We had deliberated over booking an overland camping trip - travelling through Africa on a truck, on dirt roads and sleeping on a mat in a tent for 42 days. We were pleased to find that there are similar 'accomodated' trips that include lodges, rather than you having to pitch your tent each night. The trucks & itinerary are the same, but the demographics of the group tend to be a bit older on the accommodated option (unsurprisingly) and we were pleasantly surprised to find that we were amongst the younger members! The truck has a purpose built body that has coach style seats set up high, with large windows giving good visibility and well designed storage to cater for luggage, cooking equipment, food, table & chairs as well as a fridge. We were pleased to find that ours was a brand new truck, until we suffered with the dif making a horrendous noise and a new part needing to be fitted. Our fellow passengers are a mix of Aussies, Dutch, Italians, Americans, Belgians. The youngest is a 17 year old american, travelling with his father, who thinks he's on the wrong tour, as the next youngest are 2 Dutch girls in their late 30's!
We left Cape Town and headed north - First stop a vineyard in the Cederberg Mountains for a spot of wine tasting - a good choice as an ice breaker to get to know each other. We were all given a complementary bottle of wine and we bought a few bottles too to enjoy on our journey. The wine was organic and very reasonably priced at £2-3 a bottle. Next stop an orchard where we could pick oranges and satsumas whilst we waited for our guide to take us on a walk around the area. We could get used to this!
Day 2 took us across the border into Namibia and we noticed the landscape change from farmland to dry and more barren rocky outcrops. Our accommodation was little 'hobbit' houses overlooking Orange River - a stunning location and we enjoyed a glass of wine watching the sunset. Dinner was cooked by our guides and driver under a shelter - it's pretty chilly, especially at night, but as it's an adventure tour we're expected to be brave and enjoy a true African experience. The next morning we kayaked down Orange River and spotted fish eagles; goliath heron (which is huge); pied kingfishers and a monitor lizard. The paddling was hard work as we had a head wind and we were pleased it was only a 2 hour trip. Day 3 took us to a resort in the desert where they have hot springs and after a dusty day driving along dirt roads we all enjoyed a soak in the springs.
We could get used to this!