A day almost never goes by that I don’t think of Africa. Compared to our first trip to the Okavango Delta in Botswana in 2005, this trip was far more adventurous.
Our trip to Botswana was pure “frosting”… we never saw anything except the highlights of Africa… nothing except what Wilderness Safaris wanted us to see. It was as if a visitor to the US had flown into Yellowstone, then to Glacier, then to Yosemite, and then home.
Africa lost some of its luster on this trip — it’s not ALWAYS pretty. But we learned so much more this time. When we described our itinerary to Americans before our journey they commented, “You are nuts, you’ll die.” Some Africa travelers, when realizing we planned to drive through urban and rural Africa asked, “Why would you want to do that? Just stay in the Parks.” Our itinerary is not for everyone.
It was a car camping trip… with occasional lions and elephants in camp.
What would we do differently? We’d probably camp nearly the entire trip. This trip still cost more than we can really afford, about $19,000 for 21 days (including everything: travel doctor visit, travel insurance, airfares, meals, Rover, safari camps, tips, gifts, souvenirs, everything). We could have saved around $5000 by forgoing the safari lodge stays. We were also too shy to stop at local markets or bars, or even roadside vegetable stalls. Next time, we’d immerse ourselves a tiny bit more.
What’s next? We don’t know. We want to experience migration but we are totally turned off by the stories of hordes of people and Rovers. We have little interest in the experience of being another Rover with ten or even twenty more safari vehicles surrounding a pride of lions. We’ve heard of a place with tens of thousands migrating wildebeest — and no one else is there. Oh, and we’re not tellin’ where…yet.
So we want the wild Africa. And the freedom to be on our own schedule. We’re probably hooked on self drive. Now I just have to figure out how to deal with those damned tsetse flies!
And to all the guys out there planning a trip: Beware of the Tribal Textiles Vortex; it will suck your wife in with you attached and wring your wallet dry!
And, I luuuvvv you Rover!