After Kruger National Park we drove back to White River to drop off the Land Cruiser and pick up the BMW again. The forecast for the next few days was for steady, heavy rain. Our plan was to ride through Eswatini, then back up to the Mozambique coast and then south. The extreme rains and flooding had changed all those plans. The whole coastal area down towards Durban was a mess. Reports of whole villages destroyed, roads gone and in excess of 450 people dead. We didn’t want to add to their problems if we couldn’t offer any help, so we would elect to stay inland until south of Durban.
Finding a nice hotel in White River we decided to just hole up and wait it out. There was an area called Blyde River Canyon that we wanted to explore. The Blyde River Canyon is one of the larger canyons on Earth at a length of 26 kms. It is considered a green canyon because of the sub tropical vegetation in the gorge. After three days of rain and pizza the skies showed promise, but we were entering into the wet time of the year in this area. Loading up we heading back north into the mountains passes with threatening skies.
A coolness was in the air letting us know winter was on the way. It had already snowed in the mountains just south of us. Pulling off at a fuel stop in a small town we stopped beside an armored security vehicle. We struck up a conversation with the driver that looked military, but was private security and we’ll armed. Asking him what he protecting, he pointed up into the woods. We looked the way he was pointing and were obviously confused. “What is there?”, we asked. “Trees”, was his response. It seems anything of value has a black market. The loggers go up and cut down the trees and transport them to the lumber mills. Sometimes the theives go steal the big equipment and go in at night to steal the cut and stacked trees. Sometimes they stop the logging trucks. Every truck has a hired private security escort. What about the police? Corrupt, paid off by the black market. What happens when the military looking, well armed security forces catch the bad guys? “We take care of business”! Then he told us to be careful where we were headed, dangerous area. Gulp!
Off we went climbing towards the gorge, the forest endless on either side of the road, spidy senses on high alert. We saw nothing unusual but other tourists enjoying the same entrancing vistas that we had also ridden to see. It was as beautiful as it was advertised. Forest, canyon, rivers and mountains spread out in front of us as we gazed from a lofted viewpoint looking east, towards the Indian Ocean.
Continuing on we headed towards the end of the road bordering Lesotho, the Drakensberg wilderness. The road climbed upwards as the ragged, snow covered peaks towered in front of us. The road continued to get smaller until it just ended, the mountains blocking the way to Lesotho. We turned around and soon found a brewery, the Drakensberg Brewery, to sample a couple brews and just look at the mountains of which the brewery had been named.
Since this was toward the end of our trip we found lodging along the Wild Coast of South Africa and just relaxed and enjoyed the views and walks along the Indian Ocean. At two of the places we stayed we had a few blue-balled monkeys try to join us in the house. The coast was so beautiful, just raw and wild in so many places. In Ramsgate we rented a four bedroom house just steps from the beach. There was a large man-made tidal pool at the beach that changed the water every day when the tide, and waves, came in. When we got to East London we stayed at the Sugarshack Backpackers, which had seen better days. The first morning, as I was walking down the beach, I found a local tribe having a wedding ceremony on the beach. A couple days later we returned the BMW to the people that had so graciously loaned it to us.
We were flying to Johannesburg as the first leg of our flight. Since we had a layover of four hours in the airport, Michnus and Elsebie Oliver, of PikiPiki Overland and owners of Turkana motorcycle gear, met us at the airport to share a couple beers and visit. It was like meeting old friends, we got on so well. They left South Africa four years ago and had been in South America since, remaining in Bolivia during CoVid. They write for many magazines and make videos of their travels. You can visit their website at PikiPiki Overland and visit the store at Turkana Gear.
Goodbye Africa and all the amazing people/friends that hosted us and that we had the privilege of meeting.
Braai, and Cheers,