They say that your childhood plays a big role in shaping who you are...
This is certainly true of Bush Happy Overlanding owner, Stewart Mutch. From a young age, the African bush stirred a desire in his heart to know more of her mysteries. Growing up in Zimbabwe, areas like Kariba and the Matopas became his stomping grounds, and as days spent exploring, turned into years of learning about the wild and the amazing fauna and flora, the bush became home for Stewart.
Later, he completed his high-school education in the Karoo, and the experience broadened his horizons and understanding of the vast beauty of Southern Africa's diverse ecosystems and landscapes.
It was this deep love of nature, and specifically the bush that brought Stewart full-circle after a career that included qualification as a fitter and turner, and later an EMT/ Firefighter, and eventually, a professional oil field diver. By all accounts, fulfilling adventures, but nothing compared to the life-long love of the bush, and the hunger to return, and to share the joy and freedom of an intimate immersion in the landscape, culture, and history of nature with others.
In Stewart's own words, the final catalyst that brought about the realisation of a lifelong dream happened unexpectedly - "I had a unique experience helping a mate out at a backpackers close to Kruger National Park."
"The experience showed me that my knowledge of the African bush was not only interesting to, but also useful to others visiting Africa. I realised that my love of doing overlanding trips into some of the most beautiful remote areas of Southern Africa, was something that others would love to participate in, given the means and the opportunity."
Based out of Johannesburg in Gauteng, South Africa, Bush Happy Overlanding's central location lends itself to accessing most adventures with ease. Stewart says planning a one week trip takes far longer to plan than the actual duration of the trip!
But, sharing the experience with others makes it far more rewarding, and seeing others experience the thrill of discovering everything he loves about Africa never gets old.
So what are the advantages of going on an overlanding adventure with Stewart and the Bush Happy Overlanding team? Experience for one thing. Going off the beaten track can be daunting for people who haven't done it before or who lack the skills and knowledge.
That aside, Bush Happy trips are carefully planned to not only maximise the thrill of the ride and exposure to everything each destination has to offer, but also to make the trip as affordable as possible for the average person who has an adventurous spirit.
Stewart has also made provision for a 'ride along' opportunity in one of the team vehicles for enthusiasts who don't have their own 4 x 4, which makes the experience accessible to almost everyone!
So who can participate? Well, we're glad you asked! Virtually anyone who is physically able, and has a love of the outdoors, nature and camping. Our adventures are not gender specific, although we do find that we generally have more men participating.
Sometimes the level of exertion on a trip excludes children, but for the most part, adventures are geared towards including children 12 years and older. This makes it possible for families to participate, and we often have couples enjoying the experience together too. If you have questions about inclusion, let us know.
Stewart likes discovering new places, and delving into the local history and urban legends. Not surprisingly, this takes him off the beaten track and usual tourist routes. The best mysteries and natural treasures await those who are willing to look, and in Stewart's experience, they are always worth the time and effort, and he hopes to inspire others to find their own passion for overlanding and the great outdoors.