Day 25 Jo’Burg to Drakensberg & Day 26 Drakensberg

So for those of you that like order you’ll be slightly put out that the title of this chapter of the blog is Day 25, after the previous chapter was entitled Truck Day 20. The numbering reflects the 4 days we had in Vic Falls before we commenced our truck adventure. Now that’s cleared up I’ll get on with this chapter.

Refreshed after room service, a great night’s sleep and a fabulous breakfast buffet at the Protea by Marriott hotel at Jo’burg Airport, we’re ready to hit the road for the next leg of our African adventure. We’re delighted to exchange the Overland truck for our hire car which only has 3,500km on the clock and still smells brand new.

We manage to successfully navigate our way out of the outskirts of Jo’Burg onto the N3 motorway and 5 hours and 400km later we arrive in the Drakensberg Mountains and our home for the next 8 nights, Amphitheatre Backpackers. It’s hot and sunny and we take great delight sitting on the terrace with a cold beer enjoying the stunning scenery and the hot sunshine.

The sun doesn’t last for too long though and the rain arrives bringing with it a bright rainbow. This is a precursor to one of the most violent storms we’ve ever witnessed. Continous forked lightning, endless thunder and absolutely torrential rain. The storm lasts for about 4 hours and is so severe that it knocks the power out in the local area for a total of 21 hours. Here’s hoping that this is not a sign of things to come.

We awake on Monday and have the longest lie-in of this trip and don’t get out of bed till 11am. We need to stock up on supplies and drive into the nearest town’ Bergville, 21km away. There’s no power in town either but this is not due to last night’s storm it’s scheduled load shedding that is currently synonymous in South Africa. Essentially, everyday designated areas across the country have their power switched off for up to 2 hours at a time in order to meet the over demand for power. The supermarket has a generator as do a small number of other stores but everything else is shrouded in darkness. There’s queues everywhere as people wait for ATM and Money Exchange. It’s a real eye opener and one we’ll experience repeatedly as we travel through the region. It takes me 1 hour to secure a SIM card – Africa teaches you to be patient. Supplies eventually secured we take a drive to the Royal Natal National Park to obtain a map to take back to the hostel in order that we can start to plan our hikes for the week ahead.

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