This article appeared in the May 2010 issue of the ‘Caravan & Outdoor Life’ magazine:
I have been camping my whole life, right back to my early days in Zambia and Zimbabwe. My dad and older brother were passionate about wild places, and so we saw game reserves all over Zambia and Zimbabwe. I was born in Zambia, and grew up on a farm in Zimbabwe. My mother was always happy to do whatever my dad planned.
Camping in those days was marvelous – we had a wonderful cook named Sampson, who always went with us (this was mostly because my brother was physically handicapped, and Sampson helped him). I can remember we would arrive in a remote campsite, unload everything, and then Sampson and the campsite caretakers would set up camp while we went for a game-drive. Sampson did all the cooking and the staff cleaned up.
Sampson usually went with us on game-drives, I remember he was the best at spotting game. Our Land-rover had a roof-hatch that opened; Sampson would hoist my brother into the roof-rack, and Sampson and I would sit on either side of the hatch, shouting ‘chola, chola’ at squirrels running next to the road.
Eventually my dad started venturing into game-reserves he deemed too wild for us womenfolk, so we got left behind (but not Sampson). Also the bush-war was hotting up, and it did get risky in remote areas. Not that that stopped my dad.
My husband’s name is Andre, and we have been camping for about 15 years. We started out with a tent and after a trip to the Eastern Cape when a cyclone made our trip a misery, we bought our first caravan. We are now onto our third.
We love camping in wild places, and are gearing up towards a Botswana trip one of these years (have the 4×4 now, bought a Pajero last year). We also love touring, and in July 2007 we hired a camper and toured the UK, that was interesting, and very different to traveling in Africa.
We have three children: our son Drue (29) is married to Shellie (23) and they have a little boy named Joel, who is 18 months old – the family celebrity, first grand-child, pride and joy. Our daughters are Tersia (26), recently married to Kevin (29), and Nyree (24), unattached at present, and who lives at home.
We all love to camp, in January we went to Maphelane as a family, that was great. There are challenges to camping with a baby in a campsite where there is no electricity, and you have to bring your own water.
The next trip planned is to Highover, in the Hela Hela valley, on the banks of the Umkomaas River – again, no electricity. I can’t wait!