I'm the South African member of the list. My wife and I live in Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape Province, a small city on the south coast of South Africa, approximately halfway between Cape Town and Durban. Our two sons study at the university in Stellenbosch which is located in the winelands area of the Western Cape Province, near Cape Town.

As a family we have travelled extensively by road in South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Lesotho and Swaziland. My wife and I have travelled to Zambia, Malawi and Kenya and I have been to the Ivory Coast and Ghana. Outside Africa, my wife and I travelled in the USA for six weeks in 1993 (Florida, New Orleans, Phoenix, the major Californian cities, Seattle and surroundings, Charleston SC, Washington DC and New York). In 1996 the two of us travelled to England, Scotland, Belgium, The Netherlands, Vienna and Budapest. Last year we made a dream come true when we took our sons with us on a trip to Britain (England, Wales and Scotland) as well as Vienna and Prague. My wife and I are planning to visit Spain and Portugal for two weeks in September/October this year.

We are salaried, middle-income people and our travels have to be done on very limited budgets. Because of the distances, our overseas flight costs take up close to half of our budgets. Our currency also has an extremely unfavourable exchange rate with the US$, the pound, etc. This means that we have to find the cheapest possible accommodation. $100 a night for a hotel is beyond our reach, for example. In South Africa you could stay in the very top hotels for that. A good bed-and-breakfast in South Africa would cost the equivalent of $20 to $25. The nice restaurants we read about on the list, the wonderful shows and the visits to some museums, etc. are also mostly out of the question for us. But we don't mind sacrificing all the luxuries (also at home) for the chance to see the world, to meet people from other cultures and to broaden our horizons.

I look forward to reading all the interesting discussions on the new list. In my experience travelling brings out the best in people and especially their generosity and helpfullness.

My apologies for the long message. It will be the last long one.

Best wishes

Maans Kemp