09.10.2009 - 09.10.2009
In Mthata the major town of the area, a woman drove into the back of us at traffic lights, and bumped us a metre down the road. She then drove off without saying anything (I got her registration number at least), but luckily Lydia didn't seem to have any obvious damage.
From Mthata to Kokstad was one of the most uncomfortable drives I have made in some time. We were on the N2, the main road along the South Coast-ish, and one of a generally pretty reasonable standard. It twistily wound around constant mountains and over hills with traffic moving at high speed, until coming to occasional small towns which suddenly degenerated into narrow roads full of parked cars, minibuses pulling out willy-nilly and pedestrians and animals wandering all over the damned place in extremely dangerous ways.
Passing through Mount Frere on the main road of Southern South Africa. Call me fussy, but to me when a road goes from 4lanes and a 120 limit to this (and then much worse) in the space of 50m, it is just really bad planning
It was also still miserable weather wise, grey and raining, and on a couple of the higher mountain passes, we drove through extremely thick fog. I don't mind driving in snow or rain, and actively prefer driving in the dark, but fog I hate. And South African drivers are pretty much all fecking stupid &/or mad. In places visibility was down to a few metres at best, and we were crawling along at 50 or 60 with full lights and hazard lights, half in the hard-shoulder lane, whilst the majority of the locals shot past at at least double the speed, often with no lights at all. How there were no accidents, I don't know, but it was one of those moments where you almost thought it was safer to driver faster even though you couldn't see the road ahead, rather than slow and safe but with the extremely real risk of some local muppet driving into the back of you at high speed. To say I was happy when we descended to lower altitudes and clearer skies would be an understatement.
Back in the Drakensberg, we spent a day slowly heading North along winding gravel roads. But our luck had not changed, and despite hearing that previous days had been wonderful and clear, the weather was not ideal, and it was frustrating to know that so much beautiful scenery and possibility was being missed on account of clouds and drizzle. By then, poor Lydia had started leaking large quantities of something watery from the engine, and thus needed to be nursed along carefully, whilst we were also due back in Pretoria to return Lydia and meet some people. So, with wishes of more time and better weather, we drove back to Gauteng, inevitably spending most of the journey in the middle of ferocious rain and huge lightening strikes.