This is Africa

Ron Re­vis­its his sec­ond home.

Camper Trailer Australia - - CONTENTS -

Ilove mo­ti­vat­ing peo­ple to travel and none more so than to travel in Australia or in Africa. And, over the last 30 years, we’ve been lucky enough to spend some­thing like 160 weeks or more trav­el­ling in­de­pen­dently in Africa.

If you have never been to Africa maybe now is the time to start plan­ning a trip – the op­tions are end­less and not as ex­pen­sive as you might first think!

This lat­est trip for us, though, started as a lux­ury ex­trav­a­ganza put to­gether by our son and, for the first cou­ple of weeks, we were dined and feted like there was no to­mor­row. Then we came back to re­al­ity and toured a bit more eco­nom­i­cally!

We spent the first week up in Tan­za­nia, skip­ping around a few parks be­fore com­ing south and pick­ing up a hire ve­hi­cle in Liv­ing­stone, Zam­bia, for the rest of our trav­els. Our lux­ury-tented camp, Sussi and Chuma – named after Dr David Liv­ing­stone’s faith­ful com­pan­ions – is part of Sanc­tu­ary Re­treat’s im­pres­sive line-up of camps and lodges across Africa (visit www. sanc­tu­aryre­treats.com). The re­treats are sit­u­ated on the banks of the Zam­bezi River just above the great thun­der­ing cataract of Vic­to­ria Falls, named by Liv­ing­stone and to­day con­sid­ered one of the great nat­u­ral won­ders of the world. I know we never tire of com­ing to this in­cred­i­ble place and we spent a few days here be­fore shift­ing a short dis­tance to an­other coun­try and an­other camp – Chilwero – close to the fab­u­lous Chobe Na­tional Park. For wildlife, this park is hard to beat and we saw li­ons, ele­phants and a leop­ard among a plethora of an­te­lope and other free-roam­ing fauna. If you make it here, take an evening boat cruise. You’ll never for­get the sun­sets with ele­phants sil­hou­et­ted against a golden sky.

BOTSWANA AND BE­YOND

From Chobe we had taken the rough ‘sand road’ across the desert to Maun and the gate­way to the Oka­vango Delta. This route is of­ten out­side any park or re­serve but that doesn’t stop you from see­ing wildlife any­where along the way. In fact, we had our best leop­ard sight­ing ever along the dusty bumpy road, while in an­other spot in the tribal lands, we were held up on the road by a group of thirsty ele­phants drink­ing from a way­side creek.

The Oka­vango is an in­cred­i­ble ex­pe­ri­ence but we’ve found after a half dozen vis­its that it isn’t the wildlife view­ing ex­trav­a­ganza that places such as Chobe can be. Still, it is hard to beat the en­tire ex­pe­ri­ence of be­ing in the mid­dle of a vast swamp rich in bird and an­i­mal life that can only be reached by air or boat, es­pe­cially when you are stay­ing at lux­ury camps such as Sanc­tu­ary Chief’s, Baines and Stan­ley camps.

After leav­ing the Oka­vango, we cir­cum­nav­i­gated the friendly coun­try of Namibia for three weeks, choos­ing to stay at an eclec­tic col­lec­tion of farm stays, tented re­sorts, game ranches and his­toric ho­tels. Most of these of­fered camp­ing sites as well as ac­com­mo­da­tion and we’ve found in the past that peo­ple like the flex­i­bil­ity of a roof-top cam­per but opt to stay ac­com­mo­dated every few nights. Stay­ing at such a mix of places also al­lows you to meet a wide va­ri­ety of the lo­cals whether they are farm­ers, hote­liers or fel­low trav­ellers. It’s a fab­u­lous ex­pe­ri­ence and one that adds greatly to the daily wildlife en­coun­ters.

All too soon we were driv­ing back into South Africa and head­ing for Pre­to­ria and a flight home. When­ever we are in this big city, we stay at the Farm Inn (www.farminn. co.za) just an hour’s drive north of Jo’burg air­port and a great base to pick up a hire ve­hi­cle (visit AfriTrax 4x4 hire at www. afritrax.co.za, whose base is nearby) and to set off on your own African ad­ven­ture. Try it – you’ll never ever for­get it.

But there is one piece of advice I’ve also found that al­ways ap­plies to peo­ple who love the out­doors – you never, ever visit Africa just once!

WORDS anD picS RON AND VIV MOON

LEFT: Ele­phants at Chobe, sil­hou­et­ted against the sky. BoT­Tom: Some things re­main the same no mat­ter where you are – drop­ping the tyre pres­sures for the sand!

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