May 4, 2014: We have finished our second day on the road. Lots of impressions of driving in South Africa. The highways are wonderful, very clean with NO billboards, smooth and well signed. The traffic is light on the roads we have driven and drivers are polite. The shoulders are wide and drivers pull part way onto the shoulder to let you pass. We are learning to do this too. Round-abouts still cause me a problem and we prefer left turns since we are driving on the left side of the road and can’t get used to which way we need to look for oncoming traffic. It is getting better.
The scenery since we left Cape Town has been dramatic in its changes. On day one we drove through the wine country and along the coast and stopped at Oubaii right on the Indian Ocean. I didn’t see any whales. Yesterday we headed away from the coast and crossed the Swartberg Pass with incredible views but very bad surface, no guard rails and a narrow roadway. The surface is gravel with many pot-holes and washed out places. Fortunately, it is very lightly traveled and we only had a few oncoming vehicles who I am sure thought we were crazy attempting this in vintage cars.
We were low on gas so when we pulled over to take photos, Ed filled from the spare gas can we carry. It turned out we would have made it to the gas station, but it decreased the tension knowing fuel would not be a problem. Had we run out, there were many places we could not have pulled off to fill.
Cars took a beating on this route. The 56 Chevy lost it brake fluid and didn’t get in until after dark. The 26 Crosley is boiling its water out of the radiator and they don’t seem to be able to track down the problem. They did limp in and worked on the car until after midnight. We will see how today goes. The 66 jag had the gear shift fall apart just as they were backing into the parking space. They did get fixed by dinner time. I’m sure there were other casualties, but these are the ones I know about.
We spent the night in Beaufort West. Our hotel was fine but the property is all gated and locked and we were told NOT to walk into town. One couple tried and were met on the street and were told to turn back. It was not safe to walk after dark. Sort of a scary feeling.
Yesterday I photographed an ostrich just standing in the wild near the road as though he had been told “tourist coming, look sharp.” We passed a herd of bushbuck but not at a time that we could stop to take a photo, so no picture.
Today we travel to Cradock which sounds like a most interesting stop. More on that tomorrow.
Janet, Ed and Stewball.