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Travel: From OZ to Africa

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VIEWS

As far back as 2004, my wife and I formed the idea to travel across Australia and beyond in our own vehicle. By 2010, we found the right vehicle – an Australianmade Earthcruiser model EXP, based on a Mitsubishi Fuso 4×4 Canter – and we started to wean ourselves off full-time work.

Words by Uwe Bockmann, pictures by Meg Stuart

We started with a six month trip around the Eastern half of Australia.

We returned to contract work for a few months and then embarked on our Western trip around Australia. By then the travel bug had bitten, and we’ve never looked back. Over the next few years, we travelled the length and breadth of Australia.

In 2015, we shipped the vehicle to North America on a trip through Alaska, Canada and the Western USA. A roundtrip of 35 000km.

Then, on recommendation of some of my South African work colleagues, we were encouraged to visit southern Africa.

We travel about six to eight months per year. It’s good to come home after that sort of time. But after about three to six months we suffer from itchy feet again and feel the need to embark on another adventure.

Not having been to southern Africa before and without any contacts in South Africa, we needed to do a lot of research to prepare for the trip. One day I came across Caravan & Outdoor Life, and got inspired by the travel reports, featuring articles about touring in South Africa. I emailed the editor for some travel tips and advice on travelling, and his friendly and supportive response encouraged us to take the plunge on our African Adventure.

Our trip is taking us through Southern Africa in a clockwise direction, from Cape Town along the Western Cape through Namibia, across Botswana and back around to Cape Town – a journey that will take about seven months and cover 25 000 km. Highlights include the Namib-Naukluft region, the Skeleton Coast, Etosha NP, the Okavango, the Caprivi strip, the Limpopo region, Kruger NP, ISimangaliso and Drakensberg, to name a few.

Planned with the changing seasons in mind, it is our dream trip of a lifetime, in which we look forward to see the best that southern Africa has to offer. Its natural beauty, its wildlife, its people, food and customs.

The Adventure Begins

Following months of research and preparation, the time has come. Our vehicle is getting loaded into the shipping container at the port of Melbourne in Australia. Visas, tick. Immunisations, tick. Vehicle import permits and insurances, tick. All secured and tied down, we are closing the doors on the container and the journey begins.

Finally, after 50 days, we are reunited with our vehicle. The excitement never fades. To start a major journey with your own vehicle in a foreign country always gets the butterflies in the stomach going until the wheels start turning. Even simple tasks and routines such as shopping, refuelling, negotiating traffic become a novel and steep learning experience. Last preparations before we take off include filling up with water, fuel, provisions and a final check of all appliances and functions of the vehicle.

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