Published: March 6th 2007January 14th 2007
A dodgy-looking trailer offering Scuba trips in sedgefield
Our teaching course is done, and while we wait for our visas and work permits to be approved we decided to spend some time enjoying the beautiful country we're about to leave. And what better way than a road trip. So we packed Sandy (my 200 000km old Honda Ballade) with a tent, dive gear, 5 Stellenbosch students and food and our clothing for 12 days. Then we set off along the N2 from Cape Town up the South African coast.
On Wed 10th January Jeanne-Mari, Yvette and myself (Darrell) squished our unreasonable amount or stuff into the boot and left the Cape to pick up Andries and George in Stilbaai. The two guys then added their contribution to the impossibly full boot and climbed in, pushing the shocks even closer to their maximum. By the time we had reached Sedgefield, we were on the lookout for a campsite to crash for the night. The bank of a beautiful lagoon next to the sea gave us enough flat space to pitch a tent and make a fire.
The next morning we got an early start back on the road. Our next section of the coast took us through the
The sunset view from our open-plan kitchen/lounge/dining-room
beautiful Tsitsikamma forest. We stopped off for a morning swim at the beautiful Nature's Valley beach and then again at Knysna to walk to the out along the Knysna Heads to see the waves crashing against the cliffs below us.
By the time the sun was setting, we had already driven through several coastal towns and had no luck in finding accommodation for a decent price. Just as we were starting to feel tired and hungry, we found a campsite manager who was willing to negotiate her prices. We ender up camping at "The Island", a stretch of land surrounded on both sides by rivers in Port Alfred.
After early morning coffee we packed up the tent and gear again, something we were getting good at by now and headed off into the Transkei. A few hours into the drive we decided that we would make the 160km detour off the highway to Hole-in-the-Wall, one of the incredible sights of the South African coastline which so many people have seen in photos, but so few have seen for themselves.
Little did we realise that the as soon as we turned off the highway, the Transkei "roads" were
Sure.. everything fits into the boot.
little more than a line of potholes. The last 20km of dirt road took us 1hr45min to navigate in our poor overloaded Honda. But at the end of a hot and dusty road a paradise was waiting for us! A lost set of keys to the campsite toilets, some great sweet-talking by the girls and a heap of divine favour meant that we ended up paying campsite rates to stay in a fully furnished chalet, complete with 3 en-suite bathrooms and out own stoep with braai area. This was almost unbelievable for us who haven't seen clean towels or even chairs
for several days.
Despite our luxurious accommodation, we got up at 6am to catch the sun rising over the beautiful seaside, with plans to cook crayfish on an open fire at the beach. It turned out that the local fishermen were out of luck, so instead we used our fire to make a cup of black coffee and feasted on all the rest of our food supplies... a bag of mixed nuts! After our morning swim we took to the potholed "road" again, stopping at stalls along the road to pick up some local bread to appease our
Escaping the summer sun for a few minutes in a walk-in fridge
The next stretch of highway took us out of the Eastern Cape and into the sugar cane hills of Kwa-Zulu Natal. By the time we were ready to pitch our tent, we found ourselves in Scottburgh, where in spite of the hugely full campsite we managed to get a site right beside the rocky coast. A local dinner of fish and chips put us all in the mood to sit around watching the sunset light up the waves and talking nonsense.
By 7am on Sunday we were already so hot and sticky from the humid weather that we decided to admit defeat, take a cold shower and pack up. We drove the short stretch to Durbs where Yvette was getting off, and Willie taking up the empty place.
Unfortunately we could only give our late arrival a lift as far as Richards bay, because we had already arranged to collect Cathy from the airport. Willie was unfazed by this and hopped out alongside the highway to begin hitchhiking. The rest of us collected Cathy and stopped in Richards bay to refresh our food supplies. The heat was so overpowering, that we had to drive
Early morning in Port Alfred
art 80km/h without the aircon for the rest or the trip to keep the car from overheating. As a result, when we finally got to the Sodwana Bay National Park, Willie had found a nice shady spot by the gate to wait for us.
As we finally drove up to the resort we were met with the view of a cool blue swimming pool ringed by a shady wooden deck with lazy-boy chairs. It was what the doctor ordered for the 2600km of adventure and roughing it over the past 5 days!
There are more photos below