South Africa - Round The World Tour 2003 Day 35

Somewhere on the road

Wednesday 16th April

Today marked the beginning of our organised overland journey. We got up fairly early and packed our stuff (we’re getting good at it now) and walked next door to meet the rest of the group and the truck (we’re not allowed to call it a bus – buses have air-conditioning!). It’s a nice truck with plenty of room as almost half of the seats are unoccupied. Out of a possible twenty-two, just thirteen people are on our tour. Half of those are going to be terminating their journey half way through so the truck will be even emptier in about ten days from now. We had a nice breakfast with mine being a most delicious egg and bacon roll. It was so delicious, in fact, that I couldn’t pass up the offer for a second helping.

With just a few words from our driver, off we were into the great unknown and our journey was begun. This particular tour will last nineteen days in total and will drop us off at Victoria Falls where we expect to spend another five nights before picking up the trail again with another tour company. Today we would focus on getting out of Cape Town and up into the far North of South Africa to the Namibian border. We left at about eight-thirty and didn’t arrive until nine-thirty this evening. It was a very long drive and the vast majority of it was through the most boring and featureless terrain that you could imagine. I struck up a conversation with the two black guides who are apparently trainees. Our discussions were wide ranging and we had a good laugh together.

Our driver, the tour leader, is a white South Africa who seems like a nice guy. At each rest stop, he would pop his head through the cabin side door to let us know how long we were stopping for and what the plan was. As much as with the rest of the group, the success of the tour will largely depend on him.

Having arrived so late in the evening, none of us were in much of a mood to do anything other than tuck into the BBQ food that awaited us. Today it was lamb (which Sandy was not too keen on, not being a big fan of it) with potatoes and pumpkin and various bits of salad. The meal itself was nice but one of the things that annoys me a little is that none of the meals that are provided for as a part of this tour include any drinks of any kind. Wherever we will be, there will always be a cash bar close by. For the money that we have paid for the tour, I would think that a few cans of soda or bottles of water could be arranged. My irritation might be a little heightened by the fact that I’m very tired right now. It may also be due, in part, to the fact that I got very irritated a short while ago at one of the drunken louts at the bar who decided to use the field where we have pitched out tents as a toilet. It’s difficult to think over the noise they are still making just a few yards from our tents.

On almost every day of the tour, we will be presented with the option to participate in various adventure activities. For the most part, these are optional activities that we will need to pay additional for. Tomorrow it will be canoeing on the river that borders South Africa and Namibia (can’t remember the name of it for now). After a good night’s rest (if at all possible over the noise), we will decide whether or not we will be participating.