19th October 2013 Happy Birthday Lek.
Looks like we have a few days to kill before our car arrives. Today we drove about an hour west to the Valley of a Thousand Hills. Beautiful rolling, green hills reminiscent of the Southern Highlands of NSW. Some very upmarket communities here, all guarded with a lot of electric fencing. It was foggy and cold, 11 degrees. We drove through the area using various tourist routes one of which took us down-hill through an African area. What a contrast. It was the complete opposite of upstairs, a very poor area. A lot of Africans walk along the road to get to their destinations and you can see some interesting sights. Dapper men in suits with umbrellas or women carrying great loads on their heads out in the middle of nowhere.
25th October 2013
The MSC Tomoko birthed two days ago and we are eagerly awaiting the phone call to come and collect our car.
For the last two days we have driven up the coast to the towns of Umhlanga and Ballito. If there were three sides to a coin this would be the third. These two towns are as up market as it gets with even fewer electric fences. It is a sophisticated Gold Coast (A famous Australian resort area). We just wandered around the shops and beach taking it all in. On one bush track we got talking to a Zulu park worker who took us around his park and was very enthusiastic and happy in his descriptions. There were about thirty ships on the horizon waiting to enter Durban harbour, all delayed due to the high winds. Apparently Durban harbour is tricky to enter. We actually saw our ship floating around out there off the coast and then moving at a rate of knots, pun intended, south. It must have got the word. We have been able to track the progress of the vessel from Sydney via a shipping website and so had a good idea of where it was positioned off shore.
27th October 2013 Yesterday we went for a walk to the Lagoon area called Green Hub and then all the way to the city. The wind here was ferocious and we could hardly walk against it. The Indian spice market had every imaginable spice, variety of lentil, incense, all other things Indian and of all things Kellogs Corn Flakes. By the time we got back to Gibela, our backpacker lodge, it was 4pm, nearly time to watch the Rugby grand final between The Durban Sharks and Western Province (The Cape Town team). The proprietor, other guests and myself settled down in front of the TV and Judy, not a huge fan of football, read her book “Questions of Travel”. After ten minutes a huge electrical storm erupted, the TV went blank for one hour, groan, but came back on just ten minutes before the end, allowing us to see the final score, live. The “Sharkies” won and Durban put on a fireworks display to equal Sydney.
By the way Gibela means “Hop on“ in Zulu.
Gibela has given us a very comfortable place to stay while we wait for car to arrive.
28th October 2013
We got it. The car arrived. No Damage. Did a little dance with the stevedores and Maurita, the shipping agent and took it for a bit of a drive to recharge the battery.
We unpacked in the afternoon and tomorrow have a couple of legals to attend to, then we truly start our holiday. In a way we are on our way home.
29th October 2013 Our first day of travel with the Troopy. Flat battery had to clutch start it and the small chip in the windscreen ,from our test drive, has developed into a sizeable split. So off we go. We travelled to the Drakensberg Mountains and camped overnight at the White Mountain Hotel, which has a camping area out the back. What a place this is. It is a “Camp Granada” for private schools with multiple Afrikaner dorms and lodges, an artificial lake and a huge restaurant and bar. This place is A1 and can cater for up to 2000 guests. We were their only guests, out of season perhaps? Prices were very reasonable.
30th October 2013 Stayed at the Sani Pass Lodge and met Rupert, a motorcyclist adventurer who gave us a lot of valuable information about the road ahead. We met up for dinner with other travellers at the restaurant there and before too long everyone was swapping stories and info. It was a real travellers rantan.