Day 354 South Africa : Durban - Hammanskraal

Day 354 South Africa

Trip Distance 661km (411m) Total Distance 1044km (649m)
Road Condition 100% tar    
Time to travel 8 hrs    
Cost of diesel R7.76 (£0.698)    
Stopover
South Africa
Kwalata S25 23.582 E28 19.887
R150 (£13.50) - Beautifully maintained grass area for parking.  Clean bathrooms, hot water, electricity.  Not strictly a campsite but Adventure Camp on a game ranch not in use for the Easter weekend.

 

We weren't happy saying goodbye to Tim and Annarosa again but it was all a bit odd because we were itching to leave to get back on the road.  With an early start under our belts, we hit road heading for the Mooi River Wimpy Bar to meet up with Maureen and Peter (Trevor's sister and brother-in-law) who we would be travelling with for the next 4 weeks. 

This was a fortuitous trip for us because it was the invitation from Pete and Mau 3 years ago that had started us off on our travels.  Originally the plan was to fly out in 2010, rent a 4x4 and have a 1 month holiday with them.  As we had already been thinking about 1 year's worth of travel - but only to Western Europe and Greece, mind - we thought, well why not ditch the idea of caravanning around Europe and buy a landie, then ship out to SA for the trip with them and drive back up home via East Africa.   A year later in the summer of 2008 we were at work when a colleague of ours collapsed unexpectedly.  With our thoughts suddenly clarified (who wants the possibility of losing it all and never having been on a trip of a lifetime) our idea grew to: bugger it, let's give it all up now, drive down via East Africa and meet up for a holiday with Mau and Pete and see what fate has in store for us.  And so, here we are, a year almost to the date later, the Middle East and East Africa under our belts and ready to set off on our next adventure.  A fortuitous trip indeed!

Being Easter Friday, the traffic was a bit manic from Durban to Mooi River but as we approached our first destination of the day, police presence grew high on the roads and drivers calmed down.  It was a pleasant drive from Mooi River with a Wimpy breakfast filling our tummies and basking in the excitement of the start of our trip together.

There was a brief break in Harrismith whilst Pete found a tyre company open to repair his tyre that had punctured on the road from Matatiele earlier that morning (Land Rover 1 - Land Cruiser 0!!!).  S28 17.454 E29 07.956 - fabulous help if you find yourself in the area.  Then it was on to the next stop at Vaal River and the famous Padstal farm stall (S27 00.427 E28 36.042).  Their old fashioned ginger beer is to die for and we picked up a myriad of other homemade goodies in the form of biltong, pickles and jams.

The only fly in our ointment on this leg of the trip (and it continued into the next day) were the inordinate number of toll plaza's costing us R159.00 (£14.31) and the next day another R74.00 (£7ish).

With the clouds rolling in, rain threatening and Mau and Pete on the road since 4am we decided that we needed to find a spot to camp.  While I was on my driving stint, Trevor used his time looking for a suitable campsite and came up with Kwalata.  It's a privately owned game ranch with facilities for adventure and Youth camps.  It has a full setup of chalets, kitchens and bathrooms all enclosed by an electric fence and normally for group use but as they were not booked up for the Easter weekend, they allowed us to use the facilities.  It was a great site.  We arrived there at around 4pm as it started to drizzle a_P1000064  and set up for the night after a quick supper and hot shower.  Snuggling down into our trusty roof top tent and under our duvet, we were officially back on the road.