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from what i have read about these types of trip (i considered doing it a couple of years ago, but found it prohibitively expensive to consider), abandoning the car at the end isn't an option. That's why you need a Carnet de Passage to bring vehicles into the countries. If you don't take the car out with you, you pay a huge penalty fine. (this is especially the case in South Africa, because this is where everyone finishes, so they used to get loads of vehicles left in cape town). However, maybe if you buy the car in africa is less a problem?
as for driving across africa in a car, sounds fun! BBC tv show Top Gear set themselves a similar challenge a few years ago: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Top_Gear:_Botswana_Special
they drove 1000 miles of Africa in used cars they bought cheap. I think the VW Beetle came out best in the end, with the least amount of breakdowns, but noone would want to drive one of those.
Thanks Ash, so I need to figure out a way or where to sell or leave the car, or bring it back, hard to imagine there is no way to despose of a car.
No (big) problem dumping the car at the end if it is cheap enough, since the penalty is based on the value of the car. I think the fine is something like 400 of the value of the car, so if the car is only worth 500 bucks (stated in the Carnet de Passage), then it might be worth it to dump it and pay additionally $2000 in fine, especially if sharing with somebody.
Talking about crossing Africa in a car, how about this guy with a beach buggy:
Report it stolen or totaled in accident.
It is best to just donate the car to a local policeman in exchange for a police report of wrecked or stolen car. Problem solved and the happy policeman now has a car and you get your deposit back.
PS why not take a van so you can sleep in ? VW makes those eurowagons that are cheap and good on gas have a fridge and you can store extra parts, waterpump,alternator,tires,belts 8 track player.
Africa is probably the easy continent, almost all the travelers in Africa are in cars and the police are used to them.
This is how you get in trouble, a person see you face and stops you, or they drive ahead of you very fast and block the road. Ergo, the reason for tinted windows, and of course the license plate is a problem.
Carnet de Passage, this is French.
Do not make this too difficult sounding, the person who is willing to get into a car and drive does it.