Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Top Travel Tips (3) - Rosalie Tostevin

Rosalie on the edge
of the Namib Desert

Rosalie has spent several months doing fieldwork out in ‘the bush’ – the dry semi-desert that covers southern Africa. Her PhD field area is in Southern Namibia, and she did her undergraduate mapping project in the Karoo, South Africa. Here she shares her top travel tips for travelling in southern Africa:

1) Time of year: Visit in their winter (June-Sept). It will be warm and dry during the day, cool enough to sleep at night, and the insects and snakes will mostly be in hibernation.

2) Clothing: If you wear shorts, your legs will be covered in cuts from the spiny plants and you may develop a rash as some of the spines deliver poison. There are also ticks and biting spiders to worry about. It’s not worth it, even for tanned legs!

3) Money: The exchange rate between the rand (legal tender in both South Africa and Namibia) and the pound varies between 11 and 15. If you need to make a big payment, i.e. for accommodation, ask if you can pay your bill on a day when the rate is favourable. You could save a lot of money.

Leopard snake basking in
the sun on a path in Namibia
4) Snakes: Tap your hammer on the rocks every few minutes to scare the snakes away. Watch out for puff adders, as they like to bask in the sun in open spaces, otherwise known as paths!

Flat tyres are common when
driving on gravel roads
5) Driving: Distances are long and the roads are poor. Make sure you would feel confident changing a tyre, because flat tyres are common on gravel roads and there may be no phone signal and no passing cars. The leading cause of road-deaths in Namibia is a collision with a large animal such as kudu, normally whilst driving at night. Be prepared to sleep in the car if you break down or get caught out after sunset.