Lessons from a self guided safari in South Africa
Travel has the ability to broaden your understanding of the world and its peoples, build self-confidence, build tolerance and grow relationships, it can leave you elated and awe-struck, overwhelmed and speechless, and it has the ability to sadden you to your core. Its offers you the opportunity to reflect on your own life and circumstances, and in most cases to come to realise that the daily problems we face pale in comparison to a large swath of the worlds developing population, travel is about appreciation.
As i sit here and write this overlooking the sun rising on the strikingly beautiful limestone cliffs of the Golden Gate Highlands National Park it occurs to me that travel is made for these moments of blissful calm and reflective quiet. This trip so far has been an amazing experience, South Africa has so much to offer in its variety and vibrancy but also offers a view into how the desperation of poverty can force people to destroy their most precious assets just to make enough to feed their families.
Most of what holds people back from ditching the 'packaged' holiday and opting for more adventurous, open ended travel is fear, fear of the unknown, the what if's, the maybes, and a lot of those fears can be stemmed with prior research, preparation and back up planning so that all eventualities are taken into account, sometimes it doesn’t all go to plan but there are lessons to be learnt in that for future trips. There is nothing quite like a long trip to a far-flung corner of the world, so my advice is to swallow the fears and plan a one-off trip that creates unique memories to last a lifetime.
Many of the pieces of advice you need for a safe and successful self-drive trip can be found on the internet before travelling, some of the finer details can only be discovered once in country. So this 'blog' of sorts acts as a two part reference document that first of all gives advice on everything from transport and safety to communications and food, as well as a rough guide to prices and budgeting, and secondly gives a diary of the places we stayed and the activities we did along the way, so that if you are also planning a similar trip to South Africa you can avoid the pitfalls and enjoy the best this amazing country has to offer. (Recording a trip also documents unusual insights and tips for future trips that may be forgotten)