Thursday, March 04, 2004

Overlanding Around Southern Africa

This is a retrospective post since the events all occurred well before I was blogging :) It was written on 22 April 2008.

At the end of February 2004 I finished my last working day in Cape Town. Shortly thereafter (3rd of March to be exact), I headed off on a 5 week Overland Tour of Southern Africa with Wagon Trails.

This trip was sadly triggered by a boy (can I even admit that one?). One of the only things I remember from my break up with The Lying Pilot (other than it was one of the best things that ever happened to me ... although I didn't think so at the time!) is that he said to me something along the lines of: I'd follow him where ever he wanted to go, but where did I want to go? I'd honestly never thought about it before. And in more ways than one, the breakup with him was a turning point in my life. I did this trip a year after that break up and since then have made sure that I've had at least one major international holiday of my choosing each year.

So how did I decide on this trip? South Africa is an interesting place. Aside from the vast mix of cultures that live here, we are greatly influenced by *both* America and Britain when it comes to television, music etc. This means that in general (in my opinion), most young, white South Africans seem to either head straight to Europe or USA, depending on which influence they most align themselves with. I easily fall into the Europe category, but had already done a 6 week Contiki-type tour in the December-January holidays after finishing Matric (Grade 12).

And I decided I didn't really understand why everyone rushed off to a First World country. They'll be around for ages. I decided (and you'll see the trend in my future trips) that while I was young, I'd stick with the Third World countries where things may not run smoothly, there'd probably be no discernible public transport and I may well end up spending the night in a tent. I could travel tourist-geared places like Europe and USA when I was older and needed comfortable accommodation and easy to reach destinations!

Unfortunately, the company doesn't seem to be offering the exact tour I did anymore (or seem to be trading as Wagon Trails these days either) but it was pretty much a 36 day combination of their (currently on offer) 21 day-Cape to Vic Falls and 24-day Tropical Trek. But, here it is in a nutshell :)

03Mar04: Cape Town / Johannesburg to Upington, South Africa
We started in Cape Town (or Joburg, depending what was convenient) and caught an over night bus to Upington, South Africa (where we met up with the Joburg folk and our guide, Andrew)

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