After passing through Malawi and into Tanzania, we have reached the halfway point of our overland journey through Africa. Since many of our posts have focused on the actual highlight destinations and not the days of travel in between, we thought it might be interesting to show you what generally happens on our travel days. Our truck has started out with eleven people and now we are maxed out at twenty-eight people. Twenty-eight people on the truck is absolute chaos, but thankfully we like about 95% of the passengers at this point.
Rise and Shine: Depending on the amount of distance there needs to be covered, we wake up anywhere from 5-8 am. Tents get broken down, mattress pads and sleeping bags get packed up, and we make ourselves breakfast, which usually consists of cornflakes, bread with jam, and coffee or tea. Dishes get cleaned up quickly, and everyone piles into the truck and on we go .
On Board Entertainment: Days on the road can get tedious pretty quickly if you don’t have proper things to keep yourself busy. Lucky for us, we did a great job packing our on-board entertainment. We have the netbook which we can watch movies on or edit photos taken on the trip, the e-reader which we have about fifty books that we can choose to read from, an ipod touch which we installed a few language apps to practice for later in the trip, and a Nintendo DS, which is played mainly by me since Dana thinks I’m a nerd for having one in the first place. Sleeping is another popular option which Dana tries to do a lot, especially on the floor of the truck.
Lunch Time: If we pass through a decent sized town in between point A and B for the day, we usually stop at a grocery store to pick up that evening’s dinner ingredients and buy ourselves something for lunch. If we have a long distance to cover over a remote area, we usually know this will occur and buy our lunch in advance. Dana and I have made our staple lunch out to be a can of tuna, a tomato, crackers, cheese (if it’s available), and an avocado (very cheap in Africa). Every once in a while we will stop long enough to get something from a roadside restaurant which 99% of the time is some type of meat and rice.
Get to Work: The entire tour group is subdivided into groups that perform one of four jobs: cooking, dishes, security, and day off. I bet you can guess which one of those is my favorite. Cooking involves buying the dinner ingredients at the grocery store using a set budget, and cooking once we arrive at the campsite. Dishes are done after breakfast and after dinner. Security involves at least a couple group members staying on the truck while everyone else goes to buy groceries when we are in a town or city so our truck doesn’t get robbed.
Home Sweet Home: When we arrive at a campsite, we hurry up and pitch our tents, start making dinner, and if the facilities are good, take a shower. Sometimes Dana makes me take a shower even if the facilities aren’t that great. We have gotten our tent setup down to a science, and I’m really surprised at how well Dana and I have adjusted to living in a tent. Dana does the laundry most of the time if we stay at a campsite for more than one day, and I do my best to help her out. She hangs our portable laundry line from the tent to a tree to dry everything out.
Open Bar: Almost every campsite we stay at has some sort of bar. They range from simple shacks to very nicely arranged setups (for Africa, at least). No two are the same, and each one has its own quirks. Most importantly, bars are also the common place where it is possible to charge electronics. We do our best to keep all of our gadgets charged up as much as possible, especially the laptop because almost everything else we can charge off of its USB ports. When everything is charged up, we normally get to sleep somewhere between 9:30 and 11:30 if we taking off to a new area the next day.
We hope this gives a little insight as to what goes on in between the big stops through Africa! After a couple long driving days, our next stop is going to be the island of Zanzibar off the coast of Tanzania.