When I last left you, we were exploring Cape Town. Given the chance, I would have spent about two more days visiting that beautiful city, but our time was limited to exactly what Doogie had between his two events so it was a weekend of sightseeing and then we were on our way. Rooftop tents were new to us, but, after we picked up our truck, we felt pretty good about it. We left the city early on a Monday morning with our sights set on Augrabies Falls National Park in the north. Augrabies was a good jumping-off point to destinations in the Kalahari - a long day's drive from Cape Town, but not too far that we couldn't easily do it.
During our sightseeing in Cape Town, we had tried to find a good reusable water jug which we could use for clean purified drinking water. Without having the time to run around town to seek one out besides the few camping stores we came across, we came up empty-handed. So, at our first gas stop, we purchased three 5L plastic water bottles. One would be our fill-up container. One would be for clean drinking water. And the last would be our reserve. This was the only water we purchased during our two-week trip. And, the third bottle stayed sealed until our last night after we had packed our Stream away in our baggage for the trip home.
On our way to Augrabies Falls, around lunchtime, Google Maps had us exit the paved freeway to head off on a gravel road for 200-300 kilometers. Oh boy, I was thinking this was going to be a long adventure if this was how we were starting. At Bushlore, they had taught us to "air-down" our tires when on gravel or sand, so we paused in the middle of the road to "air-down". I'm not sure we passed any other cars besides some farm equipment on the road. That was the day we learned to also pull up the GPS map to see which way was actually best. Google Maps liked shortcuts. The GPS liked only paved roads. We found a mixture of both to be best over the course of our trip. Tire pressure stops were always a good time to refill each of our drinking water bottles.
Once we arrived at Augrabies, we went on a short game drive and walked to see Augrabies Falls. The kids also stopped for a swim in the campground pool. Something we had read but weren't sure we believed, was that almost all the campgrounds have pools. It was true. I think we only stayed at 1 or 2 campgrounds that didn't have a pool. We got too anxious to see the sights and missed making dinner before it got dark. We soon learned that everyone eats and gets in their tents before dark to avoid the mosquitos. We also had to watch our food closely, otherwise, the campground baboons and monkeys would help themselves to a yummy dinner.
While we were prepping dinner, Doogie did what was to become our nightly ritual with the Guzzle H2O Stream. By then we had been drinking enough water that our first 5L bottle was empty. So he filled that bottle up with campground water and used the Guzzle H2O Stream to pump clean filtered drinking water into our reusable water bottles. Once we were into the second 5L bottle, he would also fill that with clean "guzzled" water so we could refill our individual water bottles during the day.
*Note: this photo was not from Augrabies Falls N.P., but our next stop near the Kgaldari Transfrontier Park.
You're probably wondering if our truck had a tank as well. It had a 60L water tank with a spigot near the back tire. We weren't quite sure how much water we were going to consume each day so we decided to go forward with the two 5L bottle plan - one for filling up from the campground and one for drinking. We left the truck water for emergencies or washing up. The spigot was often muddy since it was down near the tires, which made it slightly undesirable to use frequently.
Throughout our trip, we figured the four of us were consuming approximately 10 to 12 liters of water per day. We had six individual 1L reusable water bottles that got filled as needed, along with at least 5L in reserve every time we left a campground with water.
Our biggest priority was to avoid purchasing water along the way. This not only saved on single-use plastics, but also money, and the number of times we had to stop for provisions. Since our truck had an electric cooler/fridge and a generous storage drawer, we only had to do two major provision shops throughout our trip. We were able to fill in bread and snack needs from a park store or gas station convenience shop. It also saved a lot of room in the back of the truck not having to store 30L of drinking water in bottles.
After Augrabies Falls, we went up the Kalahari Desert and the Kgaldari Transfrontier Park.