In March 2020, half of Team Guzzle H2O had the opportunity to do some overlanding in Southern Africa. If you've read the About Us page, you may know that Guzzle H2O co-founder, and my husband, Sean "Doogie" Couvreux, races highly competitive sailboats for his day job. For the first time in his career, the racing circuit in which he participates went to Cape Town, South Africa for two events. Since there were two events on the schedule, with three weeks in between, we decided to take our family (us and two kids, 8 & 10 years old) on a grand adventure through up to five Southern African countries. Cape Town had always been on my dream travel list, as had a safari.
Once we knew his schedule was solid, we blew through all of his saved airline miles to buy tickets for the kids and me. A plus of having a career with a lot of travel is that sometimes those miles can be used for an amazing trip. The kids and I were to meet Doogie in Cape Town for the final day of his event, explore Cape Town for the weekend, and then start our big loop. After buying the plane tickets, we had to figure out how to get around. Doogie's South African teammates had highly recommended doing a self-drive safari by renting a 4x4 camper truck. We camp a lot at a home, sometimes in tents, and most often in a lightweight camper trailer, but rooftop tents were going to be a whole new ballgame. After much debate, we settled on a Toyota Hilux Bushcamper from Bushlore Africa. Bushlore was fantastic and answered all of our random questions and even moved our pickup date at the last minute, as we decided to pick up early so we could explore Cape Town by car.
After we had the plane tickets and reserved the truck, we started researching different routes and stops. I wanted to see the amazing red dunes of Namibia and do as many safari drives as possible. Doogie wanted adventurous hiking. I had to explain to him that adventurous hiking opportunities don't often exist due to the possibility of lions and other predators roaming wild. We came to agree on the following loop:
- Cape Town, South Africa
- Augrabies Falls National Park
- Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
- Sossusvlei, Namibia
- Possibly the Skeleton Coast
- Etosha National Park
- Caprivi Strip, Namibia
- Kasane & Chobe National Park, Botswana
- Victoria Falls - Zimbabwe & Zambia
- Nxai Pan & Baobob Trees of Botswana
- Johannesburg, South Africa
We would do this loop from our rented Toyota Hilux Bushcamper, staying mostly in campgrounds along the way and overlanding whenever we could.
After the research was done, vaccines scheduled, and safari clothes purchased, we got around to packing our gear bags.
Our Bushlore Toyota Hilux Bushcamper claimed to be coming with everything we needed for our trip. As people who like to be prepared, and traveling with kids, we added a whole bag of gear, a lot of it important, some not.
Of course, our number one item was our Guzzle H2O Stream. It was extremely important for us to be able to do this trip without relying on single-use plastic water bottles. We also didn't want to experience the "traveler's diarrhea" that we had been warned about by our travel doctor. We made sure the Stream was empty of any residual water from its last use and padded with clothing in our checked luggage. Doogie travels frequently with a Stream this way and has had no issues.
Other items on our list included:
- Solar lanterns
- Goal Zero solar panel
- 6 1L reusable water bottles
- Medical kit w/meds & thermometer
- Sh!t Kits
- Car multi-charger
- Scrubba wash bag
- Stasher reusable zip lock style bags
- Camera gear
- Travel adapters
- Travel/camping towels for each of us
- Clothesline with clips
- Lightweight sleeping bag liners treated for mosquitos
In addition to our gear list, Doogie has an extensive travel mobile phone plan, which allowed us to get driving directions via Google Maps as well as the ability to look up campgrounds via the iOverlander app. Also, we had a GPS and rented a satellite phone from Bushlore in case we got stuck somewhere.
Once we picked up the car and remembered how to drive on the left, we headed out to explore Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope outside of Cape Town. The kids were looking forward to seeing the African penguin colony at Boulders Beach. After two days of sightseeing and provisioning in Cape Town, we were on our way.