Hello to all you fellow motorhomers and welcome.
I hope you get as much fun reading this as I do writing it.

Monday, 30 September 2019

Read of the Month (October 2019)

This time I am early as it is not quite October yet.
The reason for this is simply that tomorrow my trip begins as I travel to Africa.

This forthcoming motorhome tour of Southern Africa has influenced my choice this month as I have been reading a lot about Africa.

The book I am currently reading is not new.  It was first published in 2006.  I have no recollection of where or how I obtained it.

It is rather a large tome so I have only read a few chapters.  Nevertheless it is fascinating and informative.
The Read of the Month (October 2019) is 

The State of Africa 


Martin Meredith

It chronicles the history of many African states from the end of WW2 up to present time.
As my knowledge of Africa is sketchy this is extremely enlightening.
Unlike the pre-African book I was reading it is not a laborious read .
This trip has opened up a new avenue of interest.  I have some more books about Africa to read. 

Saturday, 28 September 2019

Life repeats itself

Well only a few days and then I am off on what some have called "the trip of a life  time"

No doubt this will be an amazing experience but it will be my second "trip of a life time".

Just over 40 years ago (wow I cannot believe it was that long ago) I was preparing for another great trip; an overland journey from London in England to Sydney in Australia.

This involved travelling by bus across Europe; London to Brindisi in the SE tip of Italy.
Then a ferry to Igoumenitsa in Greece across Turkey and Asia including Iran, and Afghanistan as well as India. 
Another ferry to Malaysia and on to Thailand and Singapore. 
Finally a ship to Perth in Australia and the final leg to Sydney.

As you can see the vehicle was shipped across intervening seas

We travelled in this yellow bus which we nicknamed "Buttercup".
Here we having a lunch stop.
A group is preparing the food whilst the rest of us wait.

I am in the blue top sitting reading on the left.

The similarities between the two trips is uncanny.

1. The over-riding itinerary of both trips was to see and discover as much of the tourist and not tourist places as possible. To me this meant travelling by road wherever possible.  Both trips are long road journeys.

Inside "Buttercup"

2.  If I was going so far away I might as well do the longest trip on offer. 40 years ago I decided to go on to Australia instead of stopping at Singapore.  This time  besides South Africa I am also going other countries in Southern Africa.

3. Again I am going as a lone woman. Though both 40 years ago and now many lone women do travel independently I lack the confidence.  I prefer the protection of a group or tour. Hence 40 years ago I took a "bus" and this time I am on an organized motorhome tour.

There are some differences

1.Then from England to Australia (bus all the way); now Southern Africa (fly to and from and drive in between).
2. Then bus with bus driver:  now motorhome me driving.
3. Then 5 months:  now 5 weeks
4. Then me and most of the group young and single
now old and hopefully wiser with mostly couples.

Here I am 40 years ago trying to take a photo of the incredible salt rocks at Pamukkale in Turkey.

Even though there are these differences the pattern is uncannily similar.  I wonder if the experience will have as similar an impact as my trip 40 years ago.  We shall see.

No photos of my present trip as I have not yet been!!!!

Saturday, 21 September 2019

My Africa Trip

I have always wanted to visit Africa and now I am going.

Because I do not know the continent and because I am unable to take my companion Pearl I decided to sign up to the Camping and Caravanning Club Southern African Tour.

The Club do 2 African tours;

South Africa  - The Garden Route, which runs from around Cape Town along the south coast of South Africa towards Durban.

Southern Africa  - This tour starts in Johannesburg goes north into Botswana, then into Namibia and back into South Africa ending in Cape Town.

I decided to opt for this tour for 

2 reasons:-

  • If I was going all that way I might as well explore as much of the continent as possible.  (Unfortunately I could not afford the time or money to do both tours).
  • After having read the  No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency books by Alexander McCall-Smith which are set in Botswana I wanted to visit that country.  I hope that my experience will be more like the ones described in the books rather than what is usually portrayed on the TV. 

Though there are 14 motorhomes taking part with tour escorts we do not travel in convoy. We can leave when we like; arrive when we like; stop on route for as long as we like.  We just have to be at the campsite by the end of the day.

There are some communal events such as our trip to the Victoria Falls.  Also there is a "sweeper-upper" who follows the last motorhome to ensure we do not have any problems such as punctures which apparently are very common and we all arrive safely.

Having spoken to my vet, who is South African, he said because it is so hot the rhythm of the days is different to here in the UK.  Things start about 6am when it is cool. By early afternoon there is little happening until early evening.

He suggested setting off early.  When it gets dark, which it does very quickly to relax and prepare for the next days activities; (ie. sleep)

We estimated a travel time of 100km an hour.  In order to make the most of my journeys and not feel rushed, I should halve that (50km an hour).  Some routes I should reduce it even more (25km and hour) to allow for stoppage due to animals etc on the road.  This sounds like a good plan.

Not long now.

Friday, 20 September 2019

Read of the Month (September 2019)

Increasing my knowledge of Africa by before I went seemed a sensible thing to do. 

Upon hearing about the amazing Map Shop in Upton-on-Severn, I decided a visit was essential.

What an amazing place. 
It was a travellers Aladdin's cave.
Books about every corner of the globe.
I found plenty both books and maps

There are many books of different genre about the country of South Africa. 
With regard to Southern Africa, especially Botswana and Namibia, the two other countries I would be travelling through, choice was very limited.

And the read of the month for September 2019 is..................................................

Botswana & Namibia     Lonely Planet

This seems an appropriate book as I am of to Africa shortly. 

Like most books in the Lonely Planet series it is packed with information.  This is especially useful for the independent traveller.  Even, if like me you are part of a tour group, it offers an insight into the country. It is, however a very specialized travel book. 

Contrary to my assumption each book often has several contributors.  Considering the amount of detail information this is not surprising.  
A wish of mine had been to be a Lonely Planet contributor.  
On reflection I am too independent and opinionated. 

Monday, 16 September 2019

Off to Africa

My New African Motorhome
As my impending motorhome trip to Southern Africa fast approaches I have been involved with preparations which have been rather time consuming.

Consequently I have not been out in MY motorhome nearly as frequently even though the weather has at times been glorious.

I have had to deal with some things that I have put off.  One of these was my phone.  It had developed a minor glitch (I had approached tech people to resolve it, but they were not interested).  I decided the only solution was to get a new phone. (I needed a new one anyway).

Then other unexpected difficulties have arisen, all of which took up more time.

Checking my social media somehow dropped off my radar (That is probably a generation thing).  As a result it is some while since my last blog post.

On 1st October I am off on a 35 day motorhome tour of Southern Africa.  I am a bit nervous but also a bit despondent as I am not able to take Pearl with me (will she understand?) So I will be completely on my own.

Fortunately there are 11 other motorhomes going so I will have people to talk to.

We travel independently, not in convoy.  We just have to be at the designated campsite by the evening. If we encounter a problem on the way there is someone to assist.

Though this is not my preferred way of travelling it is the best in a place that I have so little knowledge and experience of.  However I am learning fast.  By the time I return home I will know so much more.

I fly into Johannesburg.  Here I meet a college friend.  I want her to take me to a supermarket to stock up on food. (Being Coeliac I my diet is restrictive so I want some time to become a little familiar with shops in Africa before setting off.)

Then we go to the motorhome depot.  Collect our motorhomes. Then set off