Our plan was to buy a nice big burly car to road trip Africa. We spent about a week running around Cape Town chasing that dream, so now we are experts on the matter. The following is a step-by-step guide to help you, should you ever choose to buy a car in the Mother City.
Step 1: Spend a few days getting drunk. Why? Because you can’t just waltz into a place like Cape Town and buy a car without first drinking a few cold ones with the people. Long Street and Kloof Street both run through the top of town towards Table Mountain. Together they contain the cultural crevasse you are looking for. Try the balcony at Yours Truly or up the road at Power and Glory first. Buy a few bottles of wine. Introduce yourself to some lovely local women, of which there is an abundance. Get something to eat at Rick’s Café Americain, Kyoto Sushi, NY Slice Pizza or The Sorrows. Remember, the place is heavily influenced by Europe so partying tends to happen late and long. When it gets late, head to Harrington’s, Asoka, The Shack, Hank’s, Love Thy Neighbour, Modular, The Orphanage or anywhere you walk by that has a crowd. Take your time, do it right.
Step 2: Now that you are nursing a good and proper hangover, you are ready to start looking for a vehicle. Your best bet is to lie in bed and scroll through Facebook Marketplace and Gumtree for hours on end. Open a million tabs. Message a few people. Enquire thoroughly. This thing has to survive months of potholed roads, long distances, dirt tracks, attacks from lions and hijack attempts. For some reason many of the cars we looked at had had their original engines replaced with something shit. Get a few trusty steeds in your sights.
Step 3: Go against just about everyone’s advice and meet strangers in the middle of nowhere to look at their cars. Between us we can’t do much more than change a tyre and check the oil, so we lifted the hood and intently whispered nonsense to each other. Don’t let the car owner clue on to the fact that you are mechanically hopeless. Take her for a drive. Don’t stall.
Step 4: After a sustained effort you still haven’t found the right car. Repeat step 1 until your inspiration is topped up.
Step 5: In Parow there is a long straight road called Voortrekker Road (R102). Start at Pick ‘n Pay and walk west. There are over 50 used car dealerships here. Spend three to four hours walking into all of them in the heat of the day. The salespeople mostly ignore you so the whole experience is almost pleasant.
Step 6: When all hope seems lost and you haven’t got enough money to buy a decent car, call my friend Johan Evert. We found ourselves ready to call it quits on the whole trip when Johan pulled us out of the muck. He agreed to drive down from his family home in his Land Rover Freelander 2, pick us up, and take us wherever the hell we wanted to go. In essence, we got ourselves a third member of the party and a private tour guide. After some back-and-forth and some wildly inaccurate calculations we worked out a price that was roughly the same amount we had set aside for a car. Only with Johan we had the added bonus of extensive expertise and all the gear we could possibly need for camping. If you need him, look up ‘Your Friend in South Africa‘.
Now one way or another, you are ready to start your journey. Best practice is to buy yourself a road map, burn it and dance around the fire until you see your next destination in the dregs of your last bottle of Black Label.
Until next time,