SOUTH AFRICA, LESOTHO, MOZAMBIQUE AND SWAZILAND
INDESTRUCTIBLE TOYOTA LAND CRUISER 79 FOR HIRE
This time around we added a fourth country to our Southern African feat. Lesotho. Instead of using my 4×4 as we did last year, we hired a Toyota Land Cruiser 79 from https://bushlore.com. A robust and exceptional fully equipped self-contained 4×4 camper that exceeded our expectations. Except for one minor incident that occurred while on tar cruising through Lesotho.
DURBAN THE BEST PLACE TO START
Our adventure started in sweltering hot Durban, and what should have taken just over 3 hours took us almost 5 hours while driving off-road via Richmond. Through townships and lush KwaZulu-Natal hills and valleys that most people would advise against facing. I know… “Never throw caution to the wind. It could whip back into your eyes and blind you.”
SANI PASS NOT YET TARRED
We thought this may be the last time we get to experience Sani Pass as its authentic self, with a series of hairpins, twists, dongas, drops and picture-perfect scenery. Sadly, it’s soon going to be all tar from the ruins of the Good Hope trading store to the Lesotho border post. I’ve driven it a few times so had to climb aside into the passenger seat. I couldn’t encroach on someone’s childhood wish to one day drive the pass, something only adults ever spoke of as challenging and not for the fainthearted. Oh, how I love making people’s dreams come true…
END OF AN ERA
The Chinese efforts of tarring the pass are ensuring the end of an era. Not only in Lesotho but in Mozambique too. Last year we experienced the recently tarred road from the border in Kosi Bay, South Africa to Ponta do Ouro. No more need for 4x4s. Oh, perish the pernicious thought.
HIGHEST PUB IN AFRICA
At the top of Sani Pass, we took refuge from the icy, gusting winds at The Highest Pub in Africa, standing tall at 2873 meters above sea level. Even the Basotho people wrapped up in blankets and balaclavas appeared debilitated by the cold while huddled together on the side of the mountain.
BANG! BANG! (MY BABY SHOT ME DOWN)
With me behind the steering wheel once again, I drove us further into Lesotho. Thirty minutes along a flat, smooth, well-maintained road, travelling at the 80kms speed limit, the car’s left backside dropped followed by a bang or was it the other way around? A blowout! Ouch! I automatically changed down to lower gears while braking and swerved into the emergency lane. A sheer drop beyond the barrier. How is that even possible? A woman driver! You cheeky so and so… Fortunately, we weren’t travelling up the pass when it happened.
A DESERVED REST FOR THE WICKED
Over three hours later, after sunset, we arrived safely at Oranje Guest Farm, Free State, South Africa. A perfect place to recharge at the luxury working farm surrounded by sandstone cliffs, greenery and livestock.
Please Note: For copyright purposes, I have considerably reduced the resolution of each image below.