I have been collecting Caravan & Outdoor Life every month for a number of years and follow the journeys of all the journalists and magical articles from the many readers. The monthly hunt to get the next edition is a reward equal to finding the next great place or road to travel.
There are many wonderful camping facilities in our fabulous country for campers to spend some leisure time relaxing. It is perhaps not a coincidence that the articles in the magazine provokes the mind into adding to the bucket list endlessly.
This, for me, is the beauty of camping and the reason for campers having this hunger for the outdoors.
Our quest of looking for a smaller off-road trailer to take to some bucket list destinations started a while back in planning a change in camping preference to increase convenience. A lesson learnt when camping is to look and listen, and this generally starts with small talk around the camp fire.
It is important to consider all the options and conveniences to make storage and camping for the wife a pleasure. For instance, the manoeuvrability of an 80L Fridge in an out of a vehicle can be a challenge when laden… an on-board fridge on a slider with the dual battery system is what we needed.
In the end, it was my buddy Dan Pawson who pointed me in the direction of Wildebeest Off-Road Trailers.
Wildebeest built my Kalfie off-road trailer for me and it came out just perfect. I left Cape Town for Pretoria to take delivery and then travelled straight up to the Okavango Delta to initiate the trailer.
All went well with my Kia Sportage pulling the new acquisition beautifully, until I realised that part of the dirt road to the camp at Guma Lodge was more loose sand than dirt road, which led to future thinking and planning.
My companions had bent my ear for hours of this journey on the benefits of a double cab. I am not the bakkie type, although there are many benefits which the hardened campers will argue and debate.
When we had returned to Cape Town it was financial planning and decision time. So on the way to golf one Saturday morning we drove past Toyota and saw the New Fortuner and considered the similarities of the SUV convenience.
The price was right, and the timing of the purchase wat not quite to plan but it was now time for the total package to progress to the next level of being an “outback camper”, for want of a better expression. The purchase was concluded in a matter of 10 days and the 2016 Christmas present delivered.
Since then we have taken the wagon on many camping trips, with the ultimate desert trip to the Kgalagadi in mind.
My wife, Sandy, is a teacher and this poses some serious challenges when trying to book with SANParks for a trip in school holidays. We missed out on a few occasions to secure the booking. Finally, we secured booking for July 2018 for a five-night trip (including two nights in the unfenced Kalahari Tented Camp).
ADDO ELEPHANT PARK
Our adventure to Addo Elephant Park as the goal destination was really fun. Google and map books are very handy when plotting the route. The route off the beaten track on the gravel roads at the foot of the mountains past Greyton to Riviersonderend was a real Joy.
We encountered two passenger vehicles and a tractor along the route which was just perfect as we ambled along taking in the beauty of the farm lands and mountain surrounds. Our lunch stopover in Greyton at the Abbey Rose was amazing. Onward we ambled to Kam’bati Resort which was an intermediate stop.
The few kilometres on the main road and the elevated stress of concentration reminded us of the needs of others to get to the end point destination so quickly… why?
Kam’bati is a lovely relaxing resort which is well maintained and a recommended stop for campers. We had lovely weather and met some fantastic camping folk. It is amazing how a smile and a wave lead to new friends with lots of engaging stories.
We arrived at Addo and travelled in from the lower gate, which is always our plan. It was time to take to the passenger seat and recover whilst Sandy guided us beautifully along all the routes in the park. The camera was at the ready at all times to capture the moment
Trailer in tow we explored all the looping routes away from the central road. This is where the peace of the park and its riches are found.
Camping in Addo is always exceptional and even more so when the staff assist you with setting up.
Our next big trip after Addo was to the Kgalagadi has come and gone. Out destinations were firstly Augrabies and finally Hobas in Nambia. The trip took us via Pofadder for Amaroela cake and tea at a quirky coffee shop come bar. Augrabies exceeded my expectations and I will always view this as an underrated park which will be a must in future travels.
Twee Rivieren camping tested our solar-powered existence perfectly and we were very happy campers in that everything functioned as planned.
Our next destination was the unfenced KTC camp near Mata Mata which is fabulous. The honeymoon suite had been recently refurbished and receives high recommendations. Of course the sightings made the experience even more special.
The next leg was to Hobas camp at the Fish River Canyon. The gravel roads in Nambia that we travelled were very good. En route to our camp we stopped at an interesting place: Canyon Roadhouse should be on every traveller’s agenda. The food was great and the service top class along with exploring the unusual interest which create this stop as a must do.
We made multiple visits to the Fish River Canyon over two days and stood in wonder of the beauty. All of our photos do not do justice to the rugged beauty and vast expanse of the canyon.
We will return for a visit Namibia again as the next chapter beckons.
Enjoy the discovery of destinations and the unknown plans as they unveil themselves to you on your travels.
By Andy Weddell