Before travelling long distances, have a mechanic check your car - especially tyres and brakes. Check your tyres before the journey - when cool. Remember to pump higher bars for greater load and greater speed.
Plan your route carefully. Include all stops. Remember, little ones need a bathroom break every couple of hours, and everyone appreciates a leg-stretch. It is also important so that you don’t run out of petrol.
Pack lots of entertainment for the kids, and plan games you can play together in the car. Think of educational ones, like telling the history of the places you are passing through, or something of ecological or geological interest. Also pack car chargers for games, phones etc. Pack a few CDs - story ones, as well as music.
In South Africa only: keep your headlights on - even in the daytime. It increases visibility. (In other countries, you can be fined for doing so.)
If you are driving in the dark, and someone’s headlights blind you, l0ok at the left-hand side of the road and squint your eyes. This is only for countries where you drive on the left hand side of the road. Otherwise, you would look at the right side/kerb.
When driving on dirt roads, pump your tyres down a bit. It gives for firmer handling.
In rain, drive significantly slower. Even if your car can handle higher speeds, you may cause accidents by driving too fast. Besides which, you cannot slow down as quickly in the rain, and your car may aquaplane.
Drive as if everyone else on the road is a complete maniac, about to do something crazy!!
Look at the wheels of the car in front of you - they will tell you what the car is going to do before anything else.
Take frequent rest-stops. It is recommended that you stop every 2 hours. Make sure that you don’t travel more than 14 hours per day (swapping drivers every 2 hours). Rather take a break in a place you would love to explore.
Travel on off-peak days. Besides traffic being more manageable, accidents are also fewer, and the roads are safer.
Avoid traffic by starting very early in the morning. Travel overnight in a rural area can be dangerous, as there may be heavy animals crossing the road. If hit, they can cause much more damage to the car and its occupants than to the animal.
When driving on dirt roads, drive slowly until used to the area. Then travel sightly faster, but not as fast as you would on tar roads.
Plan for emergencies. You need a fire-extinguisher, jack, spanner, emergency triangle, and torch. Your insurance/roadside assist number should be on your phone and your side windows.
Last, but certainly not least, enjoy yourself! The journey is part of the holiday after all.
That’s all. Anything you have to add, please comment below.
Starry Starry Night.
Have you ever seen the velvety sky at night blanketed by starry diamonds? Well, Refresh Holidays travelled to Vredefort Dome to a little Nature Reserve near Parys, where all you could see were stars at night.
As you know, Parys is on the Vaal River and is a little town redolent with antique shops art galleries and culinary delights.
We were staying at Morala Nature Reserve which hosts Impala, Nyala and zebra - apart from the ubiquitous warthogs and baboons. We enjoyed walking amongst the animals in the cool of the day - although the zebra were a little skittish. It is very rare that we get to be so close to wild animals in real life.
We had some Bible engagement with activities and people claimed to feel refreshed by it. We read through the Gospel of John, and did a few things to symbolise what we were reading like foot washing and lighting candles.
People enjoyed it so much that they decided to ask for a mystery tour, and so we are going to have a mystery tour later on in the year. (Do look out for the amazing deal.)
The mere name of the Garden Route conjures up visions akin to heaven. Although I have obviously never been to heaven, I certainly can't imagine anything more lovely.
Our holidays there were extraordinary. Not only was the scenery breath-taking, but the food was scintillating, the accommodation glorious, and the company fantastic. It was certainly difficult to resist temptation where the food was concerned, and the puddings were just as delightful to the eye.
We stayed at Carmel Guestfarm, and enjoyed the large ground with stunning views, the free walks, and the quiet restfulness of the place. We travelled to Wilderness, walking along the railway-line, and found many snippets of interest along the way. We also visited Knysna and the Heads, and discovered just how magical a place can be - with the see-through green waters enticing our vision. .
A strawberry-farm was next on our route, and both the maze and the picking of strawberries was a favourite with all. The Map of Africa and many sea-views were an 'all-you-can-eat' treat for the eyes, and we came away much refreshed.
In the evenings, we listened to Mahaltse Mashua talking about how we can bring hope to South Africa by being different in our interaction with other cultures. We also explored answers on how to engage with the movie 'The Shack', and other apologetics topics. It was incredibly enriching and informative.
We came away really thankful to God, and reconnected with our world.