Sani Top Sunrise
It was still below zero and I couldnt feel my fingers on the camera. I only managed a couple of quick pics.
Once again at the crack of dawn, and with Morgan in tow, we watched an amazing sunrise then set out with the intention of hiking and hitching to the town of Mokhotlong, which at 57km away was the closest town and best chance of getting any transport towards anywhere that we might decide to go. The five hours that passed before the first car came along and gave all three of us a lift to Mok. passed in a flash. Full of energy after the previous nights big dinner and sleep in front of the fire we effortlessly hiked through the snow and over the Black Mountain range, unknowingly summitting the highest point in Southern Africa at over 3300m. The sense of adventure was unbelievable, as was the scenery. Nothing grows above about 2000m here and in each direction were more desolate looking mountainous peaks and terrain. We've never been to Mongolia but we imagined this is what it would be like. Once again I was so proud of Bootcamp Henderson. She trudged along at a great rate and even Morgan, who is six three and a United Nations Peacekeeper commented that even though her pack is as big as her,
Every direction was so baron yet so beautiful!
even he was struggling to keep up! The whole time we only encountered one other person, a young herd boy with three donkeys who didn't speak a single word of English and who seemed to think that three whities with big things on their backs walking in the absolute middle of nowhere was hysterical. He did however like our water and fruit and oats! He walked with us for a while and gave Dani a lift on one of the small donkeys until the poor animal thought it was too much and tried to end it all by hurtling off a cliff. Thankfully Dani disembarked and at the last moment the donkey thought better of it! We estimated that of the 57km to Mok. we hiked atleast 20km and it was definately the most spectacular of the journey. It was one of the most inspiring things I have ever done. The guy who gave us a lift in the back of his pick up had seen us the day before and couldn't believe how far we'd come. Once in Mok. it was like stepping back in time. Horses and donkeys lined the dusty streets outside the shops and taverna giving
I would have loved to walk and talk, but I couldnt keep up!
the place a real wild west feel. We were quite amused that in this very small remote African town of days gone well by, the main store was a Chinese store and the owners were all standing behind the counter eating noodles! We found a restaurant and ordered plates of something that turned out to be chicken, veges and rice and we even got to eat in the kitchen with mama as there was a very raucus and obviously high stakes card game taking place in the dining area. With our batteries recharged we walked the length of the main dirt road in an attempt to find some form of transport to take us somewhere, anywhere. We eventually found a spot where a mini bus was supposedly going North via Oxbow which is where Morgan wanted to go and even though Dani and I wanted to go in the opposite direction we just thought what the heck! An hour later when the bus turned up we got on and waited for the next hour for it to fill up. No, I mean really fill up! This ride broke many records for us to date, the most people, the most uncomfortable
We did it!
This was after we summitted the first pass, if we knew what lay ahead we would have turned back!
and definately the most scary as the drivers hero was obviously Ayrton Senna. Overtaking blind, cutting corners, dodging potholes, narrowly missing cows on the road, all at an average speed of 120km an hour on icy roads that we had learnt were the highest roads in Sthn Africa! As Morgan was the biggest person most of the locals had ever seen he was put in the front seat. At first we thought this was like travelling first class, but Morgan later told us he would have happily laid across the laps of people or even on the floor if it meant he didn't have to see out the front window! It was also his duty to negotiate our fares and directions and mate if you ever read this, you did a crap job. We missed our stop by about 60km costing us extra cash and resulting in us ending up in a small village with no where to stay in the pitch black freezing night! We did however see an amazing sunset to compliment our amazing sunrise! We eventually learnt of an old derelict youth hostel where we may be able to stay the night if we leave a donation.
Happy camper,Unhappy donkey
The poor beast let us get a few photos before hed had enough!
Awesome! The mini bus driver must have felt for us and after getting directions off no fewer than five locals turned down a dodgy little alley. The driver got on his phone again and now we had a car behind us. Morgan and I were making plans for evacuation as this was surely a set up and we were about to be done over! After about fifteen minutes I couldnt take it any more and declared I wanted to get out and head back to a servo we'd passed where we'd stay until the morning. At that moment the driver said we were there. After beeping the horn for a minute or two an elderly drunk man came out to learn that he had three whities who wanted to stay over. He couldn't have been more excited. In his broken English he gave us the grand tour, showing us several things twice including the outside toilet, water pump and guestbook that was still going since 1971. All we could think of now was going to sleep. He kept saying that we could pay tomorrow or we could pay now and even though we promised to pay tomorrow he made us
Outside the Chinese store, downtown Mokhotlong!
write in the brand new receipt book whilst he explained that the receipt book he was holding only charged half the price and we were lucky because we were the first people to be charged the new, much inflated price! He was so excited he even woke his mother up to meet us. The last guests they'd had were three weeks ago. We finally managed to get rid of Simon and without further ado, apart from quick good nights and a prayer that we'd survived another day, the three of us undressed and passed out on our single beds wrapped in the many blankets Simon had provided. This was by far the most taxing day of travel so far, but definately the most rewarding!
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