $800 USD in 180 days. If true, that means a daily load of well over 4 dollars added to the budget for fuel alone. To much work to figure in metric and Euros.
I think your right, they probably are more concerned about controlling the quality of life than saving. But in a way, could it be considered a combination of transport AND sleep accommodation? Do they sleep in the things?
Those vehicles look pretty cumbersome to me. Not to mention whatever they must have to go through at the borders with those monsters.
I translated the Spuren-hinterlassen.com entry page to English, kinda choppy but it looks like a medical related quest...
"Spuren-hinterlassen.com. One year west Africa with Magirus Expeditionsfahrzeug. The search for the medicine of Africa.
Starting from January 2007 for us two are to be approx. 1 year through Morocco, west Sahara, Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Togo, Ghana, Togo, Benin, the Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali, Senegal, Guinea until sow, Senegal, the Gambia, Mauritania and Morocco. On our way there we want to become acquainted with the most different medical utility systems, document and in with them to work. A rough goal are the district hospital pc. Francis Xavier in Assin Foso and the G.P.H.A. - Hospital in Takoradi, one of the few AIDS therapy centers of Ghana, where we want to be again some time as “more volunteer” active.
On our way back we will possibly complete our west Africa experience with Algeria, Tunesien and Libya, if the political situation permits it, before then starting from at the beginning of 2008 one of the few “on-road-west-Afika-lectures” will be available from medical view.
Very good analysis Eric
The ego often writes checks it cannot cash. What we need to feel safe is not the same as we can afford. Most people buy what they need for comfort and what their ego needs to feel powerful or empowered.
Nothing is wrong with saying, I am paying a lot to live like a King, however there is a problem when someone cannot separate a good budget from their need to feel like a King.
Yes, they do for sure sleep in this vehicle.
I was in the hotel Alice, I can rent a room for 3000 CFA.
Later the next day, all these Germans were in a place called Rhieners a very German place eating. Five Germans and me, everyone ordered Schnitzel, I think this is correct, or bread pork for 3500 CFA, then the extra large beers for about 1000 CFA.
This is 9 US dollars and about two times the cost of the rent of a room.
I was not going to eat Schnitzel, I do not care, I am not going to eat Pork in Africa. My one aquaintanc became very angry, he said, but it a German owner. I am thinking to myself, you do not have the best history on the planet.. Hehehe
However, to me, the ambiance did no equate paying a 9 dollar meal in a country where 1 dollar is a days pay.
This point of the food is this, if the price of the room was a problem, and if money was the issue, the budge would also be applied to the cost of food.
There are tons of similar trips going on out there, seems like it is very popular to take a vehicle from Europe and drive down Africa. Just check out this website, which lists some of the trips:
The Africa Overland Network
I think most people use their vehicle as accomodation, so traveling with a vehicle doesn't nessecarily be that much more expensive.