Trying out the caravan! (and getting to know my camera)

This was exciting! We tried out our caravan for the first time for a weekend in McGregor, South Africa. Lucky for us we were there in off- season and had the entire campsite to ourselves, which meant we could spread out a bit and really enjoy the weekend.

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Set up!

It was also the first time we fully set up the caravan with all the awnings, canvas sides and groundsheets. It took us a little while, mainly because we had to re-do the sides twice so that the poles were on the inside, but with time I think we’ll get the hang of it and will become pros soon enough. The beauty is that you don’t have to set up all the awnings and all the paraphernalia if you choose not to. It still beats setting up tents and gazebos, and the bottom line is that we were comfortable. There’s a fridge on a drawer system, as well as a gas stove so we still had so much space in the Bakkie, that it felt like we hadn’t actually packed and we kept going over what we might have forgotten!

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“Practicing” sleeping ๐Ÿ˜‰

Power wise we were also prepared (thanks to my very clever husband), with inverters, extra batteries and solar panels as back up.

Of course we’ll be doing more test runs before we leave for our year long trip in 2019, so we can iron out any issues we might face before departure.

My husband and daughter got to refine and enjoy their fishing time together, while I got to practice some nature photography. My “wild life” photography got dominated by the birds, because…well, that was the wild life that was there :).

Looking forward to the next practice adventure!!

 

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Testing recipes

My favourite part so far of the “Africa Prepping scenario”! I even went to the library and found a great recipe book called “Road Tripping” by Justin Bonello, which is jam- packed (….oh that reminds me, I must put ‘jam’ on the packing list….), with amazing recipes specifically for the fire. From Breads to roasts to poitjies etc…

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So many recipes!

I tried making bread in the fire (before I read the book), and it turned out quite nice. I used a beer bread recipe, the batter of which I poured into a standard bread loaf baking tin, and then I put the baking tin in the “braai bak” (aluminium BBQ container with lid) and onto the coals it went. Word of advice: Make sure the coals are hot enough…ours took aaages :D. The bread didn’t rise as much as it does in a conventional oven, but it tasted awesome.

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Oven Bread
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Braai Bread (BBQ)

Next on the list was a whole chicken and vegetables, also in the braai bak (it’s my favourite thing at the moment).

A seasoned whole chicken, with root veggies and onions. It’s pretty easy and takes a similar amount of time to an oven roasted chicken. Although the skin doesn’t crisp up as it would in an oven, the meat is so tender and literally falls off the bone. I’m going to play around with this idea some more and see what other variations I can try.

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It totally passed ‘Quality control’

 

Preparation continues…

Maps, research and spiders!

Let me tell you, if you were to look into my eyes now, you wouldn’t see colour…no. You’d see reflections of travel websites, maps and wildlife pictures. My retinas are basically screens now.ย  So many places to see out there! So much to plan! I almost feel like a year won’t be long enough!!

Of course there are other things to do apart from paging through the map book, googling campsites and routes, updating passports allย while stirring the supper pot and signing homework diaries, such as….catching spiders in your own house.

I have a completely irrational fear of our arachnid friends. My heart starts palpitating and my eyes start watering, not because I’m crying, more like an involuntary ‘fill up’. Like the fear is literally spilling out of me. So when I left the computer screen at 11:30 pm 2 nights ago, I was more than taken aback as I realised I had the task of ‘shooing’ a big rain spider out of my bedroom. With the help of a long stick to which I attached a shower back brush with a hair band of course, I managed to coax the hairy creature into the passage and then naturally locked my bedroom door…because that was what made sense at the time. With the help of a dear friend the next morning though, we managed to release the spider into the garden. But here’s a tip: trying to catch a spider with a pool net that has an 8 foot long pole in a 4 foot wide passage only seems like a good idea until you get stuck in the too narrow passage. While you try to reverse out of said passage without taking the plaster off the walls completely, the spider will have jumped out, leaving you screeching like…well, like an “arachnophobic” trying to catch a spider. All day after that I was thinking to myself “I have to toughen up for next year”, which I got the chance to practice again that very same evening with possibly the cousin of the first spider. That capture I managed in a much calmer manner though.

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Chilling in the passage with an “come at me” attitude.

 

I have released many creatures from our house so far, including scorpions, but spiders I really struggle with. “Time to toughen up buttercup” will have to be my new mantra ๐Ÿ˜‰

Africa is not for sissies. No matter if you’re in Cape Town or in the jungles of the Congo.

Prepping for Africa

Throwing out and organising…

So, we’re travelling through Africa next year…for the WHOLE year!! We’ve got the ‘digs’ sorted out in the form of a Conqueror Commander caravan, and a vague route of Cape Town – Namibia- Botswana- Zambia- Malawi- Tanzania- Kenya- Rwanda- Zanzibar- Mozambique and back home through South Africa has been decided. Very exciting!

Obviously with a trip like this comes major planning, researching, and the added (dis)advantage of going through all your crap…really, do we honestly NEED all this STUFF? My ‘not up to scratch’ organisational skills are really being put to the test here, but I will soldier on because….well….AFRICA ๐Ÿ™‚ and a good clean out is good for the soul I hear.

Firstly, our camping stuff is needing some sorting out, as we’ll need to keep an eye on the weight we’ll be travelling with and don’t want to take extra unnecessary equipment, but here’s the catch: You think you’re going to NEED everything! Things here are constantly moving between the “Need” and “Don’t need” pile. So I’m going to look at this exercise with an assertive attitude and rely on the fact that when my husband asks me for “this or that” in 8 months time and it’s not available, he’ll see the humour when I say: “Remember that time I was being assertive….?” ๐Ÿ˜‰

The admin and sorting out home (road) schooling for our daughter is of course another huge factor, but we’re making good head way with that so far!

Alright well, I need to go carry on with the sorting while I also pretend like I have a ‘controlled lid’ on all the other general daily household stuff.