My Southern African Road trip day 13, Tuesday 10 December 2013- Port Shepstone to Port St John’s


Breakfast with Thomas and Marta was nice.  And it was a good thing they took me to a place to buy a rain suit, because it was as rainy as ever.  Thomas warned me that although it was warm in Port Shepstone, the Transkei, where I was heading through, would be a good 10 degrees Celcius colder.  I don’t know why I didn’t believe him.  I should have listened to him and gotten gloves.  Before hitting the long road, I visited the lighthouse.  I was glad that even though I didn’t go to Durban, at least I’d touched the province of Kwazulu Natal.

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Port Shepstone lighthouse

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And then took a pic passing Shelley Beach.  I could not figure out how to get to the actual beach.

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After this, it started raining badly.

I never realized how bad it would be coming over the Transkei Hills.  If I’d had any sense, I would have waited the rain out in Port Shepstone.  The route between Port Shepstone and Port St Johns was once again, mountain pass upon mountain pass upon mountain pass.  Thats the Transkei.  Silly me, knew NOTHING about South Africa I tell you.  The mist was so thick, that visibility was less than 5 m, and it was raining on top of that, cats and dogs!  Honestly, I don’t know how I managed to stay alive.  Because if the weather wasn’t bad enough, there were wild mini bus taxis to make it more exciting.  If you’ve ever seen anything more pretty than the Transkei, in SA, you need to tell me about it please.  It was surreal.  Like storybook stuff of my childhood.  It was such a pity that because of the bad weather, I could not appreciate all of it.

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Two locals who also think the Transkei is great

About 50 km from Port St Johns Pick n Pay put a sign up saying something like “168 more turns left.”    Shoo, what a soulkiller in the rain.  And then halfway through, when you’ve managed to kid yourself that there can’t be too many turns left, they remind you again that there’s still about a million and one left.  Its like you hope it will just end.  In that bad weather at least.  Visibility was really bad and it was raining hard, so I could not ride with my visor up like I usually do in the mist.  Then there are animals which can just be trotting over the road at any time.  It happened a couple of times to me.  I really thought I would hit a young cow one time.

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Flooded, I’m not sure where this is, but its one of the towns between the hills of Transkei

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See the flooding

When I finally arrived in Port St Johns and took the turn in, I was met with the most horrible potholed, eaten out road I’d ever seen.  Worse than anything in Lesotho.  This coupled with serious flooding in places. Then there was the steep wet sandy pathway up to the backpackers.  When I was 1/4 way up that path, there was just no turning back, so I just went up, all the time wondering how the hell I was going to get down there again.  But I thought I would worry about rolling down that hill when the time came for that.

Madiba’s funeral would be on the 15th in Umtata.  I considered sticking around, because Umtata was like 50 km away.  On the other hand I was so tired, and I was sure it would be an impossibility to get into Umtata unless I went in the next couple of days and stuck around there somehow.  Umtata’s was going to be so full and crazy busy.  And I think that there was no way any civilians would be able to get anywhere near the funeral.  From what people told me, Umtata is already incredibly busy on any normal day.  I also met a nice looking chap, from Durban.  He seemed sweet, and was good for keeping warm a bit, for one night only.  It was about time I think.   After all that life experience on the road.

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