Sweet Baby Jesus! We are moving to Cape Town. It’s been quite hard to keep it a secret and not telling everybody what we are up to but now it is more or less official and we can finally tell you. It was pretty clear to us that we both of us would love to live in Cape Town for a while so we had a look at the universities down there and found an Honours Degree that suits us both. At the end of summer we applied at two universities and a scholarship and have been waiting for an answer ever since . So after making us wait for about two months we finally got the confirmation that we’re both accepted. Confirmation came only last Wednesday, while we were visiting our friends in Bavaria – and after seven plus two months of complete uncertainty about our future, that acceptance letter was the most relieving email in a long time. Now we’re back home, trying to sort out how we’re going to manage our move on such short notice. One last big thing on our To-Do List now is applying for our Visa at the embassy in Berlin where we’ll be this Friday. Then it’s on to packing our stuff, selling what we don’t need anymore, finding somebody that wants to live in our flat in Hamburg, booking our flights and finding a new flat as well as a trustworthy car in South Africa. So that’s it – That’s been our big secret for the last couple of months and the reason why I said that a lot on this website will change in the future. We would like to take all of you with us on our journey into a new life, our (daily) South African adventures and share everything else with you that we stumble into along the way. We hope you join us – there are exiting times ahead! thank you very much philip for our new logo ♡
Before we set off to our trip the thought of living in a car for almost 9 months scared me a bit, to be honest. Probably because the one and only time that I’ve been camping before was a three week camping trip through New Zealand in winter. But after the first couple of nights in our cozy car I realized how much I love camping and now, back in Hamburg, i miss the beautiful campsites, wild nature around us and being outside 24/7. I thought this post might be a great opportunity to take a stroll down memory lane and give you some ideas, tipps and inspiration if you are planning your next trip through Africa or if you are already there, looking for a great place to stay. So here they are – our Top 5 Campsites in Southern and Eastern Africa plus an additional list of campsites that we can recommend. Only separated from the National Park through a riverbed lies this little gem. We’ve stayed here during the dry season which means that the riverbed was the only source of water for the wildlife. Therefore we had elephants, hippos, giraffes and even a pack of lions walking only a few steps away from us looking for water and yummy fresh grass. What I enjoyed the most was fleeing from the crazy heat into the pool which is overlooking the riverbed and parts of the national park, watching the wildlife stroll past us. If you are planning on visiting this beautiful place, here are two tips for you: First, there’s a dirt road which goes from the little town ‘Petauke’ almost directly to the South Luangwa National Park. It’s a great route and if you’ve got the time and the nerves for some rough roads you should give it a try. Tip numero two is: stock up on food before you go there. There is a small town nearby (20 minutes by car) where you can buy fresh fruits and veggies but you should take everything else that you might need with you. If you are too lazy to drive all the way to town, there’s a guy visiting the camp site almost every day that sells his home grown veggies to you – a winwin! We already wrote a whole article about this place which you can find here. The last thing that made this place so unique is that due to the fact that they include the community into the business and that therefore everyone makes a profit, it is really safe to walk around, even at night (which is a thing that I wouldn’t recommend doing anywhere else in africa!). We love this place. We already wrote a whole article about it here and you can read more about the beautiful Zomba Plateau here or visit Mark and Silvia’s website here. While sitting in the car for hours and hours, leaving kilometer after kilometer behind us I spend a lot of time searching for campsites along our route that are not only cheap but as pretty as possible as well. I really missed a website with a list of good places that I could trust. Often times the only reviews I could find online where a few years old and, in the end, never really accurate. I always tried to find places that are not too far from each other to avoid driving for too long, that are cheap, clean and safe.
