November 13, 2011-Drive Across the High Veld
Drive Across the High Veld
Our red Merc thundered down the mountain at 145km with the silver VW right on our tail. Out of the Great Karoo we came, headed for the coast, and we could smell the barn, Port Elizabeth, where Wings was moored just four hundred klicks to the South, and we pressed on to make it by dinner time.
We’d flown back to Durban to pick up the car and after a wonderful curry dinner with the warm friends from Nepenthe and Windancer Thursday night we headed out Friday morning, climbing NW out of Durban up onto the Central Plateau of South Africa.
Up here on the High Veld the road flies straight and true and we watched out the car’s windows as mile after mile of low hills and waving grass reminding us of Eastern Washington or Nebraska, or Iowa, rolled by and we easily maintained a high speed and cut the huge arc around Lesotho and through the Free State towards Bloemfontein, arriving by late afternoon.
Religion in the Morning
A hotel, called the City Lodge, and a steak dinner at the Mexican Restaurant which has no Mexican food but does have excellent beef, and we slept well after our drive. Saturday morning found us up at dawn and atop the local viewpoint, Naval Hill, at sunrise, surrounded by religious Afrikaners standing on the rock wall holding bibles or replicas of Gabriel’s horn shouting at God over Bloemfontein’s rooftops in a language which sounded a lot like Hebrew to me but I guess it wasn’t.
Back on the turnpike, headed towards Cape Town, we upped the speed. Straight roads and few cars made us feel we could cruise at any speed the Merc was happy at and it seemed to like 140.
The road to Port Elizabeth branched off at Colesberg and we turned left and started our descent. From the five thousand feet of the Central Pleateau, where it was cool dry and we were glad for the heater, we dropped to 1500ft and rolled out of the hills which looked like Arizona or New Mexico, onto the flat and dry Karoo desert where we needed bit more cool air and we switched on the air conditioning.
Church in Cradock
We had lunch in Cradock, which is where we picked up the VW, and he stayed with us as the road took its final drop out of the Karoo and down to the green coastal hills where the sweeping curves encouraged the Merc to stretch its legs before slowing for the traffic on the coast highway into Port Elizabeth.
The VW turned off at Alicedale and we came on into town on our own by 17:30.
A good run for a couple of days.
Fred & Judy, SV Wings, Port Elizabeth, SA