So after my very filling breakfast, I walked around the Durban waterfront comparing it in my head to old photographs from when we were small.
It hadnt changed that much..still had the kiddies pools and cable car. the sea was heaving with swimmers,
but I felt that I needed to get out of the city before I would swim in the WARM sea. (Cape Towns waters are freezing). So I headed via the coastal road.
We used to come to Amanzimtoti, which is now considered a suburb of Durban, in our holidays in our youth. It hadnt changed very much..just smartened up a bit. Then went on to Scottborough camp site,
where we spent some summers camping in a canvas tent until my mother complained that she was not getting a holiday. After that we stayed at holiday flats and cheap hotels.
The campsite at Scottborough was EXACTLY the same as 40 years ago..next to the railway and right on the beach.
The sand is quite different to cape Town. Yellow and grainy.
So I set up my flimsy tent that I had bought in England and never used and shlepped back to SA. I was going to have a early night for the first time in 4 days. Well the weather decided differently. After a wonderful day, a storm came up and almost blew my tent away. So I had to get up in the middle of the night to lift some heavy rocks to anchor it. After that I had a decent-ish night.
I was up early to get on the road as I had to be back in CT at a certain time. I decided to go a slightly different way, but still short cutting through the Karoo. Luckily the weather was overcast, as it can get very hot. there were beautiful views over the cane fields and the rolling hills of the Transkei. A bit more populated but still rural.
I was pacing myself and tried to take photos from my car rather than stop..a dangerous thing to do.
As I was going through the Transkei, just outside the Capital city, there were roadworks again. This time they had speed bumps..bad ones that you couldnt see and you could not go faster than 40m an hour over. I can understand why they had speed bumps, as this is the road that the taxis take to go to and from Cape Town and there it is always a race..nothing else would have slowed them down. Well we went for miles this way…it was too late to turn back and find another route. Transkei was very pretty..houses on every hill, just like the Cotswolds in England. (see if you can guess which is which). Transkei is like I imagine England to have been long ago when they lived in Rondawels always perched on top of a hill..thats why the roads are so twisty.
You could see that development was happening, as the roofs were made of iron rather than thatch and walls made brick rather than clay and often was square rather than round and even double story. At least couple of family members work in big cities and support their families in the Transkei. There are few work opportunities here. Mostly the inhabitants are grandparents and children.
A little while later we came to more stop and goes. It was quite funny because every time we stopped, the doors of the many taxis would open up on all sides and all the men would hasten to the bush to pee. I wondered about the women.
I went through the mountain Zebra national park and saw what looked like albino springbokke. I had to stop because it was so unusual. Not a good photo you can just see the white buck running away. When I googled it, I found that there are 4 colour phases of Springbok. The white was not albino, and you could get black and copper colour,. (The website gave me the grillies, though because of how they wrote about them. (It was a hunting website)..as trophies to collect. “Besides the Common Springbok, there are three color phases that have become popular to collect. They are black, white and copper springbok. It is a fun and challenging quest that makes a colorful quartet in any trophy room when mounted together.” I live in a different world it seems.
I was not going to travel too late to find a place to stay, so as night fell I entered Graaff- Reinet and passed a small reserve. Although it had a sign saying it was open, it was closed but a kind guard took my details and gave me the key to a very fancy tented camp. He didnt know how much it would cost me, and at this stage I didnt care. He couldnt take money so I said I would pay in the morning. He gave me the gate code and I had a wonderful luxurious night..outdoor showers and toilets..but so tastefully done. I had no food with me, but the self catering facilities were top class.
I managed to do some walking around and although the camp was full, it didnt feel like it. I took this photo from the deck overlooking a dam..looks like a ghost also got in on it.
In the morning, it was so cold (after a hot day) that there was ice on my windscreen.
I had to be on the road early as I had to be in Cape Town by 4pm. Luckily I heard people arriving to open the gate..but the office was still closed and another gate stopped me from going further. I couldnt afford to waste an hour, so I wrote a note with my details, left the keys and ..having the gate code of the entrance (not the exit), I opened the entrance gate from the other side and left. I expected to hear from them and still wondered what they were going to charge, but have never. So thank you for that free night. I will come back some day as I would have liked to spend longer there.
So, I considered visiting my friend Diana who has a farm in Ladismith, but was running out of time. I will go another time. I stopped in at my sister for some tea. She was very ill with presumably a dose of flu that had come on very suddenly, but she covered it well. Only later she told me that she almost died as its seems she had actually an extreme allergic reaction to something and had to call the ambulance for oxygen as she couldnt breathe. She thinks it is the sprays that drift across the wheat fields. I worry about her being alone in RSE. But she is quite sensible, I think, and has since recovered.
So, hot and sweaty I arrived in Cape Town. I still had to go home, gather my clothes, go to deliver my car in town (50km away) as my sons girlfriend, Pia, was borrowing it, had supper out in Obs, spilt a milk bottle in my handbag, then went back with my son to the house I was sitting before I could have a radox bath and crash again at midnight. I think I was crazy to drive up and down so far in such a short time..but what the heck, I got to see a good cross section of the country in a short time.