We awake this morning to heavy cloud and rain in the air. We can’t even see the Drakensberg Mountains in the distance and decide that instead of hiking at the Royal Natal National Park we’ll drive to the Sterkfontein Dam for a walk and then drive to Harrismith for some supplies.
As we start to ascend the Oliviershoek Pass we’re greeted with thick fog and pouring rain. There’s roadworks on the way up and at one point the road has been washed away on one side and we have to drive through rich red mud on the side that is still intact. I say we drive, actually it’s me and I’m extremely anxious that we remain on the road and don’t lose anymore of it in the thick fog and end up going over the side. To add to the tension we discover that like a lot of other cars on the road we don’t have any fog lights and follow their example and use our hazards in order that other vehicles and wildlife can at least have a hope of seeing us.
We eventually find our way through the fog and rain as we start to descend towards the dam. We stop at a viewpoint to take our first look as the fog is clearing and meet a local craftsman who makes animal figures from Tugella river clay in the area. They’re fun and colourful and we buy a small elephant and a porcupine with absolutely no idea how we’ll get them home. I’m sure we’ll work it out.
We take a walk along lake and there’s only 4 other people here. The rain has stopped and the fog has lifted and its actually quite an enjoyable afternoon. We drive to Harrismith to stock up on supplies and petrol as it’s essential that the tank is always full as out here in the wilds petrol stations are few and far be. We drive back via the N3 motorway as the weather has turned again and I’m not prepared to take our life in our hands going back over the Pass
We return for a late afternoon game of Yahtzee and some cards, we’re ever so slightly competitive in case you haven’t noticed especially after a bottlenose Pinotage. Dinner is a braai. The hostel is brilliant it has so many braai and kitchen areas for guests to us, so we buy a bag of charcoal and firelighters and get cooking. Peri Peri chicken and sausages for dinner, delicious.
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