Published: May 8th 2012May 8th 2012
Heading from Kimberly we had one plan for the day which was to get past Johannesburg before the sun was setting so we could easily find a nice place to pitch for the night. One big problem was that was out of our hands was the traffic and which made this day one which should have been a fairly relaxing day, turning into a day where we were thinking of sleeping in the car and ending up with the most random luck we have had since finishing hitching.
Things were going along smoothly until we just reached the outskirts of Johannesburg and all of a sudden we were in a traffic jam which was going know where fast. Suddenly we felt quite unsafe and we locked all the car doors and closed all the windows, and we were sitting like in a cage in evening’s heat since the radio in the background was updating the news about a girl who was raped in a township, Soweto close to Johannesburg. Some selling boys are going around the highway and trying to sell some small things – everything from food to key rings but we noticed that they have a great look
in every car and as we have heard many bad stories about this city so it didn’t make us feel calmer. It is amazing how your well-being decreasing with the stories from before. After crawling (we didn’t want to be driving around this city during the night time looking for a place to stay) through the city and finding our self back on the highway going at a good speed we also noticed the sun setting at a very good speed. People were rushing home after works, Johannesburg was under an amazing sunset and we were trying to get out of this area. The search for a camp site intensified greatly but nothing was coming our way and after a couple of hours and endless asking the locals for advice we were for some reason on some black and with potholes road pretty much hoping to find a hidden field to crash for the night. But the main concern was that we didn’t know in which township we were as it was pitch-black and we were just out of Johannesburg and we still could see the lights of this city in the distance. Turning down a dirt road and driving
for ten minutes we end up at a bed and breakfast, ring the bell and ask if we could pitch the tent for the night and next thing we know we are having tea and coffee and the lady gave us for free a luxury room for the night! After a while we realized that we are close to a big industry town and we were the first tourists who knocked unexpected on the door like this. Talk about a friendly lady but we are finding out in South Africa that the locals are so welcoming and it is becoming normal, ever since we were hitching in Namibia we have meet many friendly South Africans who will go right out of their way to drive or invite us into their homes. You have to just to go along with your intuition and try to trust people as the tourists are the main target for criminals. For this particular night, we cannot thank this amazing lady enough.
After a fantastic sleep and amazing big breakfast (which has been the best breakfast in eight months) we were up and heading into the mountains of the Drakensberg and heading to Blyde River
canyon. After our recent trip to Fish River canyon in Namibia we were looking forward to comparing the two but it is quite difficult as they are both totally different in most ways. Fish River is in the middle of a desert and very dry and Blyde River is in the mountains and clear blue water everywhere. For overall scenery Blyde River has many viewing places, several waterfalls that are easily accessible but this brings along plenty of tourists and compared to Fish River you are pretty much by yourself which is great.
Blyde River (on a nice day) does have some wonderful views and also Bourkle’s Luck pothols section which we had no idea even existed is a great little detour. What it is that over thousands of years the river flowing must have been at times pumping along and making whirl pools which dug out massive perfect round circles into the stones. And there are plenty of them in the little reserve and it looks really cool with the water running through them and popping out at another hole downstream.
It is a nice drive to Blyde River Canyon as you’ll be able to make stop
over to small tourists attractions. For example, the Pinnacle is a striking skyscraper rock with a beautiful surrounded. It was quite spooky to see it in the mist. As well God’s window meant to be a fantastic viewpoint but the mist was too thick to see something so we took a nice walk in the rainforest. Many waterfalls on the way and we visited Lisbon Falls which has been a nice detour and we did some stopovers along the road which is worth to have a look.
It is easy to spend a few days in this area doing some hikes and the many activities that are offered around the area but for us time was running out so we checked out what we could and headed towards Kruger for five full days of wild wildlife viewing.
There are more photos below