29.09.2009 - 30.09.2009
I drove for 5500km through the rain.
Sometimes it wasn't rain, but more along the lines of thunder storms, lightning storms and torrential downpours. To be fair, it wasn't raining all the time, but on occasions it certainly felt like it. If it wasn't raining at any point you could pretty much put your money on the fact that it would be within the next couple of hours – It followed us constantly, and so we went around bringing rain (and joy to some locals, if not always us) to some of the driest places on Earth, which had a certain novelty value at least, even if it wasn't exactly ideal for us.
Maaret had arrived at ORT pretty much on time, unlike me who got so delayed by other people's incompetence at the car rental place that she was already drinking coffee upstairs by the time I was free. Of Fred, there was no sign.
Our trusty vehicle had, obviously, been named Abigail, although trusty she was sadly not. A Toyota Yaris with a boot, she had the instruments annoyingly in the centre of the dash, absolutely hopeless central locking (which was not really central, and pretty much never locked anything) and very rapidly, a large red engine warning light which came on and then refused to go out. She got us to the Northern Drakensberg mountains, a UNESCO world heritage site of vast natural beauty although most of which we couldn't see due to a combination of the cloud and/or rain, or because we were recovering from sleep deprived nights.
Sadly the dream was not to last. Abigail and her red light were just too temperamental to be trusted where we planned to trust her, and so on only her second day, at the cost of half a day's holiday (and car rental), 200km and a significant number of rand's worth of petrol, she was returned and replaced.
We did pass this site, however. Hands up who never knew that Winston Churchill had once been a Prisoner of War? Originally in the area as a newspaper war correspondent in the Boer wars, in inevitable style he successfully escaped barely 3 weeks later
Note – I should point out that from here until I leave Africa, not all the photos will be mine. Many will have been stolen from the lovely Ofelia who has photographic talent, a decent camera and knows how to take pictures. Pretty much any decent one from now on is hers, and the dodgy ones remain mine.