And with this… we are one year on the road!
Unbelievable! Our first 365 days on the road- like the idiom says- taking it one day at the time. It is quite a weird feeling that some of our adventures and experiences of the last 12 months already seem so far away in the past.
This was an opportunity we couldn’t let pass without celebration and even Trokkie got her glass of champagne!
Trokkie seems to be popular and has developed in a real social butterfly connecting with people everywhere. In this past year we have met sooooo many people who have taken a real interest in our travels. People we have met on camping grounds, on the road, on shopping centre parking lots, at petrol stations, in pubs,… you name it: cool, funny and interesting people who wanted to have a look inside our home and were jealous of the lifestyle we have adopted. Many times we were invited to visit them at home or camp on their farm, and even though we were able to accept a few of those invites, unfortunately we were not always able to do it. It would be difficult to name everyone we met, but we do love you all!
In this first year we have seen some amazingly beautiful spots and had a fair amount of serious challenges and adventures. On this day- 1 September- we’ve spent our first month in Namibia, which is an experience of a total different kind (and the stories will follow soon).
To sum up our year, we wanted to run down some of our greatest and some of our not so great moments.
Our top 5 activity experiences:
The flowers of Namaqualand 2020: we were able to perfectly time our being there and it paid off. An amazing experience!
Stonehenge and Tankwa: Stonehenge (see photo) being the funky Afrika Burn experience (and definitely one of the weirder places we’ve been) and Tankwa being the true Karoo desertland experience.
Entry into Namibia: with Covid 19 and the licensing issue, Namibia was a long awaited dream! And eventually…. we made it and started with bang: the Fish River Canyon Hike (story to follow soon)! Yeay! And a big bonus: we were blessed to be able to take on this epic hike with family Lut, Gerhard and Steffi and best friends Gavin and Lee.
Our top 5 camping experiences (for all those times we didn’t park in streets or at petrol stations or in the wild)
As a special mention: the Urbancamp campsite right in the middle of Windhoek, where we now celebrate our first anniversary of traveling full time in Trokkie! It’s a beautiful and funny campsite and gives us a few days of R&R, catching up with the kids and computer work.
Our (+1) wild camping spot was actually really a free camping spot but not necessarily wild: in the street in front of my sister Lut’s house. This free camping spot came with better facilities than any other free or paid camping or caravan spot where we have parked: free laundry services, home cooked meals, good selection of wine and gin, warm fires inside the house, Catan games and the odd rugby game to cheer our team, and above all… good company and family time! As we had to earn our keep we added our culinary acumen to the mix and Stefaan even made a paella! A really good free camping spot!
And then there were the scary experiences… for me at least. Because the drive up to Sentinel Car Park really looked dodgy and after the first 10 meters I strongly voted against, we did the trip with a shuttle, which confirmed that we would never have made it with Trokkie. So we don’t count that one really!
Just check out some of the videos that capture some of these moments.
our very first, heart stopping rocky road bounce and tilt at Gansbaai
the dangerous slide and tilt on Sani pass
very irregular rocky and muddy road with deep gulleys washed away on Breedstnek pass – Magalies berg
a very narrow path to the top in Marakele
narrow roads with washed away sections in Baviaanskloof (photo below)
We had a few not so pleasant experiences this past year, but luckily they were only a few. The whole Covid-19 and all its tribulations put a spanner in the wheels for so many people so we won’t even add that to our list.
A general sad observation or two:
Covid 19 has provided a good excuse for many (government run) parks and reserves and even museums to just not be open to the public.
Maintenance in general is non existent. Many of the government run camping sites or tourist sites are run down and dilapidated.
Some of the most annoying things however have been:
the licensing of our home-on-wheels: with millions of (covid 19) excuses from government offices it has taken about 8-9 months to get our home on wheels licenced, which now eventually allows us to cross borders.
the burglary in Bo-Kaap: where unfortunately the police didn’t seem really interested in following up on the crime!
the entry into camp Mabibi when we damaged the fibreglass of the truck and Sodwana camp, where the monkeys seriously messed inside our home.
getting the truck stuck at Punda Maria (photo below): although Stefaan looked at it as ‘part of the adventure’, we also realised this could be a reality at any given point in time and made us aware how important it would be to install a winch.
All in all September 2020 to September 2021 has been an exciting year with a whirlwind of experiences, people and places and- now that we have entered Namibia- it literally has opened the road for more.
We feel very privileged because we are probably in the small percentage of people who can actually hit the road without any ties. Yes, of course… when travel restrictions are lifted in the (hopefully) not too far future, we will gladly (temporarily) swop our traveling in Africa with hopping over to Jamaica and Australia respectively to spend a loooooong time with kids and grandkids!
We hope you have enjoyed the ride with us so far and will keep following our adventures.
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