Durban - A young couple from Pietermaritzburg have sold their belongings and embarked on an adventure of a lifetime backpacking through Africa using public transport.
The couple Lance Deetlefs, 26, who is a plumber, and his wife Skyler, 24, who is an occupational therapist, got married last July.
They said they have both always been passionate about travel experiences and learning about new cultures.
Speaking to The Mercury, Lance Deetlefs said this passion has reignited after their first backpacking trip together around Thailand and Cambodia in 2019.
Deetlefs said they are in the process of moving to Ireland for work, but got tired with the “rat-race” in the meantime and decided that they needed a break.
“Because the paperwork takes a few months, we thought why not sell everything and travel while we wait. So we made the decision in October 2022, and without much planning, we set off on the best adventure of our lives in February 2023,” he said.
Deetlefs said they cannot afford international travel insurance until August 2023, which left them with seven months to explore Africa.
“We are currently backpacking through Africa using public transport to get us from the south (South Africa) to the north (Egypt) of Africa,” he said.
The couple’s three main goals are to travel from South to North of Africa; try out every mode of transport in Africa and to indulge in all the cultural experiences and embrace every part of each country they visit.
To date, the Deetlefs’ have reached Tanzania and will soon move on to Kenya. Other countries visited include Zimbabwe, Botswana, Zambia and Malawi.
Deetlefs said the modes of transport which they have used include: minibuses, smaller buses and big coach buses, motorbike taxis, a ferry/ship, train, local dugout boats, local dhow sailboats, and tuk-tuks.
The couple said while they were initially nervous and feared the unknown, they soon came to completely embrace it and find excitement in not knowing what was to come next.
Deetlefs said a common trait of the people from all the countries they have visited, is their kindness. He said the people are welcoming and always willing to help.
“Fellow travellers have also been so lovely to meet and we have made many lifelong connections from across the globe that we look forward to maintaining,” he said.
Deetlefs said in terms of their favourite countries, they would revisit Malawi.
“We thoroughly enjoyed our time there, the people were so friendly and we would like to visit the mountains that we didn't get to this time,” he said.