TRAVELBUCKET

Namibia

DO YOU WANT TO GO SOLO OFF THE BEATEN TRACK?

Going solo off the beaten track is not for every off-road traveller whether you visit Botswana, Namibia or venture further into Africa past Zambia, going north.  There are pros and cons to it so you need to consider everything.  If you are a social person and like the company of fellow travellers and hate being alone then going solo is definitely not for you.  Groups also provide some security and you can share costs of planned activities. If you like your own company and have some travel savvy then going solo is for you.  Going solo gives you freedom of choice and total independence to change your travel plans on the spur of the moment if something interests you on the wayside. Things that you need to consider when planning your next solo African trip are the following. You will need the ability to navigate.  There are not many countries… Read more >

WILDERNESS CAMPING

Through social media I noticed that a woman was recently attacked by a beaut of a leopard in the Matopi campsite in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park and there is a bit of a hype amongst campers at the moment.    As usual there are a lot of accusations flying around on the how, why, do’s and don’ts.  I want to stress that we have camped in the wilderness for the past 20 years and never ever had any incident/accident while camping in an unfenced campsite in Africa.  We encountered hyenas skimming our tent in Moremi, a shy leopard watching us from the dark behind our tent in Central Kalahari, elephants stepping over our tent ropes in Mana Pools, hippos grazing on the green grass in front of our tent in Nkasa Rupara and monkeys trying to steal our food In Hwangwe, but nothing turned out as a bad situation. If you… Read more >

CROSSING THE BORDER (PART IV) – FOOD

        This is always a tricky topic as it is mostly country-specific.   Botswana with its in-country vet fences is a classic example which affect the movement of raw meat and pork. We never take all our food from home as this just adds weight to your vehicle which increases fuel consumption and with Shoprite branches in the major cities in Africa you will find most of the food stuff needs – some at a price, but you will find it.   Weigh up the pro’s and cons and decide where you find your balance! Be realistic when planning your food. Everything is not always as fresh as back home  or as readily available especially when planning some or other exotic dish for dinner.  Remember that you are doing this trip to experience Africa.  Sometimes you have to think out of the box to create a wholesome dish in… Read more >

CROSSING THE BORDER (PART III) – ARRIVING AT THE BORDER

You have made it to the border post!  Now you need to keep calm and work through the process.  Remember each country has its own rules. Which border post? In all our years of travel we found that it is much easier to enter/exit at smaller border posts.  At the bigger border posts, the officials are sometimes tired and irritated and will take their time to work through the processes.  Our experience is at the smaller posts they are friendlier and welcome a chat while doing their work. When? Try to avoid peak times, if possible, like month end, late Friday afternoon or popular public holidays like Easter.  Everybody is in a hurry and the queues are longer, the tempers flare quicker and willingness is shorter. Be positive! No matter how frustrated you get, try to smile and be friendly.  They are only doing their job.  A positive attitude goes… Read more >

CROSSING THE BORDER (PART II) – VEHICLE AND INSURANCE

This is probably the most stressful aspect of any border crossing, with the most variables per country, but if you stick to the following you should be more or less okay.  If your vehicle is still under a finance agreement, you will need to acquire a letter of permission from the applicable financial institution. Each institution has its own requirements and procedures to follow as to how to obtain it.  Allow enough time to obtain the required paperwork.  If you are planning to take a trailer or caravan remember to do the same, if financed. Make sure your ID number matches that used on your vehicle documents. If your registration papers show your RSA ID number, then take it with you.  Rather take too much proof than be in a predicament. Take a colour copy of your vehicle’s registration papers. This is very handy. It is a popular document and… Read more >

CROSSING THE BORDER (PART I) – PLANNING

African border posts have an notorious reputation, but it is not as bad as everyone thinks as long as you go prepared and have no illusions.  Most border trouble comes down to inexperience or impatience – not only in Africa, but throughout the world.  The key is to prepare well beforehand and remember every successful border crossing pans out differently in each country as regulations change all the time and is rapidly outdated.  There are general tips that you can follow to ease your encounter at the border post, so consider some of the following tips. SO, THIS SAID, WHERE DO I START?  Right at the beginning.   Planning, planning, planning and some more planning!  Start doing your homework well in advance, because it might take some time to get your ducks in a row and quacking. The number one place to start will be at your documents.  Without a passport,… Read more >

THE GOOD OLD PAPER MAP

        Why still a hard copy map?  Yes, yes, yes I know all the modern technology is available – and I do own a GPS and a smart phone with navigational abilities, but I still love a good old map with all those red lines connecting places. You see this is where the practical me jumps in again.  I like it because: There is nothing more rewarding when you are planning a trip than to spread out the map on the table and say that is where I want to go. Yes, yes, I know the GPS shows me where I want to go, but sometimes we get so blinded by tunnel vision  focussing on what the GPS tells us what to do that we do not actually know where we are in the bigger picture. Driving in town that is fine, you can just replace/recharge the… Read more >

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