Up at 6am to have breakfast and hit the roads, we were warned that this is the only time we would be waking up at 7am and we're lucky!
Bags need to be in the truck at 6:45 latest and done by breakfast by 7:30, me and Jasmine struggle with closing our bags it almost feels like I wasn't the one who packed it. It's slightly weird but fun sharing a room with someone you only just met a few hours ago. When the struggle is over we head out to meet Augustus, our truck that will be driving us through 7 countries and carrying all the goodies. He is HUGE like I didn't expect to be in an overland truck that big, but then again I didn't expect anything but just not that.
We have breakfast with two boys named Dennis and Dennis, I know, they even have the same job! And we hop into Augustus we alternate seats everyday, the first day we sit by the table in the front, little does everyone know, it's really not fun sitting where the tables are. You are squashed for 5 hours of driving.
We stop for a few minutes on the way to our first campsite at the beach, this is the last time we see the sea for a while. The Atlantic Ocean, it's cold but beautiful.
Our first stop is 5 hours away we head to the Highlanders Vineyard which is run by Sparky, his wife and their two sons. The scenery was incredible on our way, just miles and miles of untouched landscape and when you look out the two windows facing where we are driving to it's just never ending. 5 hours later we are told to hold on as we leave tarmac road for a few minutes to get to where the campsite is.
For the first time, we are taught how to set up our tents and boy are these things heavy, it takes us time to get it right, thank goodness we are camping on grass for the first and last time apparently. I find it weird I am the only one wearing my hiking boots in this heat, I am not really into walking bare foot on the grass but the least I can do is put on some flip flops and I have to admit it feels so much cooler. After lunch a few of us decide to go on a hike, midday when it's boiling hot and I totally regret that decision later. On a better note the showers are absolutely beautiful, there's a sort of window but with no glass while showering that has the most amazing view of the mountains and scenery it's incredible, I even end up showering twice just to feel better and have that view. We were briefed the day before about being sick on holiday it's bound to happen I just didn't think it would be that soon, I am jealous when dinner is served I can't eat much. Colleen and Lulu our tour guide and driver set up a fire for us as the temperatures drop and give us a briefing of what is going to happen the next day. You guessed it 5am starts from tomorrow! After dinner we get closer to the fire and have marshmallows we now have to say something funny or weird about ourselves so we can break the ice a bit!
I panic over what to say, everyones stories are hilarious and very personal and when it comes to me I panic a little and say "Hi my name is Mariam, I hate camping, I hate the heat, I hate insects and to be honest I am terrified of animals, but here I am in Africa for 60 days." I am slightly embarrassed but I hear people burst into laughter which is always good news. Frankly that line couldn't be more me. After talking for a while Anna runs up to us and says "Andres wants to beat the world drinking challenge at this campsite and he needs your help to encourage him, lets go to the bar and help!"
I'm too unwell to move, I look up to the sky and realise this is the first time I see this many stars, what have I been missing out on! I head for my first night in the tent in my sleeping that was meant to keep me warm in 0 degrees which I can point out it doesn't keep me warm in 10 haha.