Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Holiday in Africa
In Europe we are used to people returning from holidays in Africa absolutely smitten with the continent and, as a regular traveller to Southern Africa, I can assure you that all the stories of incomparable sunsets, sunrises, starry skies and exceptional wildlife are no exaggeration. There is no better way to appreciate what Africa has to offer the stressed out European traveller than touring the innumerable parks and reserves in your very own fully equipped campervan or 4WD.
Having travelled in both regularly over the last 8 years I would say that the campervan is ideal for first-timers to Africa or those who are just planning to stick to paved roads in Kruger or the Cape. It enables you to travel and enjoy the wonderful scenery and wildlife from the height and comfort of your own house on wheels. What can be better than spending the afternoon with a pride of lions in the bush with all the food, drink and other comforts you may need right there with you and spending your evenings cooking your dinner on the braai often with hyenas and other wild animals patrolling the fence of very well-organised and comfortable rest camps?
But for the more adventurous traveller or those wanting to experience the thrill of travelling to more remote parts of Africa a fully equipped 4WD is a must. Nothing can equal being able to go wherever you want, driving through herds of elephants and stopping whenever you feel like it to observe first-hand the goings on in the bush without worrying about getting stuck in sand or mud. Camping in the bush where your nearest neighbours are more likely to be four-legged than two is an experience that very few people will ever be able to forget. What can be better than to savour a well-deserved sundowner surrounded by the sights and sounds of your very own real-life documentary?
For peace of mind and greater freedom many places such as Marakele, Lesotho, Ithala and The Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, which is very sandy and easy to get stuck in, are best explored in a 4WD but for others, like the Limpopo National Park in Mozambique and all parks in Botswana, a 4WD is absolutely essential.
If you cannot afford the exorbitant cost of luxurious lodges or you hate being shepherded about as part of often overpriced tours, if it is people and civilization you want to escape from then a 4WD is the only way you will be able to independently reach and enjoy all those incredible places that only the most privileged documentary film makers usually get to see.