Wednesday, 19 February 2014

A Southern African Safari (a travel memoir) #2

Good Morning!

Please enjoy part 2 of my travel log.  Read Part 1 first.

A Southern African Safari 
Travel Memoir
 South Africa - Botswana - Zambia - Zimbabwe - Botswana – South Africa
17 December 2011 - 24 December 2011

2. Preparation and Packing

What does one take on an African safari? We made a list. In my mind, food was crucial, not as much for survival as for pleasure; a factor that could make or break me. We decided to split the shopping list and bring along items which we already had at home. Suhale decided to purchase two plastic crates which contained loose items in a water-proof and portable manner.

The large crate contained the following:Canned food (baked beans, tinned fish, tuna, onion and tomato, spaghetti in tomato sauce, sweetcorn, vegetables), sachet food (pasta, smash), pasta, paper towels, paper plates, plate-holders, dish cloths, cutlery, pots and pan, 1l steel cups, foil, chopping board, onion (which was not allowed across the border but smuggled through), long-life milk, tea, coffee, sugar and oil.

The smaller crate contained non-food related items such as:Torches, matches, lighter, insect repellents, sun block, washing powder, dish washing liquid, sponge, toilet rolls, picnic mat.

A cooler bag containing butter, and meat was also packed, but due to fear of meat-confiscation (foot and mouth disease regulations) across the Botswana border, Zarina cooked the steak and par-boiled the sausages. She also packed raw marinated chicken and a bag of peaches which were over-looked at the border.

Other essential items for packing were a gas stove and jerry cans for fuel storage due to shortages in Zimbabwe. We also packed snacks including chips, chocolate, sweets, biscuits and sandwiches. The padkos consisted of chicken burgers, vegetable burgers and sausage rolls.  Personal packing items included; passports, medications, caps, swimming clothes, water-proof jacket, sunglasses, takkies, open shoes, and day-to-day clothing.

Because we decided to use Suhale’s father’s 4x4 for our journey, some paperwork had to be completed in order to ensure legal passage between countries. This included a letter from Suhale’s father confirming permission to identified drivers to use the vehicle in specific countries and a certified copy of the car log information.Other than these documents, a list of serial numbers of all electronic equipment (laptops, cell-phones, cameras, GPS, music players) was required at the Zimbabwe border. As a precaution, it is recommended that certified copies of passports also be made and stored in a location away from the original passports. 

A map book of Southern Africa and a GPS with maps of Southern Africa were packed for navigation. We carried 2 reflective “car-guard” vests and a magnetic ZA sticker too.Botswana and Zambia are malaria zones, so packing mosquito repellents and taking anti-malaria medication was crucial. I decided to not take malaria medication since I suffer from side-effects and opted to rigorously apply repellents to myself although I was still bitten during the trip.

Budget: We decided to work within a budget of about R3500 per person including accommodation, petrol, tolls, border costs and activities. This seemed ambitious for a week-long trip, but we each put down R1000 towards a kitty at the start of the trip for travel costs.Paper work, finances and packing aside, we were ready to go.


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