How far from Cape Point?

My Biggest Surprise About Life on the Road

Nothing I ever imagined

Six weeks into our travels I’m grateful for every day that we’re here on The Wiggly Path instead of stuck in the rat race.

Since our inaugural week in Cape Town, we’ve followed a meandering route east to the Kruger National Park area for our much anticipated safari at Senalala Safari Camp. We’ve driven through parts of wine country, the Garden Route, the Wild Coast, the Sunshine Coast, Durban, the Midlands, the Drakensberg, and the Panorama Route. Along the way, we learned that The Wiggly Path is, indeed, driveable in a tiny rental car. But it’s not always paved and furry or feathered obstacles frequently block the path, things like baboons, monkeys, cows, goats, guinea fowl and piglets. When it is paved, beware the potholes.

Road trips are a great time for reflection … so here are a few from my time so far on The Wiggly Path.

Our smartest move: Starting in our comfort zone

With so much new and different ahead of us, we wanted to start in familiar travel territory. Generally, that means someplace urban, walkable, with no extraordinary security concerns, and with plenty of our favourite things to do: outdoor places to explore, local craft beer to sample, historic places to see, and different foods to try. We started in Cape Town and it was all that we hoped for. Check out our photo gallery from our time there. P.S. Cape Town has great craft beer.

My biggest surprise: Full-time travel is more work than I imagined

Because we opted for a wiggly path vs. a set itinerary, we’re constantly planning where to go (and where to skip), how to get there (should we stop along the way?), where to stay (backpackers or B&B?), where to eat (pizza again?), how long to stay, etc. It’s time consuming and sometimes stressful. Now that we’ve found a comfortable groove, we’re heading to Zimbabwe. Cue a whole new learning curve.

My biggest frustration: Unreliable internet connections

Seriously, given all that could be frustrating about life on the road, this inconvenience is pretty trivial. Instant internet access is not a life requirement, but it is handy when you’re trying to book a hotel in the next town. It’s also the lifeline to keeping in touch with family and friends, and to staying current on news in the places we’re visiting, at home and around the world.

My greatest joy: The Wildlife

South Africa has the most awesome wildlife I’ve ever seen. As an animal lover, I’m in absolute heaven!

The penguins at Boulders Beach were magical. Addo Elephant National Park was amazing. A parade of elephants walked in front of our car. We had two separate encounters with (very) large male elephants that approached our car and majestically passed by. In between elephant sightings we saw many other four-legged wonders including zebras, buffalo, warthogs, impala, kudu, and meerkats.

Senalala, though, was the most wonderful of all. We were fortunate to see animals on every game drive, including multiple sightings of the big five and rare sightings of animals like porcupine and wild dogs. I also saw hippos, giraffes and wildebeest for the first time. Every game drive was a thrill a minute. I’m so looking forward to our Botswana safari.

Our visits to Cheetah Outreach, Eagle Encounters, and Umgeni River Bird Park were memorable, but I had mixed feelings about seeing fur and feathers in captivity (even though some are rescues and some serve as preservation ambassadors). Frankly, I just prefer to see animals in their natural homes.  

Do you identify with any of these travel experiences? Tell us in the comment section below.

Want to follow our daily travels on The Wiggly Path? We post regular updates on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Follow us there.

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