Port of St. Johns/Underberg, Drakensberg, Day 43-Pete drove across the boundary of the Eastern Cape today and into KwaZulu-Natal, Zululand. We climbed into the mountains (4950 feet) into the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg National Park, a World Heritage site. The first part of the name is Zulu, meaning ‘Battlement of Spears’. The second part is Africaan’s, meaning ‘Dragon Mountains’. Both names fit the mysterious, 2430 sq-km range of jagged basalt, buttresses jutting into the sky. We were so happy to get up into the mountains with the cooler, less humid air.
Ivan, a native South African was our N’taba host and proprietor. He was a wealth of information about where to go and what to do. Of course we had to discuss a little US politics. It’s embarrassing that people we’ve talked with in South Africa know more about the process than I do and everyone is fascinated by Tump. Ivan is such a friendly and congenial person, he’s definitely in the right business. This morning was beautiful, but the sun quickly became blazing hot and the air was thick with humidity. When we stopped for gas, I thought I’d expire before the tank was filled. Pete wanted to put his toes in the Indian Ocean, so we drove down to Second beach. There isn’t any swimming, because the Zambezi sharks have moved into the local ocean and river. They are an aggressive shark that moved from the Zambezi River in search of food. The beach is a hang out for some of the local cows. Speaking of cows, we came around a corner in the mountains and two cattle were standing in the middle of the highway. Pete swerved to the left and the man behind us swerved to the right, laughing all the way.
The Africans living in the country seem to be much better off than those living in the city townships. In the country there are small farm holdings where maize, squash, goats and cattle can be raised. The housing is much more substantial and there seems to be quite a bit of pride of ownership. The little round huts with the traditional thatched roofs are called, in Afrikaans, Rondavels. The Rondavels in farm country are used as outbuildings, but originally were family living quarters.
A lovely evening, as you can see from the featured photo, at The Old Hatchery lodge and restaurant. Great hosts, delicious curried lamb and spacious, comfortable accommodations. Unfortunately we didn’t have hot water in the morning, but as we’d just sat in the car all day, a sponge bath sufficed.
Just had to add this photo of driving through the city of Flagstaff on our way to Underberg. The other side of the road was just as congested.