South Africa - Spring 2006 travel blog

lunch restaurant

lunch time view

road repair crew

nail biting bridge

view of our campground

view from our campground

rock painting

pine cones

Very shortly after we left the campground we found ourselves in a road block, rapidly lengthened by the RV's joining behind us. What could be the problem? Pork! Apparently there is a pig disease going around and the local militia wanted to search our vehicles to see if we had any pork chops? Live pigs? Not clear. Perhaps the real motivation was to see the insides of our vehicles. My package of frozen chicken got a thorough going over. Another RV had an open package of sausage confiscated.

With that serious concern addressed, we followed our fellow travelers down the road. Out of the corner of my eye I saw the sign for our next turn, but Ken assumed that the folks we were following knew where they were going and zoomed ahead before I had a chance to speak. No problem. A quick U-turn and we were back on the right track. I mean that literally. In our haste to turn around and our desire to find the correct turn, we found ourselves driving very comfortably on the right hand side of the road. Oncoming traffic quickly reminded Ken of the error of his ways. We both felt chagrin at this lapse in our concentration. One little slip up...

We had a longer drive today - 330 kilometers - and some small towns along the way had stops recommended. Most of the time there is a business type road into town, while our general route is on the bypass. We took a road into a small town that was scruffy looking and got lots of stares. Rightly so, I guess. We were white people in a large RV where most black people seemed to travel everywhere on foot. As we drove out of town, we realized we were not heading back to the main road, so we had to turn around, being careful to land in the left lane and retrace our steps, where we got more looks.

As we move into the interior of South Africa, the roads that I have been praising, definitely have deteriorated. There were numerous signs warning us of potholes, as if we hadn't noticed them ourselves, as Ken slalomed down the road. Every so often we passed a road crew hard at work. Unfortunately all they had to work hard with were pick axes and shovels. No one was leaning against their shovel as they are wont to do at home, but with those tools, the potholes were going to win that contest.

Still looking for a place to stretch our legs, we came upon a lovely thatched roof restaurant, which offered magnificent views of the mountains that form the border with Lesotho, a country totally surrounded by South Africa. Apparently this anachronistic kingdom was never conquered by anyone and remains a poverty stricken little speck in the middle of SA. We're intrigued....

The directions to tonight's campground assured us that if we thought we were lost, we were going in the right direction. We turned down a road with no name and no pavement, lurched along for four kilometers, and then turned down another side street with no name and lurched along for four more. The coup d'grace was a bridge of lashed together logs. After this hair raising drive, which we will have to retrace tomorrow, we found ourselves camped next to a picturesque lodge, furnished with authentic looking pieces and heads of antelope and deer mounted on the walls. A local man who is spending his retirement trying to promote local tourism, took us on a walk up the hill to look at rock paintings made by Bushmen about 150 years ago. He also showed us a film depicting the latest theories of what it all means. It was full of shaman and supposition and much too ethereal for me, but the paintings were great to see.

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