adventures around Africa
Today, exactly a year ago, Peter, our CMO and his friend Johan, started a tough 2200 km journey cycling from Cape Town, V&A Waterfront to Pont’s drift Border post, Limpopo. This was to raise funds for Local Surf Lounge Academy.
On their third night, they met Zulch Conradie, who offered them a complimentary stay at his guest farm “Jurgensfontein” which is located between Ceres and Sutherland.
Zulch is an ex ranger in Sabi Sands and a seasoned 4×4 camper and covered many miles around Southern Africa. To celebrate Tourism Month, we spoke to Zulch about his career as a ranger, his first overland camping trip (that costed him only ) and tips for keen campers that want to explore Africa.
Here is what Zulch had to say ….
I grew up on a fruit farm in the Ceres area. After completing my B.Sc. Agric degree at Stellenbosch(1994) I ventured to the USA for 2 years, working in the fruit industry that side. On my return to SA I worked at another Fruit farming company, to gain more experience, before joining the family business.
In 2007 I left the fruit industry and moved to the Eastern Cape village of Rhodes. It is here that I got involved in tourism. With “Linecasters” we guided people on Flyfishing excursions to various destinations, including Lesotho and Angola.
My love for nature got me to follow a childhood dream to be a game ranger. So I applied for an opportunity to be a guide at one of the premier Five star establishments in the Sabi Sands. Living in the real bush was a privilege. Before long I found myself managing a 5* lodge. Desk work got the better of me so I decided to move on.
At that time I was ready to fulfil another dream: travelling Africa. So I packed the Hilux with root-top tent and off I went.
Zimbabwe, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia.
An injury to my knee forced me to return to the Western Cape.
2015 saw me getting married.
Today we own a Farm in the Tankwa Karoo (Ceres Karoo) 55km from Ceres, called Jurgensfontein ( www.jurgensfontein.co.za )
Apart from the livestock we raise, there are seven rescued donkeys. We believe in sustainability and responsible custodianship, perserving what we love for the generation to come. To share this dream with others we have a self-catering cottage on the farm.
My first trip was with three friends during September break while at Stellenbosch in 1992. We planned the trip in little more than a week. Danny borrowed his dad’s OLD Land cruiser bakkie. With two guys on the back and the other two driving we headed for adventure. Crossing into Botswana at Brey we followed what was then just two track in the sand all the way to Zambezi and Vic Falls (Zambia).
The round trip from Stellenbosch took us 11 days at a staggering R450 per person all included.
The entire trip was epic. We camped in the bush, ate bully beef and baked beans every day. Living free.
Anywhere where I can be free and away from the crowds. Namibia (Namib, Damaraland, Kaokoland) Zambezi
In SA: Karoo, Richtersveld, Kgalagadi. But I like the Lowveld and Bushveld too.
As long as I can sit by a fire at night, seeing stars and not lights, I’m happy.
I cannot think of any. Sometimes you get rained on, Sometimes it freezes, other times its scorching hot. Its all part of the journey.
One thing that do irritate me is inconsiderate and disrespectful people.
Traveling in my bakkie kitted with fridge and tent.
An open, calm mind to take on anything the trip might throw at you. The ability to enjoy the moment. without these you might as well stay home.
Safety, Safety and Safety. Your own and that of your travel companions. But also that of you vehicle. Animals are wild no matter who tells you what and should be treated accordingly.
Don’t run out of water
Use your common sense and don’t be stupid or ignorant.
Take a long weekend into the Karoo/Tankwa. Try out all your gear. Figure out how to use it. What is unnecessary, and what is missing.Do this before you decide to hit the long road. Southern Namibia is a good place to start a longer trip.
Yes. I love the freedom. However I do believe it is not possible all the time. In some places in SA it is just not safe to wildcamp these days.
Wild camping is becoming a trend. My fear is that not everyone respects private land and/or nature the way we should. Take only pictures and leave only footprints.
Doing Van Zyl’s pass alone. (Don’t try this at home) Then Namib also alone. This was a life changing experience. you have to face yourself and deal with all the lies etc.
I would love to be able to travel more. The southern part of Africa has so much to offer ; such diversity; not only in nature, but also in people and culture.