Overlanding is not for sissies.
I’m sure you’ve heard that phrase before, and it’s true. As rewarding as an overlanding holiday can be, it’s also a lot of hard work and planning to get going, and there are numerous decisions that needs to be made and prep work that needs to be done. I’ve mentioned some of these in my post on planning an overlanding holiday and I touched on things to consider when it to comes to supplying power to your camp site and looking after your fuel requirements. The other very important factor is to map out your water requirements and how to store and transport your water during your holiday.
When we started out on our overlanding journey, we got together the bare minimum and basic items. We didn’t have an off-road trailer or caravan and all our camping gear was loaded on top of our trusted Fortuner. Let me say this, there is absolutely nothing wrong with doing it this way, and I know that for a lot of folks this is their preferred method of traveling and camping, as they don’t want the burden of towing a trailer or caravan. The main reason why we upgraded is that we’ve got kids that also needs to be accommodated and our load was just too top-heavy for our vehicle so we decided to start towing a trailer.
One of the big challenges we had to face was to transport water during our very first holidays to Botswana. We literally went out and bought these big 20lt water cans and a few 5lt bottles to supply drinking water. A good rule of thumb on how to calculate your water needs is to work on at least 15lt per person per day (during winter time) and 20lt per person per day during the summer months. This would include drinking water and water needed for cleaning and washing. So if you’re a family of four, and you’ll be in the CKGR for 4 days in the winter you’ll look at 4 people x 15lt x 4 days = 240lts of water. Off course you can ration this by cutting on water usage for cleaning etc. but this would be a good estimate to go by.
We then upgraded to a Venter Botswana off-road trailer and we installed a 100lt tank in the trailer, which cut down tremendously on the 20lt containers that we needed to take with us. We installed a tap on the trailer which were amazing to use after we had to make do with the heavy 20lt containers. Speaking off, one night in Mabua we got visit from the local hyena pack who ransacked our water supply while we were asleep. It’s during incidents like these that you realise how strong these animals are; one of the hyenas manage to carry the 20lt water container about 30mt away from our camp site. This is a container that was so heavy that I struggled to carry it from the trailer to the kitchen area so imagine the strength to be able to pick it up and carry it with your mouth….
Things are a lot different now that we’ve bought and modified a Jurgens Xcape off-road caravan. The Xcape has got a built in water tank with water taps on either side of the caravan, and a water pump to pump the water from the tank to the taps. We’ve also got a geyser fitted inside the caravan which can operate on both 220v and gas. This has been a game changer for us, having hot water on-tap right by our camp site. So far we haven’t used the outdoor shower that’s fitted on the Xcape but I’m sure when we get to the Kgalagadi or CKGR again, we’ll put it to the test.
There were one or two little things on the Xcape’s water system that we wanted to modify before our big #BotsNam2018 holiday coming up in June. First off we wanted to replace the manufacturer fitted water pump on the rig. The old water pump was so noisy that you could wake the dead when you opened the tap, and after our most recent camping weekend we decided it was time to do the upgrade. We fitted a Pentair SHURflo Trailking 12V water pump, which was super easy to do, and the difference is unbelievable. The pressure is so much better now, and it’s so quiet you don’t even know that you’ve got a water pump going.
The other modification we did was that we installed a run-off outlet on the side of the Xcape. The outlet is usually fitted underneath the caravan and you had to get on your back to open it, if you wanted to let the excess water from the tank. Now there are no more need to get dirty anymore, as the tap was fitted and it works like a charm. To add to our water preparations we’ll buy 5lt water bottles for drinking water, and few water purification tablets for just in case we need to drink or use water that’s less than stellar.
We’re really happy with our water system as it is at the moment, it’s convenient to use and very easy to maintain. One more modification that we’ll need to look at in the future is to fit a bigger water tank to the Xcape but that’s a job for when we get back from Namibia and Botswana…