bon fire Zvakanaka Campsite, Louis Trichard/Makhado, South Africa

South-Africa (1) from Beitbridge to Swaziland

On December 30 we cross the border of Zimbabwe and South Africa at Beitbridge,an easy border crossing.

We shop in Messina/Musina, a rather small border town, but with supermarket and auto parts store. That’s a relief after the poverty of Zimbabwe and the austerity of the East African countries. We have an extensive lunch at the Wimpy, a comprehensive burger, super …

We find a beautiful camping spot, the best of this trip (?) Just before Louis Trichard / Makhado. We arrive at 4 o’clock in the afternoon, just in time to meet the owners, Al and Gail they go to friends for New Year. The Zvakanaka Camp Site is a beautiful place that we once again discover by chance, great to celebrate our new year.

This camp is really well equipped and we also make extensive use of the amenities. The last couple of days our things have become pretty wet, it is rainy season, we can do our laudry here in the washing machine and dry under the roof of our campsite. We have around 6 washing machines full of laundry, but then everything is fresh again, including our duvets.

On New Year’s Eve in the morning we go to go to the supermarket in Louis Trichard, buy things for our New Years Eve dinner. Of course there should also be oliebollen (Dutch donuts) and at noon we enjoy oliebollen and …

the Top2000 on the radio …

Through our South African data bundle, we can stream the music and via WhatsApp together with friends in the Netherlands and the rest of the world we enjoy the oldies hits.

Our New Year’s Eve dinner consists of samosas as a starter,

while we start up the braai in the meantime

so we can grill our fish for the main course

We enjoy these delicacies and the beautiful fireworks of the night sky that unfolds over our heads.
At midnight, it is an hour earlier in the Netherlands and Top2000 hasn’t arrived at Queen, we toast with South African brut, lekkerrr …

Meanwhile, we have talked to Suzanne and Pieter and wished happy New Year, to them 2017 is an hour earlier and we get one after another whatsapp and facebook message with New Year wishes, nice to be in touch with the world. We enjoy our campfire and listen to the remaining Top2000 hits until New Year in the Netherlands and we get into our own bed.

The next morning, we do not mind lying in bed a little longer …

But later it clears up so that we can stretch our legs and can explore the grounds of the camp.

On January 3rd we follow Al’s advice and we head towards the Blyde River Canyon. At about ten we take a detour off Tzaneen – “really not worth it” according to Al – and pass the Sunland Baobab more or less by chance where we have a drink together with some Belgians

The tree is truly gigantic, unfortunately the bar-in-the-tree was destroyed when a storm broke off a large piece of the tree.

In the afternoon we drive through the Blyde River Canyon and we look for a camping spot, ultimately we find one in Graskop, at the Panorama View Chalets, an idyllic spot at the edge of the canyon.

Unfortunately before we arrive there we need to visit a garage, Milady has some electricity problems, charging failures, sometimes pose while driving and Sonja sometimes sees “fire” at her feet. Upon inspection by the mechanic the main cable from the alternator to the battery appears to short circuit and now is completely burned out, we were lucky that the car hasn’t caught fire … There is no more time to repair and we drive to the camp with the promise that we will get starting aid the next morning.
In the evening, it has now started to rain, we eat in the restaurant of the campsite, boboti for me (GJ) and a fish for Sonja.

A nice bottle of wine with our dinner, 100 Rand (€ 7)
Overnight it rains continuously and we have to fold up the tent soaked. Moments later, the car no longer starts, the son of the garage-owner, comes along with a battery. The morning we spend at Harrie’s Pancakes, it is still raining. When we arrive back at the garage mid-morning everything is fixed up, just some tie wraps to be attached and we can ride again.

We have lunch in Pilgrims Rest, a tourist-old mining village.

After lunch we drive towards Nelspruit

a nice ride with beautiful landscapes and nature. The rain stops and every now and then the sun comes through. Later we hear that Graskop is pretty much the wettest place in South Africa during the rainy season.

Meanwhile, we have contact via Facebook with Arine Prince, a Dutch woman living on (we call it) an estate with her two adult children, she is Land Rover crazy and has invited us to come along. We arrive there in the afternoon and are welcomed by Arine and her dogs. She even has a bed made up for us and we like to use it although we have set up the tent to dry. In the evening we make a party with the three of us with a glass of wine, a beer and music from the Black List (Zwarte Lijst) which is on our laptop.

We decide to stay an additional day enjoying Arine’s genuine hospitality and meeting daughter Ster and son Bear.

In the evening we make dinner, lasagna for all and tiramisu as a desert.

The next morning we drive towards Swaziland.

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