Why with a vehicle to the Indian Ocean?                                              May 31, 2012                           (check also: "Why with a vehicle to the Caribbean?" and "Why with a vehicle to the Pacific?")

Many might not understand such a move, because the whole region is without doubt “in the grip” of sailors. But we don’t own just an ordinary car; we carry our entire household with us. It’s well known that the islands of the Indian Ocean are pretty costly; therefore our self-contained travel style has enormous advantages, of course also economically. To say this, we do not have to rely on hotels, restaurants and rental cars. Lonely Planet mentions to expect average costs of at least US$ 100 per person/day traveling the budget level. Unfortunately we hadn't any lucky circumstances with ferries, freighters and particularly the harbors, thus we were able to keep the daily average for all three (= the two of us and our LandCruiser) just at about US$100 per day. Of course, a longer stay on each island plays also an important role, which – looking at their exceptional beauty – was hardly a problem ever, and of course also our modest lifestyle.

We do have to mention however that “Cruising” the Indian Ocean with a LandCruiser is not easy indeed. While now and then it is possible to find a reasonable shipping connection to the next island, the Anglophone (formerly the English Colonies) and French islands do not know any temporary car import, not even for a brief tourist purpose. Generally, every car is treated as being definitively imported, i.e. with customs duties to be paid, inspection and registration etc. etc. Only due to our entry in the Guinness Book of World Records, the authorities of the visited islands agreed to facilitate us the entry procedure for our vehicle. But it did not always work out as promised. Occasionally we still had to pay unforeseeable fees – in any case more than we were used to pay at border crossings on continents.

In the past approximately 17 months, we were able to visit 6 islands of 6 different countries and we drove nearly 8’000 miles. Besides enjoying the welcoming people, we were overwhelmed by the really superb beaches, untouched rain forests, mountains and coastal attractions, as well as animals – in one phrase: The huge logistical efforts of bureaucracy were well worth it!