East Africa 05

Trip Start Aug 02, 2004
Trip End Sep 25, 2005

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Flag of Zimbabwe  ,
Monday, March 14, 2005

Some people have asked about our life on an overland truck - so here it is:
- You spend lots of time on the truck - Africa is a big place and the roads are bumpy, dusty and generally uncomfortable
- You do camp chores like set-up of cook equipment and chair set-up which are both incredibly dirty (these were our jobs but there are other 'cushy' ones like security and barman)
- Even though we had a cook, you participate in cooking regularly - note, doing breakfast for everyone when a 6am game drive is planned is an absolute killer!
- You don't get a lot of time to yourself because you are largely with the group doing activities or on the truck (note: single people often share a tent with others unless they have been kicked out due to snoring or they stink!)
- Your sleeping patterns will change (you go to bed earlier and get up earlier) and sleep will often be dictated by others on your truck (beware of snorers, talkers, and loud laughers). Also, drinking alcohol to make you sleep better is not always a remedy, especially when you need to take a leak and there is a hippo or hyena hanging around your tent
- You go without showers or have a "wet ones" shower on more than one occasion
- You must like salad for lunch or you will starve (or eat way too many honey sandwiches - just ask Leah)
- You drink way too much full strength soft drink either because diet stuff is not available or it is the only thing that is cold
- You feel dirty constantly, your clothes are often covered in dirt and dust and no matter how hard you try there will always be dirt under your fingernails

If you decide to do an overland trip, here's how to survive:
- Abandon all hope of being clean until the end of the trip...continuing to try is a fruitless exercise.
- Leave your dignity at home - picture communal showers and road-side toilet stops with all the members of your gender forced to squeeze into the only suitable 2 square meters in the roadside bush.
- Switch off your brain on the first day. Individual thought and unsolicited suggestions on how to do things differently or better are not encouraged. Do as the tour leader says without question and you will fit in much better.
- Do not expect to have access to cold drinks, internet (especially hotmail!) or good chocolate and you won't be disappointed.

Insights into Africa:
- African people, particularly children, are some of the friendliest people in the world. You never get sick of waving back to the little kids that run to the roadside waving like mad as the truck passes.
- You haven't seen poverty until you've been to Africa. It's not just a line to get money out of you: people really do live in huts with no electricity and they do walk 5km to the village well to get a bucket of water that's drinkable.

Favourite things about Africa:
- Did you not read any of our African entries?
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