Who: L U C I E, L A C H L A N, and B O W W O W.
Their occupations: Gypsy, Slick Suit in Finance, Dog
The trip: Crossing Africa by 4×4, helping communities through trade.
We’ve cut our teeth on over 25,000km of dirt roads across Southern Africa with our dog, Bow Wow, sourcing wonderful, handmade treasures… Think Summer of Love! Here are our highlights so far…
Even though Bow Wow promised not to lift his leg against the statue of David Livingstone, no dogs are allowed at the Victoria Falls. Not even adventure hounds sponsored by Hill’s pet Nutrition.
We discover why Lake Kariba’s southern shores are less travelled and live to tell the tale.
The national park near Nyanga is said to have been Cecil Rhodes favourite spot and by all accounts has fabulous hikes through lush green mountains with waterfalls, breath taking views and great trout fishing. We knew that these hikes would be out of bounds for us with a dog but we hoped that as the park is not home to many animals and has no predators, the rangers may turn a blind eye and allow us to stay for one night in their campsite with Bow Wow. However, they were not to be charmed and once again we found ourselves in the stressful situation of having to find alternative accommodation with less than an hour of daylight left. Blaming himself, Bow Wow felt horrendously bad about the whole thing and increasingly worse when we were turned away from a motel in the town of Nyanga which was fully booked and did not allow camping in their grounds. On hearing us discussing our last hope, which was to ask if we might stay at the local police station, the snooty receptionist reluctantly suggested that we try a place just out of town called Angler’s Rest but she definitely did not recommend it. (Includes 3 videos)
High in the Lesotho mountains we meet South African chef, Justin Bonello and the Cooked in Africa crew. This chance encounter makes us feel, more than ever, that we are on the right track and that perhaps our destiny is written in the stars. We contemplate how, like life, every great road trip is about the journey, not the destination and like every great recipe, there are certain key ingredients that are required…
Lachlan receives a proposition from a frisky old lady with blood shot eyes, an afro goatee and more than a faint whiff of beer on her breath. Bow Wow alerts us to an intruder by doing his best Scrappy Doo impersonation and then later mysteriously disappears. We finally find a public telephone and call home but as per usual the line to Westridge is engaged.
South Africans sure have taught us a thing or two about glamping; satelite dishes, standard lamps and even a parrot in a cage are regular features at campsites. We met this lovely couple in Richard’s Bay and they invited us into their cosy abode for home made muffins.
Our first border crossing successfully behind us, we experience Lesotho’s unique beauty and simpler way of life that is both humbling and inspiring. We meet a brave Frenchman, finally understand why the Queen waves in the gentle way that she does and Bow Wow learns an important lesson.
Lachlan does the World’s highest bungy jump and Bow Wow joins a crew of salty surf mutts at J Bay which leads to a chance encounter with rock star scientist Brian Cox. We spend a few luxurious nights with Lucie’s relatives stocking up on biltong and gaining invaluable advice for the trip ahead. Humbled by the Wild Coast we can feel the bittersweet beauty of Africa’s extremes already getting under our skin and touching our hearts.
We finally left, as ready as we would ever be, on May the 23rd with only two weeks to get to Lesotho and renew our visas! Following the infamous Route 62, we stayed in quirky Montagu, had a drink at the incongruous Ronnie’s Sex Shop, attempted to ride an ostrich and squeezed through a labyrinth of tiny gaps deep underground at the Cango Caves.
Lachlan came up with this surprisingly delicious concoction one cold night while we were on the Otter Trail. As you carry everything that you need for five days (your sleeping bag, clothes, cooking paraphernalia and food) you have to pack light and this means living off a schoolboys dream diet of powdered food stuffs and noodles! I am not sure if we will indulge in Lachlan’s Biltong Broth in the near future, but I can tell you that after a challenging day, wading waist deep through fast flowing rivers and hiking up and down the Tsitsikamma Forest’s coastal valleys, this well and truly hits the spot!
The Otter Trail is a five day, 42km hike in the indigenous Tsitsikamma Forest by a breathtaking untouched coastline. You sleep in wooden huts with no electricity or mobile phone reception and for five days all you hear is the sound of the ocean and the incessant insect hum of the bush. Hailed as one of the World’s most beautiful hikes, this was the opportunity of a lifetime.
Gil Bauman has done the Otter Trail so many times that he has lost count! He has very kindly allowed us to publish his Otter Trail Pack List which has been finely honed over the years to cover all eventualities while being as light as possible.
Pat isn’t known as Indiana Jane for nothing! She is one intrepid lady having travelled solo all over Africa in her Landy, Tiger Moth airplane and yacht. Pat’s Safari Bites and Muesli Mix provides essential nutrients when it is difficult to obtain fresh fruit on the road. She describes her recipe as ‘more arse than class’ but it is absolutely delicious and can be stored for a number of months.
Braving the leopards with Bow Wow, a.k.a. Leopard Bait, at Driehoek in the heart of the Cederberg. We meet an excited bushman and Zulu, a dog with two tails. Bow Wow pretends to like cuddles.
Getting to grips with Afrikaans, camping and constellations. We discover that Bow Wow is half otter in Beaverlac’s crystal pools and that you can take the dog out of the township but you can’t take the township out of the dog.