Overlanding evolved from ex-Army trucks, and family trips demand military discipline to avoid unravelling in a mess of kit and recrimination.Every piece of equipment has its place beneath the belly of the truck, and everyone has a designated task, Lunch would have lent itself to being filmed on a time-lapse camera: truck pulls into shady grove, everyone piles out, tables and chairs unfold from two to three dimensions, salads appear from nowhere, a kettle whistles in the wind, washed-up plates are waved in a crazy semaphore to dry them, everything is safely stowed and the truck disappears leaving only tyre tracks.And more: no sooner had we arrived than Mat handed us 0 because the holiday included a visit to Victoria Falls National Park, admission fee per person. Earth is represented by ancient rock gleaming like new; wind by the natural aerosol that attenuates the afternoon sun; fire in the dazzle of colour refracting from the mist; while water plummets from a plateau to carve a course to the Indian Ocean.
We booked the trip at a travel show, at a discount, for £1,211 each.
That works out at £64 a day for all travel, accommodation and meals.
On this side of the barrier, evolution has seen to it that a hundred humans can line up to watch, their jaws dropping and cameras clicking in unison.
To seal the moment, I conveniently happen to have a drink in my hand – not primordial soup but ice-cold Namib lager.
Mat, Ellen's husband, is a wiry Englishman possessed of the ability to drive flawlessly all day through MMBA ("miles and miles of bloody Africa") with a sense of humour.
And the most popular person on the trip by an African mile: Denford, the Zimbabwean cook, who could concoct extraordinarily tasty and nourishing meals in the most challenging circumstances, in the culinary equivalent of alchemy.
From such moments are the best travel memories etched. To jog the memory banks as the Northern midwinter approaches, I am looking at a 2015 calendar. Only five copies are in existence: one for each of the families on an African adventure that was a three-week interlude in our own evolutionary journeys, yet which sometimes seemed to be lasting forever.
Rural Africa, if I am not mistaken, is about three things: animals, landscapes and people.
On a camp site in the middle of Victoria Falls (the township, not the impressive water feature) Charlotte, Daisy, Poppy and I met our fellow adventurers.