Uruguay 4: The Hinterland and the forgotten railway town

Travelling through Uruguay and crossing the Rio Negro.

Along the coast of Uruguay-119

Wir fahren durch Uruguay und treffen Burkhardt und Anke Schleicher aus Namibia, welche in diesem Land eine neue Existenz auf der Farm Fortaleza aufgebaut haben. Es ist ein gute Gelegenheit, viel über das Land zu erfahren und warum ihre Farm als “suizo”(dreckig) bezeichnet wird, nur weil sie naturbelassen ist, während in Uruguay alle Flora für die Rinderzüchtung gerodet wird, damit möglichst viel Weideland entsteht. Resultat: optisch ein recht langweilig wirkendendes Flachland.

From the coast we travelled to visit the farm Fortaleza, owned by emigrant farmers from Namibia. Here we learned more about cattle ranching in Uruguay, producing of the world’s best beef and the stark contrast to Namibia where a farm 20 times the size would be required to produce the same amount of beef due to the high rainfall in Uruguay. Temperatures were a low 4 deg C in the morning.

Anke and Burkhardt provided us tipps which route to travel onwards to the somewhat forgotten railroad town of Jose Battle y Ordonez with the Station Nico Perez (a living museum as there are still rail activities happening there), on via Sarandi de Yi and then crossing the Rio Negro by ferry to reach San Gregorio de Polanco. On the way we see some Gauchos, however these days more on bikes than on horses.

This entry covers the period 18-20May 2016

Uruguay 3: Exploring the Coast of Uruguay

Along the coast of Uruguay-116

Wir fahren entlang der Küstenorte in Richtung des bekannten Ferienzieles Punta del Este.

We drive through towns like La Paloma, Punta del Diablo,Aguas Dulces,past Fortaleza de Santa Teresa until we turn inland at La Coronilla.

Under way we camp at Paraiso Suizo, a popular stopover for overlanders with Heinz and Sylvia being the hosts. Here many overlanders leave their vehicles while returning home (US$50 per month). Unfortunately we have a lot of rain and storms on this route and the Atlantic is brown and turbulent and kitesurfers have a field day.

Uruguay 2: Colonia del Sacramento – Uruguay

Unser erstes Ziel ist Colonia del Sacramento – ein kleines, altes Städtchen am Rio de la Plata gegenüber von Buenos Aires.

The town has a historical lighthouse, quaint restaurants and shops. Here you can dine inside vintage cars. Initially occupied by the Portugese, later Spanish.

Two camping sites can be considered close to the town: Rogales ( not recommended by us – noisy but close-by) or Brisas del Plata, which turned out to be quiet, along the river and pleasant.


This post covers 12th-15th May 2016

Uruguay 1: Ambling through Montevideo

Bevor es richtig los geht, haben wir 3 Tage um Montevideo kennenzulernen und einen ersten Eindruck zu gewinnen. Haben Rundfahrten mit dem Touristenbus gemacht und sind viel zu Fuss abgeklappert – eine generell saubere, sichere und schöne Stadt mit viel Handarbeit und Kunst in Galerien und Strassenmärkten, Strassenmusikern und hervorragenden Restaurants.

For US$21 per Person a ticket on the “Bus Touristico descubrí Montevideo” city tour bus is good value and a relaxed way to scout the city. We really made good use over the 24hr period during which the ticket is valid and visited 2 street markets at opposite ends of town, ate heaps of meat grilled on open fires in the Mercado del Puerto close to the harbour and watched tango dancers in the street.

At the restaurant Es Mercat with Chef Roberto Connio we sampled our first Corvina (Corbiña) fish -absolutely delicious ( find them at Colon1550 esq.Piedras )

Montevideo must hold the record for monuments of historically important generals, politicians and others – all on horses. On the “Plaza Independencia”the monument of General Jose Artigas and the underground mausoleum is worth seeing. The plaza is surrounded by interesting buildings  including the President’s offices.

We applied for the “Certificado de Ingreso”, the all important document to register our arrival in order to be able to get the vehicles cleared. For this we had to deal with officialdom which we found friendly and efficient and had our document within an hour. Then off to the clearing agents Repremar where Laura Seravia is a pleasure to deal with and the company leaves a professional impression. Fortunately all is within walking distance from our Smart Hotel in the Calle de Missiones near the port. We hoped to clear the vehicles the next day.

We managed to fill our Cadac gas cyclinders at Punto Gas at address  Maldonado 961,Montevideo

Preparation and Shipping

Als Teil der Vorbereitung haben wir für 3 Monate ein Spanisch Kursus bei José Hares von der Latin Connection belegt – wird es helfen uns in dieser Sprache ab Mai zurecht zu finden? 

The day to containerise the vehicle arrived on Wednesday 23rd of March, all going well we should receive them in Montevideo on the 10th of May. The ship “Cap Cortes” will take the containers to Santos in Brasil from where they get transhipped to Montevideo in Uruguay (www.marine traffic.com is a site that allows easy tacking of a ship from port to port) . Until such time that the vehicles were driven into the Hi-cube container, we weren’t sure that the height would fit – worst case, we would have to take the all boxes on top down. Once in the container, could we still get out of the driver door? As it turned out, this was not possible and the exit through the back was the only way out – luckily we had designed the vehicle so that we can sleep inside in extreme weather conditions where we cannot open the roof tent. There was just enough height for us to crawl through.

For extra protection of the vehicles we added inflatable dunnage bags – for this the container had to be moved through the terminal at SACD in Cape Town to get to a compressed air supply connection- better would have been to bring a compressor along. Once in the container, all the battery connections had to be disconnected. Tanks have to be near empty ( less than quarter) for fire safety aboard ship. We felt great relief once the seal was in place and we aim to witness its removal at destination. Overall shipping duration Cape Town to Montevideo is just over six weeks.


Customs, Carnets, Clearing

Das WIE und mit WEM / How and with whom

Da wir niemanden kennen, der sein Wagen von Südafrika nach Südamerika verschifft hat, blieben bei uns viele Fragen offen: Export und re-import, Carnet gebrauchen oder nicht, welchen Spediteur und welchen Agenten in Uruguay?

It took us a few months to establish what the easiest route would be: forget all talk about export/import, ITAC, SARS etc. Get a Carnet from the AAofSA(Automobil Association of SA), pay your deposit and carnet fees (which depend on vehicle value) and find a suitable agent. In our quest we only came across two logistics companies that we felt comfortable with: CTC Worldwide Logistics and JH Logistics.

Shipping the vehicles to South America

Verschiffung / getting the vehicles to the starting point

In welches Land sollten wir die Wagen verschiffen? Nach einiger Recherche wurde uns klar, dass Montevideo in Uruguay die einzige gute Wahl sein würde.

Once we had decided to tour South America (SoAm) the question was how to get vehicle to where. We investigated several options including Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Colombia and Venezuela. The more we read and the more we investigated, the clearer it became that from South Africa the best option is Montevideo in Uruguay. Less corruption we were told and better organised.

The next question had been as to how: by ship, in a 40ft container of the Hicube type – this should accommodate both vehicles if we planned it carefully.

Welcome to our travel blog / willkommen auf unserem blog

Vorfreude ist die beste Freude. 12 Monate auf dem südamerikanischen Kontinent per Geländewagen zu reisen – unser Traum wird wahr.

To prepare a trip of approx a year on a continent with which we are not familiar has taken us a little longer than anticipated. For this reason our blog is late to make its appearance and we are only now learning how to set it up . Today is the day.

With our flight leaving on the 6th of May, it leaves us limited time to post some of the information we have gathered. We shall try to take you along on this journey over the coming 12 months.