A night of rest, a shower, and a fill up were all we needed the next day to take off for the Mandara lakes. However, the only passage we had to get through a gallery of dunes was only 10 meters wide. We had no problems with the Jeeps but the trucks found it impossible, even with the lowest possible tire pressures, to conquer the soft sand. There was just no way we could get them through so we had to abort this section for our trucks, who returned to the camping site.
As staying behind at the camping site is not an option because of the beauty of the Mandara lakes, the truck drivers and passengers became quad and Jeep drivers and passengers that day. Amidst an enormous sea of sand are about ten volcanic lakes surrounded by a patch of palm trees. The weather was warm and the water very salty, so we all had a great rest floating in the lakes. This was an experience never to forget, but it book both man and machine to get there. Luckily, the Wranglers did a great job!
Unfortunately, this highlight also marked the end of the trip for our group of plane passengers who would return for Sheba Airport the next day. The Overland team decided to take an additional detour towards the Oum El Ma lakes, which are situated to the east. We also visited the ancient Roman site of Sabratha , one of the best preserved Roman sites along the Roman coastal road from Carthago in Tunesia to Cairo in Egypt.
After a last fill-up in Zuara (0.08 euro for 1 liter of diesel and 0.1 euro for petrol) we prepared to cross the border. Thanks to the excellent help and preparation of all our paperwork by Mansour of the AANIA agency, this went very smoothly. A last stop in Sousse, and we were off to take the ferry in Tunis back to Genova and Brussels.
The Jeep Ecospedition was driven with ten Wranglers (six JK Unlimited CRD Rubicon auto plus two JK Unlimited CRD 6-speed manual and two Wranglers TJs). All cars were stock with only additional protection with MOPAR skid plates. We had prepared all cars to have similar tires and wheels for easy assistance, and every Jeep was equipped with camping gear for the crew, personal luggage, four Jerry cans of diesel, and one Jerry can of water.
The MAN TGM expedition truck carried the following spare parts: four shock absorbers, a steering stabilizer, all filters, water hoses, turbo hoses, fuses, sensors, and all fluids. Apart from all the usual tools and tire repair kits, we also took a Star scanner to help detect any problems. The only issue we encountered was a burned fuse of fuel injection pump on a Rubicon Wrangler, and two start malfunctions because of fuses that came loose driving on the washboard tracks. We had two flat tires which we repaired easily, and one ripped tire that was lost.