South Africa - Spring 2006 travel blog

drive

a steady stream of cars

foggy view

campground RV's

campground beach

chalets at campground

dolphins

accident


As the traffic continued to pour into Oudtshoorn for the week long festival, we gladly headed the other way. It looked like it was going to be another sunny 90 degree day, but as we came to a valley, a fog bank appeared and we drove into it. The temperature plummeted and the gorgeous scenery disappeared.

This was our day to drive the famous Garden Route. I guess my jet lag is still worse than I thought. Even though I had reread the guide book I was expecting to see gardens on the Garden Route. Silly me. The term stems from the fact that once you leave the arid highlands, the land turns green with all sorts of lush vegetation. For a long stretch we drove the top of a dune with the Indian Ocean on one side and a string of fresh water lakes on the other. This area is tourist central. We passed lush polo grounds, golf courses, bungy jumping areas, and of course, beaches. People were sailing, kayaking, water skiing, etc. There were a million B & B's and almost as many guest houses and hotels. Surprisingly, interspersed among these sometimes toney areas, we saw shanty towns. There were many hitch hikers on the highway. At first we thought they just had their thumbs out, but the tradition here appears to be to hold out a handful of paper money to entice the drivers to stop. We could have made a good piece of change today. Some of the shanty town residents looked a bit ominous. The woman whose face was covered with white paint? mud? made me think of the movie "Halloween." Once I'm a bit more comfortable with this scene, I'll get my camera out.

Drivers are quite courteous here and the roads are generally well maintained, so we were shocked to come upon one of our fellow Rv'ers with a big chunk of her vehicle torn out of the back. Then we noticed a sedan across the highway in even worse condition. We radioed to see if we could help, but another one of us had already happened upon the scene. It turned out that the accident had been caused by a sleepy driver coming across the median and striking her even as she blasted her horn. They were all OK and her vehicle is still drivable thank goodness. Shortly after this accident scene, Ken almost hit a baboon as it crossed the busy highway. We have seen many warning signs not to feed them, but this one should have stayed with the rest of his family who was already safely on the shoulder.

We are afraid that in about a month we are going to get a speeding ticket in the mail. Police don't sit on the shoulder with radar guns here. Instead their are speed limits posted with the sign "robot" nearby. This means an automated machine is stationed in the area that will take your picture whenever you exceed the speed limit. Our rental agency will receive the notice and debit our credit card accordingly. Ken was going 65 in a 60 zone when I saw the flash go off and felt like I was on Candid Camera. We are camped tonight at Tsitsikamma National Park right on the beach. Nearby are chalets and cabins for those who don't have the camping gear. A large school of dolphins - twenty maybe? - are cavorting in the waves a few hundred yards from where we sit in our lawn chairs. Life is good.

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