Travel in Southern Africa in 2011
|Our tents on the first night
I said in my last post I would write about the road trip I have just done which covered nearly 5000 kilometers and spanned four countries in Southern African.
There are plenty similar tours and a plethora of tour operators. We opted to travel with Absolut Tours as my friend is a tour guide with them. We went for a camping and DIY tour to keep costs down.
Up front I have to say that if you are scared of wild animals, not willing to brave the odd cold shower or need a comfortable mattress to sleep, don’t do this kind of holiday.
|Our truck with tents, baggage, food, water, tables, chairs – everything!
If, however the idea of listening to lion roaring from your tent, taking a shower with a bush view and happy to cook on an open fire, then this is the way to go.
The terrain was varied. We travelled through savanna into the desert, back to semi arid bushveld and on to lush vegetation in the Caprivi Strip.
We saw the Fish River Canyon which is the second largest in the world and the Victoria Falls which are the third largest in the world. There were game reserves galore and loads of wild animals, birds, reptiles and insects.
|Tarred roads are not common in the south.
Our truck for the 16 day trip was a customised Toyota Hino. It was designed for long road trips. It carried two chest style refrigerators, trestle tables, gas bottles, tents, luggage, fold up chairs, food provisions, water, gas cooking appliances and 16 of us.
|South African/Namibian border control.
The truck collected us from the hotel where the German visitors were staying and we set off at 08.00am on the West Coast/Namibia road. That was the last time we got going that late until we had our last night at the Elephant Hills Hotel in Zimbabwe.
We were a mixed group of mostly German speaking travellers and two South Africans. The Germans had spent the last few days prior to the trip seeing the sights of Cape Town.
We had huge distances to cover with games drive, bush study excursions or boat tours to fit in as well, so early starts to the day were mandatory. The truck made it’s way along the west coast of Cape Town and then headed toward Springbok.
|Typical Namibian gravel roads.
On our first day we did the longest distance. The plan was to get to Namibia as soon as possible. We pitched our tents just outside of Springbok and learned the routine fast. Pitch tents, get the fire going, set up tables and chairs, prepare and cook food, eat, shower and go to bed.
Our first evening meal was a fish braai (BBQ), Greek salad and garlicky potatoes. There was plenty beer, cider and wine to go with our meal.
I was so grateful that our guide and friend is inclined to healthy fresh food and a very good cook. As the only vegetarian in the group I feared I may end up going hungry. It has happened to me. I ate well. Can’t promise that all guides will be like the one we had.