27.3. – 6.5.16
Many people praised Lesotho – the little kingdom in the mountains, so we decided to visit it. The departure of South Africa was easy, they just put a stamp in the passport that’s it. Even the Carnet wasn’t of interest. But in Lesotho the customs office was trained very well and hence he wanted to see our Carnet. He know how to fill in the form and explains everything very kindly. Lesotho welcomes us without any fences – that felt really good after Namibia and South Africa. Special though that beside every house you find an external shithouse. When we left Lesotho back to South Africa we had to force the customs officer to stamp our Carnet. The South African just wanted us to drive on.
On the way
At the lake of Elliot we found our most liked camp site since we are in the very South. Though we had to drive through the river as the bridge wouldn’t have carried our weight. Actually it’s an official camp site with an abolution block and so on, but in reality it’s not in service anymore and therefore we are completely alone with our private lake and game. In the afternoon the police celebrate some pensioner, so we are well guarded.
To reach the beautiful places on earth we are equipped with all-wheel-drive, saw and machete. But we have days where we cut our way for many kilometres. We not only feel like roadmaking workers, but we indeed are road workers. That makes us so tired, that we hardly can enjoy the hard-earned space.
We can certainly drive over passes, even steep and high ones, but not the famous Prince Alfred Pass, that one is far too narrow, we have to turn around on a space smaller than a towel. Naudes Nek, the highest pass of South Africa with 2650 m above see level, we master successfully as well as the Mafika-Lisiu with 3000 m in Lesotho.
After many years of electronic communication we got the opportunity to meet Brigitte and Edy in Knysna. We both accepted a couple of 100km detour for that. It was a great experience to see both in person. We spent a few days together with very windy weather and determined that we have a good deal in common.
With Heike and Danny we get together in the Mountain Zebra National Park. We chatted endlessly und our paths crossed again in the Royal Natal. We shared a campsite and had some fantastic days together.
In Lesotho we met Babsi and Jörg and spent some entertaining and enjoyable days with each other. We even continue our journey to another place together. Much later at the Albert Falls Lake we see them again – a good reason for a little party.
One important part of our way of travelling is indeed meeting other overlander – a kind of “being at home” feeling emerges then.
The little hike we did in Nature Valley is indeed easy and flat, but really nice. Unfortunately nobody told us, that you have to cross a 4m deep pond. We imagined all the sort of funny creatures which might live in there and decided to not swim through.
In the national park Tsehlanyane we walked to the waterfall. On our way up we could observe a single ant killing a much bigger caterpillar on her own and even removing the much bigger catch. We are really happy, that ants are not bigger than they are!
For sure every Swissy wants to climb up to the peak. In the Golden Gate National Park we lost our way and encountered a couple from Bern. But we never reached the peak, because the bad weather combined with old age sanity let us turn back.
The brand new original alternator which has been exchanged from MAN in Cape Town gave up again so we cannot charge the battery of the cabin anymore while driving. Luckily it’s less fatally here in Africa than it would have been in Iceland. Here we have sunshine every day and our solar plant can demonstrate its power.
With MAN in Pinetown we seem to be lucky. We met experts in their field, who we can trust. We are comfortable that they will make Globi now really off-road capable.
Highlights and low points
We learned that in the village where we stay overnight a huge regional kindergarten competition is going to happen the other day. As is known we are big fan of children and so we decided to stay und to have a look. What we end up with was just hilarious. Hundreds of mini busses with teacher, moms and kids arrive. The women are cheerful and in an extreme good mood for partying. We got carried away by this party tornado. Taking pictures and filming is not only allowed but definitely welcomed. We are not sure anymore if we have been more the photographer or the model. The loud music and the dancing women made us happy and we went home full of vim. It felt authentic and like having been part of the local festival.
On one of the small mountain roads we met a typical Buggy. In the middle of the track he stopped and obviously hoped that we disappear in the air. After quite a while he finally drove at right angles with the track towards the bank. We are not sure if he did that awkwardly or calculatingly. But nevertheless we then could pass. While we were crossing he slipped from the brake – deliberately or not – and hit our truck. He jumped out of his car and claimed that we drove against his Buggy (most likely his car would have a different look if we really hit him). And of course he wanted money, despite the fact, that his pretended damage was hard to detect, but Globi’s damage was big and obvious. We denied giving any money. The other day the police visited us – would be interesting to know how they found us – assuming that they could squeeze some money out of our pockets. At length we explained that the unskilled other driver would need to pay us, not we him. After a longer discussion they left us and didn’t come back a day later. Although they promised to do so.