Well in the past we have devoted a good deal of time to trip preparation with regards tools, equipment, spares and the kit that makes a campsite a home. Hopefully we have given sufficient info to assist with the purchase of the correct items for the all important road trip, and yes we all have to traverse our country, there is so much to see and do.
But where does one start? Especially if you are new to the concept, perhaps a guided tour, that’s an excellent departure point but what happens when you and your friends decide that you want to see some new territory in your own time and not be part of a group, well the next step would ideally be to plan a weekend away to a popular 4×4 destination where the families can interact, it’s always good to see how the kids bond, the wives form friendships and the group dynamics set in which is often how the next trip or adventure is planned, normally around the fire after a great meal with a coffee and perhaps a glass of something else.
But where would you start, especially if you are looking for something different? Well SANPARKS www.sanparks.org has a variety of interesting options if you are looking for something other than the Kruger Park, yet never discount the Kruger there is a lot that happens there and you can pick up a lot of good information in that regards on Facebook as there are numerous pages dedicated to the Kruger (Kruger National Park Best place on Earth being one).
Google is an obvious resource and the local outdoor publications are invaluable with a wealth of articles, tips, weekend destinations, campsite reviews and even the classified sections, I generally tend to keep at least a years supply to review from time to time. And it’s amazing the places and things to do that one unearths.
Then the next thing I believe in is a good atlas, one that is not only up to date but that also covers things to do as well as information on the neighboring countries, historical features and things to see. I am not going to touch on the cross border requirements as those are best researched via the Automobile Association so I will leave that to the experts.
On top of that if you are looking for the road less travelled and some great 4×4 routes I can recommend “Road tripping South Africa” as well as “4×4 Routes through Southern Africa” they are both invaluable resources as they provide all the information one could require in terms of special requirements, distances, time to travel and various highlights en route.
This is critical as the distance and the average fuel consumption of the group will determine the need to carry extra fuel and assist in planning the route determined by the location of fuel stations. Most fuel companies have the location of their sites on their websites – this is important when one decides to deviate from mainline routes. One’s travelling meals and stops should also be planned as it’s best to rest every few hours and at the same time one can do a refreshment stop.
Obviously you will travel with a first aid kit and any medication that may be required but it’s worth adding in a copy script of extra meds if anyone is on chronic medication and at the same time also prepare a list of hospitals on the route for whatever emergency may arise.
Understand as well that some things take time, for example if you visit a battlefield such a Spionkop, Majuba or Magersfontein you can rest assured that you will be there for at least three hours so, shade, sunscreen, water and activities for the children become important.
Sometime you can travel without a plan, especially if travelling out of school holidays when accommodation bookings are not an issue; some of my best trips have involved small-unbooked hotels in remote areas where I have met some of the most interesting people and seen some interesting stuff.
Then ask questions and listen, I once saw a picture of some old San carvings in an area that I had never heard of on a photo sharing site, Google Earth took me to the river bed and Google helped me locate a professor at a museum in Kimberley, scans and information arrived and soon I was standing at the site with the local farmer who gave me permission to photograph the petroglyphs, it was an awesome experience and one that not many will ever know of.
Happy planning and happy travelling, share your adventures with us at www.allterrain.co.za.