Caravanning a cheaper and fun way to see SA

"Where are the other black people?"

The author's father asked this question while camping at Bakubung Bush Lodge in North West. The old man's inquiry hits the bull's eye about the position of black people in the camping culture of South Africa. And this is the reality author Fikile Hlatshwayo hopes to change with this book.

Caravanning and camping are collectively a well-entrenched activity in SA, but a lifestyle overwhelmingly enjoyed by the white population and tourists from abroad.

From a distance, caravanning appears to be an expensive activity but, as the book reveals, it is in fact a cheaper holiday option and a fun way to see the country.

And how did Hlatshwayo get into it? By accident, well almost. The career woman in finance was diagnosed with burnout from a punishing work regiment.

The condition was already offsetting a bout of depression when she finally decided she wanted to spend a considerable time away from work and its stresses. So, travelling sounded ideal and, after calculating the costs, the idea of caravanning stood out as the most cost effective.

Travelling around the country in a caravan had additional appeal to it as it would mean spending long periods close together with the family.

After consulting a sales consultant about her plan to buy a caravan that could adequately support a family of four, complete with comfortable beds, a fridge, microwave oven and an outside kitchenette, Hlatshwayo got a good deal.

The family hit the road on September 15 2014 and drove through the festive season and into the new year, visiting over 60 camping/caravan parks, both privately owned and in national parks in all provinces and in Swaziland.

Apart from heart-warming details about her healing from her pre-trip depression, and newly acquired skill of home schooling her kids on the way, the author keeps things tight and informative, keeping the reader hooked from one destination to another.

Personally, I felt envy enveloping me when the family arrived at Marakele National Park in Thabazimbi, owing to my never-ending postponements to visit that park in southwestern Limpopo.

Overall, a well-written book and useful guide blacks can use for the camping/caravanning lifestyle.

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