Wake up to someone’s alarm somewhere. Dude, we’re on vacation. Beautiful view of Table Mountain through the skylights again this morning. Go down for breakfast and the adventure detectives file in. “Need to make a run for batteries, duct tape, and knives at some point”, “Yep.”
There’s an SA dude working at the hostel that’s about 6’5″ built like a beast with a large beard and dgaf kind of attitude that we’ve been chatting with here and there. “You South African?”, “Nah, Canadian”, “Ahh, just your look and vibe. Coulda passed for SA”, “I’ll take that as a compliment.” His name’s Andrew. He seems to be the hostel do it all type of guy. He was grilling up a ton of meat outside the day we checked in, sometimes he’s at the front desk, sometimes the bar.
Right now he’s just chilling in the main area taking care of a joint. “You want some?”, “Nah man, we’re going to pick up a safari truck soon”, “Don’t blame ya, it’s just shit Durban poison anyways.” We talk about the trip we’re about to embark on. “When you’re in Windhoek, go to Joe’s Beer Hall.” If we make a Snoodle cartoon I want this guy to voice one of the characters, great accent. He tells us he was in the Marines for a bit. He also lived in Colorado for a while. Nice dude, we’ve shot the shit every morning now.
We decide that there’s enough time before our pick up for the truck to cable car it up to Table Mountain. Quick check online says that it’s open. We hop a taxi and start making our way up. Clouds are moving in fast and the wind picks up. By the time we get to the top, closed because of high winds. Well… shit.
Still not a bad view from the base though. We snap a pic and get back to the hostel for pick up.
A guy named Amos comes to the hostel to grab us. He comes in the actual truck that we’re gonna be renting so we get our first look at it. This thing is an absolute tank. What a beautiful beast.
We take off across town. The truck handles well, has a ton of clearance and torque, only downside I can see is that it’s an automatic. We get outside of downtown into a more rundown neighborhood. Amos takes us down a ridiculously narrow alley between two houses to the backyard of some residence. Nothing sketchy about this at all.
Amos takes us around and introduces us to a guy named Paul. “Oh Rockstars in the wild! Are you guys brothers?” I start the tally, we get that all the time. We sit down in the little house, there’s barely anything in it, “We’re renovating this into our new office.” We start going through a mountain of paperwork required to get this truck. I suppose it makes sense, this isn’t your normal rental since we’ve decided to pick it up here and drop it in Zambia. Still feels sketchy af signing all of this stuff.
We brought passport pics on our phones but they aren’t going through, there’s terrible reception here. “You could take a pic of the pic with your phone. Does that work?”, “Ahh brilliant!” As Paul is doing this his phone dies. He goes to look for a charger.
Meanwhile my card isn’t going through. I’m guessing fraud detection, which I don’t really mind because this is the sketchiest shit and I’d frankly be pissed if it didn’t get flagged. I go out to the alley and get some better reception there. If there’s one thing I like doing in South Africa it’s standing in an alley with my credit card out, reciting the numbers loudly over weak reception.
Just doing the paperwork and getting this thing paid for is taking hours. Paul’s reception girl’s computer isn’t working properly, they have to call the boss, Kevin, a couple of times about details. And he’s hard to get a hold of for some reason and requires waiting between calls. I won’t get into too many details cuz it’s annoying as fuck but it sure drains the excitement of finally getting this truck.
I walk around their new office and find some interesting items though
Finally we’re almost good to go. Paul takes us out and gives us a rundown of the truck and how everything works. And man, there’s a lot going on with this beefy bitch. It’s basically a fucking transformer.
Holy shit is this thing awesome! Absolutely floored by how badass it is. “I want one”, “Oh, so bad. We can really get off the grid in this thing.”
Here are some stats:
– 2 full diesel tanks
– 80 litre water tank
– Sleeps four, side pops out and top pops up
– Full kitchen and stove w two propane tanks
– Fridge and freezer slide out
– Shower with hot water heater
– Unfolding, detached table and 4 chairs
– Canopy for shade
– Satellite nav system with Africa Tracks loaded
– Tire compressor and shovel
– Firewood box on the roof
– Solar panels to backup power everything
Alright, we’re all set. We thank the boys for their help and they wish us safe travels. Amos takes the truck out through the narrow alley again before handing us the keys. Smart move. We decide that I should drive first since I’ve had lots of right-hand driving experience at this point between the Mongol Rally and crossing SA. There’ll be plenty of open road for the other dudes to ramp the skills up on later.
Handles well. Once I get into downtown Cape Town and things get more narrow it’s a little scary though. It is a massive truck with copious blind spots. Not the easiest to fit into small spaces.
We get back to the backpack and Peter is in the common area… doing his fucking taxes? “I keep my receipts”, “Ya, so does your phone, bro. That’s old school.”
This is also happening
We mount back up and get to a local mall to grab supplies. Duct tape, batteries, knives and some other essentials. Don’t think I’ve ever seen a Fisherman’s Friend truck before
Back to the hostel and Priscilla is home from Shark Tank diving. Says it was a long day but totally rad. Should we go hike Lion’s Head for sunset? It’s probably a good time to go.
Andrew comes out to take a look at the truck. He does a walk around. “Oh yeah, this thing is gonna do ya well. Fuck, now I wanna go. The spade and 2 gas bottles need to come off though, they won’t be there in the morning”, “Ahh, good call.”
An older lady rolls up and hops out of a car out front. “Is this your rig?”, “Yeah, pretty awesome, eh?”, “I’m so jealous. It’s beautiful.” She tells us that she’s the owner of The Backpack. We get into our trip details. “Ah Namibia. They don’t eat vegetables. Get veggies before you go. Get to the Skeleton Coast if you can.” She also tells us of a beautiful place to set up camp in Namaqua National Park on the way North through South Africa. She’s thrilled about this spot and describes this convoluted way to find it. We’ll do our best.
She also tells us she’s thinking about changing the backpack into something else. “We can’t survive like this. Airbnb has completely changed things. Not sure hostels can survive. Now it’s all about working and living, shared space. Digital Nomads, you know? Maybe we’ll change to accommodate that better.” She says she’s had it for 28 years. She mainly lives in Tel Aviv now, her husband is Israeli.
“Well I’d better not hold you up if you wanna sundowner at Lion’s Head. Great chatting with you and enjoy your trip! You can’t not.”
We grab Priscilla and pile in our new ride. “Holy shit, this is crazy!” Still need a bite and the suns going down quick. Better punch it or we’ll be hiking in the dark.