Our first few trips were great, we knew the destination and headed out relying on the onboard navigation to get us to the endpoint. However, after the first trip, we got a bit wiser and started to plan with a better idea of what we wanted to do each day, scenes we would like to photograph as well as places of interest worth seeing. Then we went up to Mapangubwe and found that although we had all the food and suchlike we had forgotten a few key items ( firelighters ) and being a SANParks facility could not leave camp to get to the shop at the main gate. Sanity prevailed and we split our firewood into kindling and got a suitable fire going. The next morning we made our way to the shop and rectified the situation. One morning over breakfast we discussed the fact that the shower heads on most of our trips were not really of a standard that allowed one to have a good shower, and so began the next trip checklist which we are still developing.
This will be with a good deal of scrutiny as it needs to be the ultimate trip checklist. And should ensure that one can go on a trip confident that you have everything that you need covering items such as toiletries, clothing, accessories and even planning of meals. And yes it will even include a decent shower head just in case. As well as a few knives or a knife set, as many of the knives in self-catering locations are not up to scratch so a good set will come in useful. I always take a Kershaw Blade Trader along, it is a well-constructed handle with a blade locker that allows you to use a variety of blades. We even touch on books and games for evenings and inclement weather.
Then there is the actual trip, one can simply set off to your first destination but have you considered everything such as road conditions, fuel stops, pit stops for meals, and even sightseeing? So with this in mind, we are developing a trip planner that will allow you to calculate the distance between each overnight stop as well as looking at road conditions and suchlike. On a recent trip, we went from Johannesburg to Kimberley then on to Sutherland, then Kenhardt with the last two days spent in Kakamas. In total we did over 3500 Km so the timing was crucial, we even had appointments to adhere to such as the tour of the telescope and planetarium in Sutherland, we almost missed the 1st appointment due to a flat tyre and that led us to adding some emergency items to the checklist which we will share on completion. Our planning was good on this trip and even extended to breakfast at a coffee shop selected in Potchefstroom. Then on to Kimberley, checking in at the Kimberley Club followed by visits to the Star of the West a 24/7 pub and eatery as well as various museums and the Big Hole.
The next morning after a hearty breakfast we moved on to Sutherland via Loxton, long stretches of good dirt road, other than the puncture we made good time. Sutherland is a delightful spot best visited in spring or summer as it records the lowest winter temperatures in South Africa. The trip to Kenhardt was different, the roads were sandy and slippery most of the way, with low water bridges narrowing the road regularly, these bridges were covered with sand so speed had to be drastically reduced when crossing them.
We spent the night at the Kenhardt Hotel a spot we had previously stayed at when we went there on our first trip to photograph the quiver trees and Verneukpan. After breakfast, we made our way via Keimoes to Kakamas where we stayed at the Vergelegen Guest House a delightful air-conditioned “Oasis” in the 42° heat. There was a lot to see and do, “Die Pink Pedestal” being our first stop followed by sightseeing, grocery shopping and sunrise pictures across the Vineyards and Orange River. The next day took in the Augrabies Falls National Park and an abortive to find the back route to the Riemvasmaak. Good planning ensured that we covered a lot of ground and saw and photographed many attractions – once the downloads are available we will share them with you.
Stay safe from all of us at All-Terrain.