Home at last….. as Frans parks the car in our beloved driveway he says “Lets change the oil and go round again” and this about sums up how we all felt. Mark my words we had major ups and downs but all in all it was a great bonding experience.
We have travelled 7 588 kilometers and have survived mentally and physically.
A family living together in the same house is completely different to the same family travelling together for an extended period of time. Yes it is the same people with the same personalities but it is vastly different. At home you are together but there is space e.g. people have their own rooms to go to, friends to walk or swim to or the endless tasks that need to be done i.e. there is ALWAYS something to do, alone or with someone else. On the road you only have each other, loaded onto that you only have each other in a total of space of a maximum of 4 meters, which means you cant move AWAY from each other.
In the beginning the tiffs between the kids were endless and catastrophic, but slowly over days boundarys were respected and Jamie and Rosie actually began liking each other, accepting each other for what they were and genuinely began enjoying playing with each other.
I hope this lasts now that we are in the real world.
TANYA’S TRAVELLING TIPS
IF YOU SEE A CLEAN TOILET – USE IT
Good toilets are few and far between. A lot of them are pay toilets, but if you lurk outside the toilet long enough someone will go in or come out and you can ride on their backs. Once inside rush into the toilet and lock the door because more often than not a staff member will rush in and screech at you that you havent paid – no worries here – once the deed is done there is nothing they can do. I see no reason why you have to pay to use a loo at a petrol station if you are filling your tank and your tummies for their gain.
My personal favorite toilet on the trip was the St Lucia Engen (note this one),
“Sir (to petrol attendant), may I use your toilet”
“Yes, it is through the shop”
So, I go into the shop and the door to the toilet is hiding behind a huge pile of empty coke crates.
I move the crates.
I go past the dirty deepfreezer section.
Down a filthy passage (remember I really need to go)
I go into a not so clean toilet area and hover above the broken seat.
As I am doing my business I see it.
And the sign says
“TOILET PAPER FOR SALE INSIDE SHOP”
Peeing at the side of the road became an art. We had a system that I would open my door and rosie would open the back passenger side door so we had a cubicle of sorts. Jamie and Rosie would find it very funny that mid stream they would close the back door – to all the poor people that I have mooned along the way, I apologise.
IF YOU COME ACROSS A WASHING MACHINE – USE IT.
Not only the logical need for clean washing, but you get to meet the most amazing people, who have travelled to amazing places at the washing machine area. All are in the same boat as you and you have a good hour (the time it takes to do a load and dry) just to natter away to different people.
PICTURES OF ACCOMODATION LIE
Guesthouses definitely put their best foot forward when marketing their venues via pamplets and websites. Be wary of places that market themselves with their venue backlit by sunsets. Rooms photographed at night with the bedside lights on, or a venue whose photo is taken at night with all the lights shining. Believe me these places have something to hide. Some of the best accomodation we found had no marketing programe other than a sign at the side of the road indicating their turn-off.
SOUTH AFRICAN ROADS ARE DEATH TRAPS – NO
On our entire journey (remember we travelled plus/minus 7 500 km) we encountered one major and aggressive traffic jam – THIS WAS IN THE MIDDLE OF THE KRUGER NATIONAL PARK, we saw two single car accidents and the only incident of excessive bad driving was as we came onto the St Francis Bay road.
Cars come in different stages of Roadworthyness and drivers different creeds, sexes and nationality – SA drivers drive well.
KIDS DONT LIKE BEING IN THE CAR
If your friends tell you their kids just get into a car and are as good as gold for long distances – they are either FORGETFUL or LYERS. We decided not to buy those DVD thingies so that the kids can watch movies in the car, I cannot see any point in travelling millions of miles whilst the kids merrily watch the latest Disney offering. For entertainment we had mapbooks, playing cards (we are still plucking cards out of the car), books, but mostly we had ourselves encouraging the children to “look out of the window at ……….” or asking the kids to look in the mapbook to tell us where we were, where to turn, where are we going next???? We had a PSP in the car and if Jamie had had his way he would have spent the whole adventure under a blanket playing.
With kids you have to stop at a place where they can run/swim/eat and distance themselves from each other for at least 1/2 an hour.
DO NOT TAKE SHORTCUT ADVICE FROM FRIENDS.
Covered in a previous insert, again well meaning friends forget how long the “shortcut” took.
TALK TO EVERYONE
I love meeting people on the road – initially they are a bit weary but soon open up. Kids are a really good ice-breaker.
KEEP A DAILY JOURNAL AND TAKE TOO MANY PICTURES
Trips go so fast and one day blurrs into another. Somedays we couldn’t even remember where we had slept/eaten/stopped on the previous day.
DO NOT TAKE DIRECTIONS FROM A PETROL ATTENDANT
I need not say anymore.
SOME THINGS YOU CAN BANK ON IN SOUTH AFRICA
There is a PEP store in EVERY town.
Spur and Wimpy are everywhere.
Campers are the friendliest people in the world.
Durban is a great place to go with the Kids.
The whole of SA goes to Kruger June/July school holidays.
…..BUT MOST OF ALL …….
Sit back and enjoy the beautiful country that is SA