South Africa, part 2
We experienced so much in South Africa. It is so much bigger than I thought. When I planned this trip and then suggested we drive from Jberg to Cape Town by way of Durbin, I was thinking about a three-day journey with lots of time to explore. It took us five days, a car accident, and a good many miles on the odometer. To do it again…who can say. So like I’ve done in other blogs, I picked the images that are cool and let that narrate the rest of the blog.
Johannesburg has a reputation that doesn’t lend itself to tourists strolling the streets of downtown. There was the recent car jacking death of reggae legend Lucky Dube, it is the home of a good portion of Africa’s mercenary activity, and the razor wire/ten foot wall/electric fence aesthetic all working to give the place a really bad name.
We left Joberg without really seeing it. David’s tummy and recovery from India to blame. We contemplated going to Krueger Nat’l Park and then to Cape Town but decided instead on seeing the Drakensburg region and the south coast.
(I’m not sure I’d be able to get my animals to hold still while I tied them up. But if you look closely, you’ll see there is no room in the back for them…)
It was easy to drive there even if it’s on the wrong side of the road. By that time I has been driven on the right in Australia, Singapore, Bali and India and rented a car to drive all over New Zealand. We got pretty good at the wrong side driving, if not for the roads…
Here’s what happened:
We were on this stretch of Highway in the middle of nowhere. All you see is Acacia scrub with these wicked long thorns, sky and sun.
The roads are in mediocre condition but this stretch pictured above had a nasty shoulder with a six-inch drop in places. Across from where we landed where three crosses where someone else wasn’t as fortunate. The roadsides were littered with auto parts from lots of prior accidents. Not a nice part of the highway. So David is driving and veers off the road (as ya do), we think the tires blew trying to get back onto the road, he lost control of the steering and ended up driving on the embankment for a while thru said acacia and then we hit a ditch barely missing the huge rock! Neither the front nor the side airbags went off, despite the fact that the car ended up on it’s side with David crumpled up on his door which is now the floor…
Thankfully we were both okay, shook but alright. The police were there within 10 minutes and then stayed with us in the blazing African Sun until the rental car company finally showed up three hours after they said they would. We stood out in that sun for 3 1/2 hours; we were cooked lobsters by the time they showed. Thankfully we had a bottle of water that survived the crash. But it only gets better, the rental car place that brought us this new car towed it the wrong direction and screwed up the transmission. So we had a nice new car that didn’t move. At least we were able to get out of the sun and into air-conditioning. We spent a 6 hours waiting to be back on the road. oh well, at least we were in one piece.
As it turns out, we were only ten minutes from a great little diner, where we got some great “Mom” energy. Thea Swart (pictured with her husband Hendrik) gave us some of the best fish and chips I’ve ever eaten and then told us all the cool places we needed to see between Port Elizabeth and Cape Town. Thanks for all the TLC!
Here are some of the Highlights from our trip to Cape Town:
Kidd’s Beach in the early morning before breakfast. One of our great beach walks.
This is the Stormriver Gorge. Vertigo and way cool. We spent the night at Stormriver and got up early the next morning and when for a 7Km hike on boulders to a falls at the Tsitsikamma Nat’l Park.
hiking on the boulders. We were sore the next day. Notice the orange on orange?
This is a rock dassie or Hyrax. The dassie is the African elephant’s closest living relative, in spite of the size difference. This close evolutionary relationship is deduced from similarities in the structure of the feet and teeth.
Big grasshopper huh?
This is at the end of Africa. Cape Agulhas is the southern most point in Africa. There’s a sign that says one side Indian Ocean and the other side Atlantic Ocean…both look the same…
again we miscalculated to vastness of the country. Many hours diving through country like this.
Finally we got to Cape Town: a great city and we had the best tour guides while there.
Christel and her girlfriend Corne were great to us, taking us all over and entertaining and feeding us. They even let us get our dog fix.
This is choppie. He’s great and we fell in love.
Cape Town is an amazing city that I’m sure we’ll visit again. Table Mountain is a treasure and eye popping experience not to be missed!
We also saw some amazing coastline and natural sites while in Cape Town:
The African Penguin
A basking whale
We were sad to say goodbye to Cape Town but Kenya was calling us…