So after a very brief day's prep Gary, Kyle and I packed trusty Dusty and headed off towards... well anywhere in the direction of the Drakensberg really (the plan was to get to the Drakensberg for a wedding Gary had to be at). So after a few detours and side tracks (most noteably a very random dust road that took us past nothing for ages and then suddenly a barn all lit up with about 7 people doing Karaoke in front of a giant projection screen, bizarre I tell you) we spent our first couple of nights in Oudshoorn. After a day's rock climbing, a night of rain, breakfast in the ablution blocks while we tried to dry everything out we decided to head to Nieu Bethesda as neither Gary or I have seen the Owl House. We spoiled ourselves as it was freezing and we stayed in a converted Water Tower at the back packers. It was very cool and pretty. The Owl House was mind blowing and the fossil tour "included in your Owl House Ticket price" was actually fascinating even for the non rock mad of our little trio (i.e. me).
Still unsure whether we wanted to go round the West or East border of Lesotho we chose to go to Lady Grey next to avoid making the decision for at least a day longer. In Lady Grey we met John who had opened the Backpackers on a whim having never set foot in a backpackers before. John liked to chat and talk, and converse and communicate, and talk and chat. About anything but his favourite topics were property prices and the rather interesting situation in the shower that required you to first have the basin tap on "full throttle" and once that was hot you could try the shower taps, leaving the basin tap on and only "throttling back" once preferred shower temperature had been achieved. You had to be there to get the explanation, had us in giggles for days.
Finally we left the east/west decision to the magic 8 ball and headed off up the Malouti Route west to Rustlers Valley. Now much to everyone's surprise I have never heard of Rustlers or the crazy festivals and parties for which it owes its reputation. We arrived on the Sunday of the long weekend and had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. They had had mini festival on saturday night. The Real Estate agents among others had provided the sound track to which all the JHB creative elite could celebrate their freedom to take too many drugs under the guise of a Hippy Commune type ethos. I don't know... the place sells itself as a retreat, a commune and a place in tune with the earth and its mysteries but it is far from convincing in its belief or understanding thereof. Not sure I buy the concept. And the comedown was scary and weird. But the place is spectacularly beautiful and we outstayed most of the revellers so pretty much had it to ourselves. Free camping in a valley that is bordered by a truly impressive rock range called the Dragon's Back is more than alright by me. Had a potentially problematic moment where I got a little cocky and stopped paying attention while hiking across a tricky section of the Back. Slipped down the shelf in impressive style. Bleeding and feeling a little more than stupid I learnt the, oh so important, hold-on-tight-lesson. Think Gary and Kyle got more of a fright than I did however. But we all got over it quickly and discovered amazing rock arches and river beds filled with crystals that even the harshest hippy critic could get very excited about.
God this is going on for far too long, I am sure I have lost most of you but for those intrepid readers who are still with me I will try keep the rest brief. From Rustlers it was on to Golden Gate for more amazing caves, views, wild life and hilarity in the campsite's laundry room. Then we spent two nights in a converted Barn in a tiny place called Swinburn near Harrismith. The second night was the interesting one... Picture the three of us schramonks sleeping in the barn with 30 Jehovahs Witnesses!!! It was hysterical. For a start they drank more and told more dirty jokes than we did - must be the modern faith? And then when all three of us snuggled down to sleep I got the "So are they your brothers?" heeheehee
Then it was on to the Berg and time for Kyle and I to kind of gate crash a wedding! (Well we got invites at the last minute so it wasn't proper gate crashing) But Gary had discovered 20mins out of Cape Town that he had forgotten his Wedding Attire so his old school mate from Pretoria saved the day and brought some grandad trousers and a tie for him. Kyle was a little less easy to dress having only his jeans with rips and holes. Never fear - fashion crisis solved with Kerry's jeans and a floral shirt that he had hidden in his bag. And so off we went feeling very sheepish. - Nothing a good few bottles of bubbles, wine and whiskey couldn't fix though. Crazy night. Couldn't have thrown our names away too badly however as we were invited to dinner the next night with the family etc and on the big wedding hike up the Tugela Gorge to the base of the Amphitheatre. Yeah, us Kaapies think we know how to do mountains but we have no idea ;)
Then it was time to start the trek home... Via the family tours. Howick for tea with Kyle's grandparents. Underberg for braai and giggles with his rather crazy, death-defying kayaking brother,Ross. Then the great Tsitsa Falls search that had us taking trusty Dusty down a donga-ed river bed nearly on his side. We ventually found them and have let Ross know that his 11km estimate is way out. The crazy kid abseils down those falls with his kayak attached to his harness and then paddles down the gorge... Like I said - crazy. Then Grahamstown for dinner Kyle's parents, PE for tea for Gary's Aunt and cousin and then the last stretch to Sedgefield. In Sedge we stayed with Meridian and Zanele, both studying to be Sangomas while being involved in a number of community projects that are fascinating and exciting. It was a pretty random evening with Gary and Kyle constantly having to suppress their giggles at me trying my best to blend in with the "amazing vibe" and blessed universe :)
So yes... Now its back to reality and unemployment. Have taken this week properly off to get all my admin out of the way but next week I need to start looking for a few days work at least before I head to the UK on the 16th June for some fun in the mud with the London posse - Glastonbury! So excited. OK, I have bored you all sufficiently and taken up enough space. Lots of love! -kx
|Road Trip May 07|