When we first began to talk about the trip we didn’t know where we wanted to travel. We just knew we had the desire to go so we sat down and made a list of what we each wanted individually. We then took from our lists all the common interests. Originally Derek had wanted to go to America and I had wanted to go to Zanzibar. Here are the common interests:
- the road trip,
- scenery and nature,
- swimming and water activities,
- game drives,
- Victoria falls
- and drumming.
- We agreed: no dugouts; no game walks with lions; and no quirky loges.
And Africa it was! We interviewed our friends, eager to learn from their experiences of Africa and picked up some helpful details. ‘Safe’ was a term I use, mostly, because I have a need to have thought everything through and have a plan for all eventualities.
The first question was whether to start from Cape Town and drive up through Botswana or Namibia or to fly to Gauteng and hire a vehicle from there. The latter would work out more expensive so we chose to do the former as we were really doing it on a shoe string budget. As we were borrowing so much equipment from friends it would also make sense to take it in our vehicle from Cape Town where we lived; and also we would see more of Africa.
Our second question was about what vehicle to use. The two main vehicles that were recommended was the Toyota Land cruiser or a Land Rover. We soon learnt that there are two main types of fanatics and they were either one of the above mentioned; both vehemently defending their choice. Our one friend has a bumper sticker on his Toyota Land cruiser, near his tow hitch, which says ‘attach Land Rover here’. The other one has a sticker on his Land Rover that says ‘I’d rather push my Land Rover than drive a Toyota.’ I have an amusing story to tell you further along the journey, about towing, when we get to Poppa Falls. We decided to use our own car which was a Kia Sedona Mini bus. It is a diesel and a little underpowered but we weren’t planning to do off-road trips so we felt confident it would be okay.
Here is a list of equipment we took:
- Satellite phone: We had the emergency numbers of a specific friend we knew who would make a plan to come and help if we were stranded. I was very concerned about accidents and ‘what if Derek was injured or killed?’ At that stage I wasn’t confident that I would be resourceful enough to get us to safety. Thankfully we never had to use it. What we noticed is we had mobile phone reception in most places and so it wasn’t really needed.
- Storage system: For all our belongings: clothes, food, cooking gear, sleeping bags, personal belongings, toiletries etc.
- Roof top tent: People asked us why we decided to use a rooftop tent and the major reason was because, of my anxiety, I didn’t want to chance being at ground level with wild animals and reptiles about. I felt very safe up there and it was really cosy.
- portable wash line
- Medical kit
- Fire extinguisher
- Tyre kit
- We replaced all our saloon tyres with commercial vehicle tyres, which are cheaper but more robust and help with pot holes. We travelled 11300 km in 42 days and we never so much as had to pump the tyres.
- Infra-red torch for scorpions
- Braai/barbecue equipment
- Gas stove, pots, cooking and eating utensils.
We borrowed a lot of stuff from our friends and we are indebted to their help for such a wonderful trip. You might have picked up that some of the choices were made around my anxieties and I appreciate Derek’s sensitivity in this regard. So began the living of our own lives and the trip plan into Africa.
Till next time, enjoy life!
An African Adventure: Cars and equipment