When the heavens opened!!

Royal Natal National Park Travel Blog

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The Locals

Leaving Prays we (me) decided that a straight line approach was best to get down to the famous Drakensburg mountains that is part of North Lesotho, motorway riding was also very boring.  We hit the dirt in no time and some mud.  It was time to test ol Katie with two up and the extra weight.  I was a little nervous to start with and Paulina was new to riding on the back.  On some of the nicer sections I told her to stand up and to get a feel for the bike as we rode, we discussed the way to ride together, how to take my lead and the do’s and don’ts.  It was more interesting going through the small towns than the main highways.  We got a few looks from the locals, both white and mostly black as we rode through the dusty old wooden painted buildings and every town seemed to have a nicely kept church at its heart.  Hanging about the streets was mostly the black people with the whites seemingly going about today’s tasks.

Don’t feed the BIG monkey!
Crossing under the N3 toll road we headed into the Drakensburg via the large Sterkfontein dam, it was still chilli. 

 

The mountains were an impressive impregnable sight into the Kingdom of Lesotho, a place where the black people (ANC and other organisations at the time) would run to after an attack on the whites and the apartheid system.  We meet a guy who used to patrol this area back then and said it was an impossible task.  Nowadays I was told it’s cattle that would disappear across the border from the South African farms. 

 

Speaking about the white farmers here in South Africa, over the past 5years over 3000 has been killed…raped and killed.

Let it pour…
  There is many land disputes where locals can lay claim to land and get if they can prove it belonged to them in the past.  There is much resentment against the white farmers and the ANC Youth League, Julius Malema, encourages a song that says “one farmer, one bullet”.  This is a leader the African youth is listening too and a leader who didn’t finish basic schooling.  This can only mean trouble…  When the ANC came to power they promised its people free houses and free electric, an impossible task, an impossible promise.

 

We went to the Royal Natal Park (World Heritage Site) for camping.  We meet another biker (BMW-these things are everywhere in this part of the world!), we saw him on the road that day also.

Looking out from the Drakensburg
  After a chat and speaking with a park ranger we decided to ride to get some pizza 10km away at a local lodge, no cooking in our small two pan set tonight.  It was getting dark as we rode out with heavy clouds up above.  I had a front light out and my extra HIDs lights were not working, something to repair another day, I was almost tempted to tell Anny that we would return and have a quite one in the park but once on the bike it’s difficult to stop.  We parked up and sat outside on the veranda waiting for our pizza when the heavens OPENED!  It seemed all the rains I’d missed on the way down decided this was the place they would fall and fall it would that night.  It forced people inside from the spray created as the rain drops bounced on the trees, tin roof and ground.  Soon rivers of dirty water were flowing outside as we watched.  Anny didn’t like the angle of his bike on the side stand and was afraid it would fall over as the ground became soft underneath.  He spoke with the owner then dashed over to his bike and rode it up a steep cement incline under the cover of a neighbouring veranda.  I still held out from getting wet, I had welded an extra piece of metal to my side stand giving it a bigger foot print up in Gambia for the soft sand.  It was raining and thunder for about 2hours, we eat our pizza and chatted when the lodge got a call from a Park Ranger to tell the bikers that left that night not to return.  The roads were flooded.  I ran out and rode my bike under cover thinking at least she had a good wash!

 

The lodge had no spare rooms, they were all taken.  Anny, a retired and disillusioned police officer, was speaking Africanise to another guy inside, he had two rooms and offered to let us have one and moved his children to his own room.  This generosity from the Africanise people would be demon straighted again and again.  We rode our bikes around to the cover of the lodging for the night with Paulina and me sharing the double bed and Anny making a bed on the floor with the sofa cushions and blankets.  We had a good and dry nights sleep, the sky was clear and blue in the morning.  I couldn’t help but notice Anny was packing a pistol on his side for his few days trip to the Drakensburg, he said he feels much safer with it the way things are in South Africa.  Again this is some of the things we would hear about a lot in our time in South Africa.

 

Back at the tent it wasn’t washed away as I thought it might, it was pitched in a good spot with no water running through it and the fly sheet held up against the down pore but I was still glad we had a roof over our head last night.

 

We spent another night in the park and woman came over with some food they had leftover, they were leaving and though we would like it.  Fault finding my lights on the bike found a blown bulb and fuse, an easy fix.

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The Locals
The Locals
Don’t feed the BIG monkey!
Don’t feed the BIG monkey!
Let it pour…
Let it pour…
Looking out from the Drakensburg
Looking out from the Drakensburg
Royal Natal National Park
photo by: Sjoshie