Monday, June 27, 2005

First Steps

By pure chance I ran into a wonderful book on sale on Friday - 4x4 African Adventure, by Peter Baker. Calling it an investment, I snapped it up - and read it cover-to-cover within a day!

It's an excellent guide to travelling Africa, especially East Africa, from South Africa on up. Not only does it give his adventures, but a LOT of information regarding what to take, where to go, how to go, and many useful contacts here in SA. There's a full list of what should go in a medical kit, how a GPS works and an example of plotting a journey with one, what Malaria is all about, and a check-list of things to pack/take/acquire.

He writes the book with a huge sense of humour, and an equally large sense of adventure. He's a firm believer in fully experiencing every place he visits, getting to know the locals and treating the environment with respect as you go. I would love to sit down with him and talk for a couple of hours!

It's a beginning. I'm starting to get a feel for what we'll need in order to travel safely and not die of dehydration/starvation/disease/government official. It's a down-to-earth book, honest and clear.

Going through the list of things we'd need to take, I was amazed at how many of them I already have - and amazed at how many I will still need... A trip across Africa is by no means a cheap "let's get in the car and go" affair. It requires careful planning and a good deal of courage.

But I'm starting to really think it will work. Sure, I have some concerns. Including whether travelling as a single vehicle is wise or whether I should try get some travelling companions...

This morning one of our Botswana students was in my office, and I asked who would be best to speak to with regard to travelling in his country. He gave me a local contact at the Consulate, but also said he'd bring me a lot of extra info - stuff that they won't tell me, like dealing with the police etc. I aim to track down students from as many other countries we're likely to pass through as I can. We're blessed with representation from about 47 different countries, and I'm sure to find a couple that can give me insider info. The more I can learn before we leave, the better.

Today I get cracking on a bit more research into AA membership, insurance etc. Info-gathering supreme!

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