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Monday, 26 April 2010

Truck Life - A day in the life of an Ultimate Trans Africa overland passenger.

So it’s my turn to update the blog… Seeing as AK is so much more literate then me I’ve been charged with writing a bit about truck life for your entertainment!

So, the day starts at about 7 with breakfast. Everyone’s usually awake pretty early coz it’s so freaking hot in the tents!

Zah, Leon & Zakiya (all Saffers) keeping it real at breakfast time

We have tried a couple of techniques to cool down from the overnight 35 degree sleeping conditions. Best one so far involves draping a mosquito net over the tent poles as a frame and then soaking a sheet so it’s freezing and draping it over yourself when you go to sleep. 2 problems encountered so far though. 1 is that the heat is so intense the sheet will dry in a couple of hours and so has to be resoaked at least 3 times during the night. 2 when in a sandstorm as last night, there was much scrambling around and shouting in the middle of the night to rescue fly away mozzie nets and various sleeping mats and sheets flying across the ground!

Tents are packed up in what is now record speed – I can only pack up to the point where the tent is ready to be rolled up. This is where AK comes in to fight off the various bugs with pincers raised and ready to attack when they appear from underneath! After all it is their territory, we are the invaders!!!

Gotta have a brew! (Regardless of the 45 degree heat.)

This round was on Kayelene (Oz)

Breakfast will be cheffed up by the previous nights cook group. Usually consists of eggs and bread, sometimes some fresh fruit and yoghurt, and for the hungry boys the cold leftovers from the night before!
Pack the tents away and drive on. On a driving day we’ll truck for a few hours, stop for lunch in a village if we pass one and maybe stop and see some sights along the way. Other days a quick drive to the next stop, find a bush camp somewhere off the road or occasionally in a camp site.

We love bush camping the best – just out in the middle of the bush with nobody around. Dead quiet, eat dinner and just staring at the stars. The only thing about the campsites is the relief of having a shower… I never thought I’d be wishing the showers were as cold as possible!!!

Ruby (truck) has roll down tarps on both sides and at the front, so we get those rolled down as early as possible to let the ‘cool’ air blow through. The 2 options are either to sit in the very front and be in the hair dryer position – boiling hot air blowing through onto you, drying you and producing a layer of sweat all at the same time…Or to sit at the very back and get pummeled by the 80km p/h wind all day. This is cooler but almost impossible to do anything except sit very still with your eyes closed.

Sands storms were also fun!! Covered in a 3 inch layer of sand in 20 minutes! We also play musical seats just to keep us entertained. The best part of the day is drinking down the obligatory 5 litres of water which has been slowly heated up during the day until it’s hot enough to brew up a pack of 2 minute noodles (I kid you not it was done this afternoon!)

Parking up for the night cook tents are out up, again in record speed, and the cook group gets to work. At the moment there’s 15 of us so we’re in groups of 3. This means buying any ingredients in the local markets and cooking up dinner and breakfast the next day. So far we’ve been eating like kings! We’ve had problems with the fresh meat recently, the only chance to buy it is early in the morning, and after 7 hours on the boiling truck the meat is at the least questionable! But we’ve even had some delicious fish dishes. All the meals are cooked over a fire-pit (once dug and lit by moi!)or portable charcoal burners – the authentic fire flavor is awesome!

The kitchen

All the equipment for cooking etc lives in cubbies all down the truck’s sides. Washing up and other chores are shared (most of the time) to help cook group out after dinner…and then PHEW, work is over and we just chill round the fire on the distant cold nights, or lounging on a mat and in comfy deck chairs until bed time.

Everybody's keeping travel logs these days (Badoom-tish!! - whythankyou)

Dave's shorts take a much needed visit to the washing machine

The world famous bush toilet


  1. Great blog guys! We're booked on the Cairo to Cape Town trip with AT that leaves in 2 weeks! So great to read about your experiences on the road! Cheers!

  2. The picture of the shovel and the paper roll brings back embarrassing memories. We had as a rule that when the shovel was away, the bushes in the direction of the shovel were occupied. (Which certainly should be a "red" stop signal for anyone walking that way.) But one morning when I was there, in the middle of my duty, shorts at my knees etc., one of the women showed up. Obviously we both became very surprised and I do not know who got most embarrassed. I think we both felt it was an unpleasant experience, for me sitting there with my bum bare and for her forced to see a man exposing himself in the early morning. I felt so ashamed that I never have been before or later, and I learnt that the lack of a shovel is a to weak barrier to defend doing all the things that one can do behind a really locked door. I guess that she just was on her way to pee and therefore did not remember to look for the "red light" along the path. None of us mentioned it later and I hope that she could understand my situastion too. At least she smiled before she disappeared.