Thursday, 20th September DAY 1
Dark, wet, windy and cold, Renette drops me off at Dudley’s house at 4.45am. We do our final packing into the sturdy, diesel Mitsubishi and soon after 5am we are on our way with the camping trailer in tow. Despite being fifteen years old and with over 200,000Km’s on the clock, the vehicle purrs smoothly making short work of hills.
We collect Chris James at 7am in Pietermaritzburg, squeeze more equipment into the vehicle and then set course northwards up the N3. The miserable weather persists all the way to Harrismith where we stop for brunch. Thereafter the sky clears with a dense haze and a brisk east wind blowing. Both Chris and Dudley are fonts of historic knowledge and all along the route interesting snippets of information surface. We sweep past Jo’burg and Pretoria at the planned times and soon we are on the N1 heading north across the incredibly flat Springbok Flats. We pass enormous green fields of wheat irrigated by centre pivots – an anomaly set amongst the bleak greys and browns of the highveld.
We are spending our first night in Modimolle with Dave McGaw. Dave is an ex-Rhodesian who taught for a number of years at Grantleigh and who joined me on occasional day trips to game reserves in Zululand. He has now retired to a housing estate a few Km’s out of town set in the bushveld. A beautiful 18 hole golf course makes this the most perfect retirement place for Dave.
Dave takes us in his golf cart for a tour of the property which is so picturesque. The golf course is dotted with dams which in the rainy season must be so attractive.
With a red bushveld sunset we join a knot of Dave’s resident friends on the banks of a dam where we enjoy a routine “sippies”.
Strangely many of these people came from Malawi.
In the gathering darkness we trundle home to a superb dinner which Dave has kindly laid on for us. Tomorrow we head for Botswana from where we enter Zims on Saturday.