Friday, 7th June
Our booking was to be until the 16th June ending off at Lower Sabie. For a number of pressing reasons, we have decided to curtail our 150 day long trip earlier and head for home. I emphasise that this is not because of any boredom or tiring of the lifestyle that we have led these past five months. We have loved every moment of it and cannot wait to return.
So on Thursday afternoon, we pack up and set off for Lower Sabie, some two hours distant and which we reach at 5pm. On a serene winter’s afternoon we cross the Sabie bridge at sunset.
Without unhitching the caravan, we spend the night setting out early for home on Friday.
I have recently been reading about the behaviour of impala. You are all familiar with how a springbok “pronks”. An impala on the other hand “stots” – a rocking motion whereby it lands first on its forefeet then its hind feet again repeatedly. They do this particularly if they have a wild-dog in sight so as to demonstrate their agility and discourage attack.
Down the road from Lower Sabie where the road leaves the river, we see an impala come “stotting” across the road with a wild-dog closely in pursuit. Both are quickly lost to view in the bush but a second dog then crosses in front of us. What an interesting sight.
The cost of petrol in Swaziland is over R4 less than what it is in SA so I always try and plan accordingly. My idea is to miss the atrocious Siteki road, taking a detour via Manzini. This necessitates filling with petrol at Simunye, near Hlane at the top end of Swaziland. But arriving there, we find the filling station in the process of being demolished. So with little petrol left in the tank and not knowing if there is other fuel available along the way, we are forced to take the shortest route possible to Big Bend – along the perilous Siteki road.
We take 80 minutes to traverse this 38Km road along teeth-rattling corrugations, bone-shaking potholes, with clouds of dust and cunningly concealed speed lumps and our precious caravan bouncing along behind. We mercifully come to the end of the road and I note with some disbelief a brand new grader parked next to the road, unused despite the road’s condition.
Otherwise the trip goes smoothly and we reach the caravan park in Salt Rock at 5pm – a good 11 hours after we set out from Lower Sabie. Fortunately, driving does not tire me and I take it in my stride.
Renette and I love travelling and we enjoy so much life in the caravan. So whilst we can, we intend to make the most of it. We have rented out our home at Simbithi Eco Estate at Ballito for the rest of the year to a very decent couple, freeing us up to travel. Nothing is planned but, God willing, we have within our sights, visiting friends in KZN, David, Steph and family in Jo’burg, Werner and Noleen in the Freestate, John, Sherri and family, Mountain Zebra, Karoo, Bontebok, Storms River and Addo National Parks in the Cape, Gareth and Sarah in England and then back to Kruger in November/December. I will be posting our experiences on my website as we go along.
Finally, I will be sending out a summary of this absolutely joyous trip that we have just completed to our beloved Kruger Park. We have been very privileged and very blessed and I do hope that you have enjoyed sharing with us our experiences.