Feature: Jackie of Jackie Not in the City
I worked in digital advertising before quitting my job last year and hitting the road with my husband. We’ve put all our belongings into a storage unit and moved into our trusty Land Rover Defender (@mkulu_the_landy) to travel Southern Africa from Cape Town to Malawi and back.
We’ve been overlanding for the past 6 months and traveled to 6 countries, stayed at 60 campsites and still have a few more kilometres to travel before we arrive back in Cape Town.
Who or what inspired you to choose independent vehicle travel as your mode of transportation?
My husband! He had the dream of traveling Africa and after months of searching for the right vehicle he found Mkulu, a Land Drover Defender 110 which is a fully converted camper. This trip was all about being free and living on our own time and that’s why we needed our own vehicle. The Landy is basically our home now, everything we needed for the past 6 months fits into it. We wanted to go wherever, sometimes very remote places, whenever we wanted and Mkulu allowed us to do just that.
Everyone always asks a traveller what their favorite country is. Do you have a favorite country? If not, what is a place that is special to you?
Difficult to choose a country because I loved all of them so I will have to choose a place and it’s without a doubt the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. It’s a wildlife reserve located in the Kalahari Desert between the borders of South Africa and Botswana. It’s remarkable how such an arid landscape can be so beautiful and so full of wildlife.
There is something special about camping in the wild, hearing the lions roar at night, watching the sun rise over the red sand dunes and knowing that every day in the park is going to be different.
The Kgalagadi makes me humble, it makes me appreciate the small things and is the one place I can truly switch off and be in the moment.
Traveling has taught me…
Once you need less you will have more.
I no longer need a lot of “things” to be happy. I’m less stressed without the clutter and find happiness in moments rather than things. Give me a cup of tea, a beautiful sunrise with my husband by my side and I’m the happiest girl in the world.
Overlanding sucks sometimes because…
Sometimes you just wish you could leave the dishes for later. I’m not always in the mood to do the dishes but some places we travel to we have to make sure everything is cleaned and packed away before bed. We can’t leave dirty dishes or any food out because it attracts wild animals such as baboons, honey badgers and hyenas.
I’m a badass woman because…
It’s day 180 on the road, living in a car while sometimes sharing campsites with puffadders and scorpions and I’m the last person my family & friends expected to go on an overland trip through Africa.
One of the most common questions we get is about finances. Do you have any tips, tricks or advice on this topic?
If you travel Africa off season you can get a lot of discounts. We traveled during the rainy season and got most of our accommodation cheaper than peak rates. You can be frugal with everything else, but don’t cut corners when it comes to your vehicle, it’s your biggest investment on the trip. Eat local, don’t go to the touristy restaurants. We saved a lot of money by buying local street food and fruits.
How has this experience changed you?
I believe I am a changed woman, more confident, more eager, more likely to take risks in life. I am more open to people and more willing to fight the norm.
What are your favorite overland resources (blogs, books, FB pages, etc.)?
iOverlander is a great app to use if you are traveling Africa. It’s a GPS enabled app for overlanders which lists accommodation and camping spots with all the available amenities. Listings are submitted and reviewed by overlanders so the information provided is genuine and useful. We don’t book a lot of our accommodations in advance so iOverlander comes in very handy to find nearby camp sites, especially in areas where there is no cell reception.
What is a simple life hack you’ve discovered while on the road?
Body lotion mixed with citronella essential oil makes a great natural mosquito repellant.
What advice would you give to someone with a dream to travel overland?
If I can do it, any girl can! Take the leap you won’t regret it.