Rules of the Overland Road

Posted from the semi-real world of South Africa- hello everyone!

For those who may have not heard before, it turns out it’s hard to travel around the interior of Africa on your own in a way that doesn’t exist in other countries. Infrastructure is nil, public transport can be dodgy and not go where you want to go anyway, and I hope you’re a mechanic if you’re driving alone because if something breaks down you’re the one to fix it. So what is a young and/or crazy pair of lasses going to do? Join an overland safari, of course!

Basically about 30 other people plus guide, driver, and cook pile into a converted truck and get to experience every bump in the road for 7,000km from Cape Town to Victoria Falls (about twice that if you choose to go all the way to Nairobi). Tip #1: if you’re doing an overland safari, do not point out to people that the town of Victoria Falls is in Zimbabwe, as the Falls is bordered on the other side by Livingstone, Zambia. They will worry unnecessarily about you, but more on what it’s like later…

Anyway, one of the first things about overlanding you need to get used to is how you wake up really, really early every day because odds are you need to drive several hours (covering several hundred kilometers doesn’t go fast, plus odds are it’s a dirt road). I’m not particularly a morning person, so to make myself feel better I took a picture of brilliantly bright Venus in the pre-dawn sky, this particular picture over Spitzkoppe Mountain in Namibia.

And then you drive for a bit. The most random detail about our driving routine was how thoroughly obsessed everyone became with gossip magazines and the like- I can’t say I ever read a Cosmo or People all the way through, but I surely can’t say that anymore! The fact that our group was heavily skewed in the female direction surely didn’t hurt.Another pre-dawn picture, arguably looking the most tramp-like I ever have been. I know, I can’t believe there was a time when I’d get dolled up either! To explain the picture, it is awfully cold early in the morning as it’s currently wintertime (we had frost on the tent one morning in the desert), but it can heat up quite a bit by the middle of the day. Solution? Invest in knee-highs. Best socks ever!

image336

Speaking of tents, we slept in one almost nonstop for the past three weeks. Not to say camping isn’t fun, but beds still excite me. Laundry can be done about once a week, but you need to hand-wash bras throughout Africa yourself. Turns out they’re an extremely rare commodity in this part of the world so they’ll get stolen off the line or just plain go missing. And of course because this is camping everyone has to help out with something or another, the daily roster going between food prep and washup and the like. Everyone has to help out with “flapping” at the end of a meal though- it’s unsanitary to dry things with dish towels, so everything has to be air-dried by flapping your arms. Towards the end of the day it’s also a convenient excuse to warm yourself by the fire as well.

So that is overlanding. As to the things we saw whilst doing on this, let me begin the copious effort of catching up…

One response to “Rules of the Overland Road

  1. No ham antennas mentioned thus far. Namimbia must really be sparse.
    Keep up the good stuff!

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