Jagged peaks to rolling plains,
the journey is varied
and never the same!
Today was really about going somewhere to be somewhere. (654km) I had to meet my folks and friends by nightfall and the distance in between us was vast. It is only when you are on the road and moving that you realise how big South Africa is!
I woke early and went for my breakfast at Ceder Garden B&B. It was all lovingly prepared and I could glimpse through the windows at the wonderfully maintained gardens outside. The air is cooler here and feels fresh. I was also still excited about seeing the big towering mountains of the Drakensberg.
After a quick chat and packing up the car, I headed off to the mountains first. I know this added about an extra hour on my journey but I am not going to miss this opportunity! Funny how we value things in life isn’t it! Will the long journey win over the view I want to see. Of course not and I headed out of Underberg and stopped!
It was beautiful. The mountains seem to rise up out of the ground as if sprouting to the sky. I have to get out the car to see them in all their beauty. The sun is shining on them making them shine and emphasising their greatness. There they have stood, watching over the many who have wandered by and they looked staggering!
Behind these great mountains lies Lesotho, a country surrounded by South Africa. While I was looking at these huge mountains I thought how they may resemble walls which surround Lesotho. Keeping invaders out but also shutting off the world from within. There are high mountain passes to get to Lesotho from this side, of which I do not have time to stay and try, but I am reliably informed they are worth the drive – but take your passport – as you go to South Africa’s highest pub and cross into Lesotho at the top!
I drove to the end of the road where there was a golfing resort with highly manicured lawns and plenty of chalets to stay. In the glory of these huge mountains I have a cold drink and admire how beautiful and tranquil this all is. It wasn’t long before my thoughts turned to the journey though and I really needed to begin my journey – the one I should have begun from Underberg but elected to be stood there instead.
As I drove off and back to Underberg and then headed onwards, it is with a little sorrow for now. My “Long Drive” was coming to an end. I had seen lots of different skylines and seen the beauty of South Africa from the rock and salt to sand and sea. It is so beautiful. The people are fantastic and the insurmountable obstacles that have been climbed to get to this place are truly astounding – both geographically and mentally.
The roads improve as I head closer to the motorway and as I get onto it for a short while I was once again reminded of the rush civilisation is in to miss all this beauty. I turn off after an hour and begin heading toward Doornkop. It is pretty much straight all the way there and the only thing that changes through the windows is the way the mountains have diminished to round hills and flat pastures.
The light has changed too. The light was flickering in and out of the mountains, as if playing a game of hide and seek and here the sky is huge again, with brilliant sun and golden-yellow fields of grass all around me.
By the time I reached Doornkop it was dark and I had to navigate a dirt road too. I felt a bit like a rally car driver at night! There were no lights apart from my full beams and dirt track that came into view for a brief second as I trundled along.
Arriving at Doornkop my folks came out to meet me and our friends all welcomed me from my long journey. A braai (bbq) had been lit and the meat was nearly done. All wanted to know where I had been and what had been happening. The night went on for a while as we all sat and chatted and I heard about the exciting things everyone else had been up to.
It has been an amazing trip. It was certainly a long drive! I think at final count it was just around 3216kms long, but I had seen and been immersed in beauty and wonder. The little twinkling sky, and the roar of the ocean. Here in this little game reserve it is all quiet, not a sound as everyone is now in bed.
I cannot wait for the next adventure and to see the wondrous sights of our amazing planet and its people, (Queue emotional music and drums…) but for now it is time to get to bed and remember all that I have done and be so very grateful for it!
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