How does a Bluerhino tour work?
Here is a video explaining it. Or scroll down for the written version.
Firstly the basic question; Why must we travel with a professional tour guide?
The question that has many different answers and varies based on how brave you are. But here are some good reasons
- Back up. There are a group of people with resources as in tools and fridges and water etc.
- Safety. Strength in numbers. Do I need to say more?
- Professional guide. Knows the area, what to see and what to skip. Best campsites and procedures.
- Little planning. Let the tour operator do the hard work.
- Learn stuff. It is not just me as the guide telling stories, but you can also learn from other guests.
How does the tour work?
Bookings: As a tour operator, I do all the bookings.
What is included? Generally, Your Bluerhino fees, park entry fees, camping or accommodation is all included.
What extra costs are there? Your fuel, food and border crossings would generally be the only extra costs.
What must you bring along? It depends on the tour, but a typical camping tour you need your camping kit and your food.
The vehicle? You need a 4×4 in most cases, if it is not a mainstream 4×4 just ask me about the capabilities. I always try to take guests out with what they have rather than insist for them to get something else.
4×4 Equipment? No special equipment necessary, I bring recovery equipment.
No experience required. I am a 4×4 instructor and I personally guide the tour. I will give you everything you need as we go. I do not try to do 4×4 driving to avoid risk, however from time to time we have sand and a pass or two.
Towing is generally fine, but check in with me if you are towing. I will make you aware of the conditions and risks.
There is 220V power available from time to time, but about half of the time we are at our own devices. You do not need the best fridges and batteries and solar to do a tour. Most tours can be done with a cooler box and a braai.
A typical day
Early morning on tour.
The early morning sounds are always good in Africa. Combine the sounds with a cup of coffee and a rusk and you have a winner.
I would normally get up around 6am. Everybody is responsible for themselves so you need to get your own timing right for what you still need to do.
This depends on what you are having and what time our departure is. I try, on an early morning, to leave 2 hours after sunrise, about 8am. On short days we will stretch this and leave later to accommodate full breakfasts.
I am very firm on timekeeping. I believe in respecting others that got up earlier to be ready. So we try to stick to this mantra and not be late.
During the day.
Typically I would travel for about 2 hours before stopping for coffee. I will boil a kettle and you can get hot water from me. We take a rest and enjoy a coffee or breakfast for about 20-30 mins.
The second stop would normally be around 1pm for lunch and again I would boil a kettle for coffee. Lunch about 45 mins.
Next stop would normally be camp but it depends on the day, we might have an afternoon coffee stop as well.
I provide each vehicle with a two way radio. This is for safety and also for me to tell stories as we go.
Arrive in camp.
Once in camp I would set up the lighting for the camp for the night, make a fire or light a braai fire for those that want to braai. I supply all the wood and charcoal.
I have fire tripods and a fire spade, you just need to bring your own grid.
Around the fire.
I have a few hobbies and extra mural activities and I am happy to share some of my passions. So we have had: Beer brewing discussions, distilling discussions with a tasting. Bees, Aquaponics, grey water systems solar systems, 4×4 recovery demonstrations or whatever you feel like talking about.