Accompanied by his seventies kombi, coffee, solar and an online audience – Etienne Swanepoel has every excuse to rediscover South Africa and excite us to do the same.

Living an out of the box lifestyle in your 1975 kombi can be a full time job. We caught up with the Content Creator and Travel Blogger Etienne Swanepoel on route to Clarens to find out all about his approach to stumbling upon out of the way gems and bringing them to the world.

“We’ve just stopped at my favourite camping spot in South Africa. Di Bus Stop in Clarens which is on the way to The Golden Gate,” shares Et.

Di Bus Stop is the ideal place to stop when in need of a good bite to eat and coffee – a great coffee and meal goes a long way on a road trip. We were welcomed by Loezytha Maritz, Owner of Di Bus Stop, who shares a little more insight. “Di Bus Stop is definitely a very popular campsite because of its location and being at the entrance of The Golden Gate – which is very beautiful with stunning views of the Drakensberg and Maluti Mountains. We are very central and a short trip from Bloemfontein, Durban and Gauteng so it’s the perfect place to camp and get out of the city life.”

It’s getting dark so Et quickly gets started on a fire and then sets up Dirkie for the night. The setup takes a mere 5 minutes before he pulls out the awning and unfolds the camping chair to relax and savour the sounds of nature and his fire. 

He explains the allure of such a trip, “I’m from the big city of Joburg so I come to Clarens to relax and enjoy the quiet of the camps in these mountains.”     

A bed at the office is the mark of poor work-life balance but for this B. Com marketing graduate it allows him to eat and sleep his subject while living a road-tripper’s dream.

“I’ve decorated the Kombi to be home away from home. I have a big comfy bed with storage units underneath. A fully operational kitchen where I can cook anything. I’ve also added a desk that can serve as a working space on the roads. Kombi life is self sustainable for me because I have solar power and that provides me with power to run a fridge.” 

It was an adventurous weekend that included a spiritual Pilgrims Trail to find the Living Waters waterfall, and quad biking and white water River rafting with Clarens Xtreme – providing the ultimate adrenaline rush and a new perspective of the area.

Ex-cop turned Rastafarian Oliver Esplin runs the white-water adventures in the area, which is yet another unconventional career choice..

“Clarens is known for white river rafting because we’ve got the only river in the country that has sufficient water all year round. This water is coming from Lesotho through the Katse system so we have rapids and rafting every day of the year – making it worthwhile to come and visit,” shares Oliver.

Etienne is also a photographer who’s keen on capturing the landscape. “I enjoy doing landscape photography of South Africa because our country gives us so much. We have some of the most beautiful rivers, beaches and mountains and sometimes we even have snow.”

“It’s lekker for me to see so much in just one country. Others travel overseas to see these things, while we have it all in our own country,” he adds..  

From our encounter with the blogger it’s clear that five star hotels can’t hold a candle to braaid pizza enjoyed under African skies for Etienne. And come morning, you’ll find him back in the saddle, riding out to his next adventure.

Lekker bly Dirkie, and thank you Et for showing us how outdoor living can be such a jol.

Drive down memory lane with Di Bus Stop in Clarens where food and good coffee goes a long way. For bookings email bergwoning@gmail.com or call 071 830 9998.

Adventure in Clarens with ClarensXtreme for the thrill of a lifetime. For bookings call 058 256 1260.