My African Abodes *Video*
I’ve been in Africa for nearly 3 months now and am having quite the adventure! Even settling in for the night is a unique experience. Here’re 3 distinctly African abodes:
African Bush Tent
I was living in a tent for more than a month. They were nice tents, but a tent just the same. For three weeks, I was in a standard, 2-person rain-resistant tent with sturdy zips, but then I upgraded to a proper African safari tent.
While still the same army green color, this deluxe version was based on a concrete slab, had an electric light, 2 cots (I’m off the floor!), and was tall enough for me to stand up in = true luxury! I even had a chair out front to perch in and peer at the monkeys.
My tent was located in Livingstone, Zambia at a campsite / hotel called the Waterfront. It was a lovely spot on the Zambezi River with two pools and an outside deck in which to watch the glowing sunsets. I stayed 10 days there – the longest I’ve been anywhere. High praise indeed!
Kalahari Tsitsi Huts
Like most houses in Africa, the tsitsi huts favored in the Kalahari are round and made of reeds. There’re a few theories on why many African houses are round in shape, including:
- Snakes search for corners, therefore a snakes will leave a round house if they can’t find a place to hide
- Bad spirits live in corners and so round houses serve as good feng shui
- Round houses are more wind-resistant and easier to heat
These particular tsitsi huts in Botswana had two cots inside, but a door that wouldn’t quite close. This haphazard construction gave way to debate about the disadvantages of sleeping in a tsitsi hut where you might be more prone to snakes and spiders during the night. (A tent at least you can zip up to keep out the creepy crawlies.) About half of us elected to keep to the tents.
South African Rondavels
A traditional rondavel, meaning “round house” in Afrikaans, is seen throughout southern Africa. In the Drakensberg Mountains, the rondavels are decorated on the outside walls with colorful drawings of local plants and animals.
Considered a sacred place for ancestors, rondavels are usually built first on a new housing site and exist next to newer square residences. So each new housing unit – both in rural and urban areas — will have at least 3-4 structures: a round house, a square house, an outhouse, and a pen for livestock.
Here’s a tour of my rondavel at Sani Lodge at the base of the Drakensberg. I liked it a lot here and ended up staying 5 nights.
Can’t see the video? Clink on this link: Erin’s Rondavel
One of the great things about Africa is it’s so diverse. Even simple domiciles have distinction. Can’t wait to see what I discover as I head up the coast of Mozambique tomorrow and then inland to East Africa. At the very least, I’m sure to have a new sleeping experience!
This entry was posted on Saturday, October 8th, 2011 and is filed under Home.