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How the camping bug bit my husband

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This is a story of my husband, who previously only loved staying in hotels, B&B’s and guesthouses because he appreciated the luxury these offered him.

In 2019 we decided to plan a camping holiday in Namibia and purchased a second-hand Tentco rooftop tent to “test the waters”, and if he didn’t enjoy it, we would book into other accommodation and sell the rooftop tent.

After 31 continuous days of rooftop tenting through Namibia, we arrived back in Cape Town and immediately went searching for a trailer with a rooftop tent because he had enjoyed it so much we decided to upgrade .

One day later, we purchased a Bushbaby trailer ready for more adventures.

Fortunately, our job working at a Game Lodge allowed us to take a week break after every 21 working days, so we could easily get away and explore/relax.

We were then sent on an assignment in Botswana/Namibia and decided to rather drive up from Eastern Cape and explore at the same time.

During a stopover in Randburg, we popped into 4×4 Megaworld to purchase a new cover for our rooftop. We walked out with a full-house rig from Alucab: Generation III Rooftop, 270 degree shadow awning, a drawer system for our clothes and “things” including the slide rail for the refrigerator and sold our rooftop later that day.

 

 

Let me tell you more about our “rig”. We are the proud owners of a VW Amorak 2 litre TDI which, of course, has been mapped for extra “assistance”!

We have a bar/kitchen setup on the left side of our canopy which were both built by Ledfly, with a safe place for “Jack” and my red wine too. We also have the RSI slide in table in our canopy. On the right side we have a hot water geyser and Alucab shower awning. We also installed 2 solar panels which give us more than enough power every day.

At this stage, we don’t need much more and wherever we go, we raise eyebrows especially when setting up camp and people can’t resist to come and inspect our set up.

 

 

During one of these times, we were camping at Elephant Sands in Botswana and our neighbours were watching us with great interest as we set up camp. They had a Conqueror Commander and also showed off their rig with enthusiasm.

My comment was: “One day when we grow up, we will have one of these!”

The owner commented that he was looking at purchasing another caravan after their Botswana trip. And my husband said he would take it after their trip! He must’ve thought we were stark raving mad, at the same time handing him our business card to contact us when he decided to sell one day. The next day we said our goodbyes and left for Kasane/Impalila Island.

Three months later, my husband asked me if I had the Conqueror owner’s details, which I didn’t. Murphy’s law, the very next day the owner contacted us and asked if we still wanted to buy it. We immediately climbed into our Amorak and set off from Sedgefield to Nelspruit.

He could not believe when we arrived the next day, did a bank transfer and hooked up our new toy to drive back home.

We have rigged our Conqueror Commander to be comfortable enough to longstay anywhere. Amongst that is an icemaker, Nespresso, porta potty, TV, shadow awnings for both the front and back of the caravan and upgraded the suspension.

 

 

February 2020 we were transferred to a Lodge job on Impalila Island, hooked up our Conqueror and drove back to Kasane. Our new work schedule would allow us three weeks off after a three-month shift, great for experiencing more of Africa.

We left our caravan in Kasane and took our vehicle across the Chobe River on a barge to Impalila Island where we were based.

Then Covid-19 struck together with the annual flood plains rising by the day. Borders closed and we could not get back to our caravan or get our vehicle off the island back to Kasane either.

The Lodges had closed and we needed to make a plan to get back home, so we put our Amorak on a barge at Impalila and cruised down the Zambezi River at 5km/hour for 18 hours until we arrived in Schukmansburg, Namibia.

 

 

The next day, a 1300km drive to Windhoek. Fortunately, we had our Alucab rig always ready for camping and whilst we were waiting for our repatriation visas back to SA, we could explore Namibia again.

That was until Windhoek went into lockdown and forced us down to the Orange River to wait at the border for a repatriation visa which took us 6 weeks.

Camping during these months during Covid-19 was challenging in an isolated sense as lodges/camps were closed and we were the only ones on site – we actually felt that the world had ended and they had forgotten to fetch us too !

Six weeks later we received the go-ahead to get through the Border and quarantine at Springbok Caravan Park. We were blessed with the best Namaqualand flowers on exhibition in many years.

 

 

When the Botswana borders opened on 1 December 2020, we got back in our dear Amorak and headed to Kasane to fetch our Conqueror and bring her back home.

And that’s the story of my husband, a happy camper and always ready for another adventure, fully rigged and comfortable.

The funny part is that we are more comfortable than any hotel room can offer us at this stage. Comfortable with our own “stuff” and enjoying the benefits of camping, meeting amazing people along the way, appreciating the fresh air, sunrises, sunsets & amazing views and relaxing fires presented to us at the end of every day.

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