Niamh Sacramento and her husband, Giles, quit their jobs and packed up their beachside flat in order to embark on an adventure driving around southern Africa in an old Toyota Hilux. We will be publishing extracts and photographs from Niamh’s blog to include tales from their incredible trip
My first ever flight, indeed my first trip outside of my native Ireland, was to South Africa. At only 14 years old, I was wildly excited at the idea of travelling anywhere at all and had high expectations – southern Africa did not disappoint! Later on in life, I spent some months living in Zambia and Uganda, briefly visiting Malawi, Rwanda and Ethiopia.
Giles and I moved to Port Elizabeth, South Africa in October 2013 and we started work as doctors in the local public hospital. This opportunity gave us an insight into a side of South Africa that is rarely encountered by tourists, as we were able to integrate with the general public and experience life from the viewpoint of the locals. We were hugely impressed by our South African colleagues’ valiant efforts in the face of extreme deprivation and limited resources.
Giles promptly fell deeply in love with the country and even proposed to me on a beach in the beautiful and wild Eastern Cape. So enamoured were we with South Africa, we deliberated about marrying there but eventually decided to marry in my hometown in Ireland, returning to the country after the ceremony. This milestone in our lives was the perfect opportunity to explore southern Africa, so we decided to grab it greedily with both hands and be ambitious with our plans!
Almost immediately, we bought an old Toyota Hilux, handed our notice in at work, left our beachside flat, said goodbye to our wonderful friends and headed off into the sunset. Well, that’s what I naively envisioned. Actually, it took some time, know-how and money to prepare our vehicle. Luckily, time was on our side, as well as my new husband’s ability to tackle any task correctly, thoroughly and patiently, even when I am whining, “Is it ready yet?” Together with the friendly and helpful nature of people in Port Elizabeth, this meant we were on the road by mid-September 2015.
We planned to explore Mozambique, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, Swaziland, Lesotho and, of course, South Africa. Our adventure had begun….