Words & Pictures by Des Featherstone
Gumboots and Blankets
We’d decided to do our first organised overland trip, which would have us visiting Lesotho with a 4×4 club. It was an experiment for us − a trial run for future African adventures. I have always meandered at my own pace, but I can also see the safety advantages of travelling in a group. Not the paranoid ‘Africans are going to kill me’ safety advantages, but more the ‘if my vehicle breaks down there’ll be someone to help’ angle. We met up with our fellow explorers in Underberg on a beautiful, clear, fresh morning on Day One of the trip. Of course, for us Capetonians, it was actually day three, as it had taken two days of driving to get to this point.
That is, two days of surviving my husband’s driving and sharing the cabin. I thought we should swop driving duties every two hours, but he’s of the caveman persuasion – man must drive! There were four vehicles in the group, our leader and three others; one of our party had forgotten his passport at home in Durban and was waiting for a friend to bring it to him. The group consisted of us (a middle-aged couple on our first trip), an Afrikaans, slightly older and experienced 4×4 couple, an elderly English gentleman on his own, and the couple leading the group. A glance at the vehicles told us that we were the only ground-dwellers – everyone else had a rooftop tent.