On 1 January Kyle Peters and I left from Jansenville in the Eastern Cape headed for Cape Town. 31 hours later we arrived home.
If you're thinking of doing the journey, here are some helpful hints to hitch-hiking across the country.
- Pack water. We did, and we’re still alive. Note the correlation.
- Don’t expect lifts from people with lots of space in their car. People who stop to pick you up already have a bunch of people in their car. The first car to stop for us had 5 people in the car, the next 3 people, the next was a minibus taxi (read full), and the last lift was a bakkie which had 9 people before we got in.
- When people say they’re going somewhere they might remember that they aren’t going there after you ask for a lift.
- Try not to walk in the Karoo during mid-day. We did. We got hot.
- Stand outside of town and look desperate. Simply putting up a thumb doesn’t work. You need to let them see the desperation in your face. Wave a lot and get them to notice you.
- Sunblock saved our lives. You’re spending a lot of time on the side of the road. Make sure you don’t become a lobster. Also try find shade when you can so that your brain doesn't boil.
- Don’t cross the bridge going out of Beaufort West. If you do you will probably get mugged. We didn’t cross the bridge thanks to a bergie/security guard who told us not to go. A minute later a group of 7 guys were hustling us. Some quick thinking got us out of the situation, and soon thereafter we were in a roadside hotel.
- Contribute money for petrol, but be prepared to bargain if it’s a taxi. Bargaining in Afrikaans is not as easy as sleeping.
- Expect happiness when someone stops. After a lot of people don’t pick you up, expect to be so very stoked to be inside a vehicle. A worn seat never felt so good.
- Hitch-hike with someone. I couldn’t imagine going on the journey by myself. There’s something great about experiencing a tough situation with someone, and being able to share laughs together. Plus it’s safer. Two people is probably the best number. If we had more people we probably wouldn't have been able to get the lifts we did.