Tamzyn recently enjoyed a 21 day overland adventure from Cape Town to Victoria Falls. This is the first part of her daily diary entries on her incredible Overlanding Africa experience.
Meeting the Overland Crew
Our pre-trip departure meeting has been postponed until tomorrow as our tour guide's opening speech is drowned out by the noise of a packed pool party at the backpackers. We’ll receive Innocent's official welcome speech when we reach our campsite and the need for a mime rendition is negated. I did however meet some of the interesting travelers I will be sharing the next 21 days with as well as our fantastic friendly crew - 3 Zimbabweans and a Namibian. Everything is ready for a perfect trip and awesome adventure. I have even received my nickname already - Thamsanqa (means lucky in Zulu).
Tomorrow we head into the ragged, rocky towers of the South African Cederberg Mountains north of Cape Town with the chance to enjoy a wine tasting tour before camping at one of the area’s gorgeous wine farms.
Day 2 - Cederberg:
There could not have been a greater start to the trip! Plenty of drive-by photography as we all snapshot the hell out of the some of the insane Cederberg rock formations and the most mind-blowing majestic mountains I have ever seen.
My world for sunscreen
I have committed one of Overlanding’s cardinal sins and forgotten to wear my sunscreen. The scorching sun has turned my window arm bright lobster red and it’s starting to hurt! Ouch. We set up our tents for the first night and choose our new tent buddies before spending the afternoon lounging in a clear and cool blue waters of the pool overlooking the vineyards of The Highlander Wine Estate, getting to know the mixture of characters and personalities in our motley travelling crew. We are a diverse bunch with everything from adventurous Aussie boys and dynamic young Danes, to a hilarious South Korean Police Officer, an entertaining older Englishman and a Canadian. Many of them are seasoned travelers of Asia, South and North America.
We spend a blissfully quite evening under a sparkling star-filled night sky at the vineyard bar before turning in to our tents for our first night on nature’s orthopedic mattress, the ground. Useful Hint: Before choosing a tent buddy asks who snores. We are all extremely excited about crossing over South Africa’s largest river the Orange River tomorrow, which is currently in flood and has reached its highest level in 24 years! Our usual campsite is sitting under water, so we are crossing our first border into Namibia to camp on the Namibian side of the riverbank.
Day 3 - Orange River:
A gorgeous sunrise greets us this morning as it rises and lights up the enormous vineyards before we set off on the truck towards Namibia.
On the road
Kim’s, the Police Officer, hilarious stories of life in Korea and travelling through South America keep us laughing our asses off the entire way. Did you know: melons are imported into South Korea and are so expensive that they are given as gifts in boxes? After a roadside lunch of tomato and cheese sandwiches in the dry Karoo heat we arrive in the historic town of Springbok, our last stop before entering Namibia. The Northern Cape’s largest town, Springbok is centred round a strange hill which now shows off some of Namaqualand’s strange floral life. The Namaqualand area is known for its spectacular transformation in spring in which the dry scrub-land bursts forth in a dazzling show of flowers. The heat is frying our brains as it visibly rises off the road in front of and as we cross the flooded Great Orange River and Namibian border. Our first border post of the trip- YIPPEE!!!
Felix Unite, tonight’s campsite on the banks of the Orange River has had its lower bar and lodges flooded. The pool and poolside bar overhanging the river offer up an awesome view and the best spot to watch the sun go down over the river whilst we enjoy a few pre-party drinks.
Orange River Punch Anyone?
Tonight is punch night and the entertainment is proudly provided by the duly appointed punch master and punch bitch! A few of us choose to play drinking games and have refreshing late night swims in the camp pool, laughing into the early hours. We are going to regret this in the morning when we have to spend 7 hours on the truck!
I wonder if the Fish River Canyon is more or less beautiful when you are wearing vodka/beer/cane/shooter goggles. Stand by for the next installment!
For information about overlanding in Africa or to find out more about this trip, contact the team at OverlandingAfrica.com.