As soon as you start to plan a long term (or even short term) roadtrip the question of where you are going to sleep comes to mind. If you don’t want to stay in hotels or apartments and want to save a little money, camping might be an option for you. So lets talk about about the pro’s and con’s of different options that you have. Setting off with a normal ground tent is usually the cheapest and easiest way if you already own one. They are fairly light and, if you want to spend the night away from your car, you can take it with you and pitch it wherever you want. The downside is that you also have to take an air mattress and a sleeping bag with you which takes a lot of space and the whole process of setting up every night and packing it back up in the morning costs a lot time and can quickly become a nuisance. We consider us to be lazy which was one of the main reasons for us to simply use our ample space and build a bed into our car. For an easy fix: We made Harry semi-mozzie-proof with some mosquito net from a market and used tape, a stapler and velcro to attach it to the windows that we wanted to open. Additionally Lukas bought a couple of old pc-fans that coincidentally run off 12V and connected them to the car battery so we got some air flow. The first draft was truly ugly (as you can see in the picture above) and a little inefficient (buy bigger diameter to lower rpm and noise while keeping airflow high) but it worked just fine and has since been replaced by an optimized version, yippie! photo by claudi from travellittleone.com If you don’t want the hassle of building your own bed inside the car, a rooftop tent is the luxury camping version for every road trip. We had our eye on one the minute we planned the trip but we didn’t buy one right away because we simply didn’t have enough money. There are basically two different kinds of rooftop tents. There are the flip tents that look like a normal tent when pitched up and the hardshell tents that look like big boxes. I guess it’s a matter of taste which one you should get but I think the flip tents look a lot cooler and more adventurous but the hardshell tents are easier and faster to set up and usually more comfy. When we were almost done with your trip we found a company called BUNDUTEC. They are a small south african company and they develop their own systems that differ from the regular tents in being easier faster and more convenient – perfect for us. We decided to buy the BUNDUTOP after admiring one that was fitted to a south african couple’s Hilux. If you find yourself planning to start your trip in SA and you still need a tent, don’t buy it in your home country. The prices abroad are just ridiculous because its considered special camping equipment and the market is just not there. In South Africa almost every camper has got one which improves the products and drives down the prices. The one that we’ve got is even attached to the battery and goes up and down by the press of a button in only 12 seconds – lazy peoples heaven and something that is not even available with european products. Go have a look at their website if you want everyones jaw to drop once you rock up at a campsite and simply erect your tent by the press of a button while everyone else has to go through the hassle of setting up. A true looker!
The topic I want to adress today are the tourist attractions and activities where animals are involved, for example riding on an elephants back, walking and taking pictures with big cats, cage diving with sharks and many more. It’s a topic that we’ve encountered many times in the past few years and one that makes me sad, angry and often quite disappointed at the same time because it’s so easy to avoid. I always wonder how so many people actually visit those places where animal cruelty is the norm without looking behind the scenes or questioning anything at all. I guess that is because most of them don’t know or don’t want to know what is going on or maybe it’s just more important to get your awesome shot with a wild animal to show friends back home than to think twice about what you are supporting at that moment. To make you understand what i’m talking about, I want to explain the whole business using the sad tale of the so called ‘blood lions’ as an example. It all starts when the newborn lion cubs are only a few days old. They are taken away from their mothers – that often live in captivity to start with – to be either sold to volunteer programs, or to petting zoos, where tourists can interact with the cubs, take pictures and cuddle with them. The volunteer programs are the most perverted though. Heaps of young people come over to africa with the intention of ‘protecting the wildlife’, spending – their parents – fortunes to ‘help’, thinking that they play a productive part in efforts to reintegrate these estranged lions back into the wild at some point. Or they just straight up arrive in one of the petting zoos where tourists can interact with the cubs, take pictures and cuddle with them paying up to 1500€ a week! If you want to read more about the canned lions / canned hunting, you can find more informations here or here. If you want to get involved in positive projects, check out Kevin Richardsons conservation efforts over at his website as he’s probably the most prominent figure of lion-conservation worldwide
“Imagine one of the weirdest places on earth. Around nothing but empty vastness and a silence that is so absolute that you can almost hear your own heartbeat. It’s a beautiful night and the milky way in it’s full glory stretches from horizon to horizon with a cosmic shower marking clear cut lines across the sky. We are the only humans for miles, that amount of free space gives you time to contemplate. How exactly did we, two city bred europeans, both barely finished with uni, end up here? Well… that story goes back a bit…“ We had the pleasure of being featured in Proven Overlands first magazin issue. So if you want to read the rest of our story, klick here.