Mud, rain, (and some awesome beach time in between)
10/15/08 - 11/15/08
So, yes, we are still in South Africa. When we arrived here, originally, we had planned on breezing through and then overlanding up to Kenya. But it is so beautiful here, and there is so much to see, that we have decided to take it slow, instead, and really get to know and fully enjoy this country.
We are currently in Hogsback, a small mountain town that is known for inspiring JRR Tolkein with the Lord of the Ring series (he grew up nearby). We are hiking and soaking up the gorgeous scenery out of a hostel called "Away with the Fairies" (Raminder had qualms about the name, but has been reassured as there are lots of manly men here and "Fairies" apparently really does mean the mythical flying creatures not, well...) Anywho, we are camping here, as we have been doing for about half the time so far in S. Africa. The hostels actually have campsites set up, and this costs about 1/2 the price of a room. So we are happy!
We finished a mega hike about 3 days ago. There is an area of South Africa called the Wild Coast known for rural villages, beautiful coastline, and not a lot of infrastructure. We heard about a 5 day hike you can do through coastal indigenous villages, and we signed up! We wanted to hike sans-guide b/c we are generally pretty antisocial and a bit cheap, too. But as it turned out, a guide was only $17 a day, and was recommended by everyone we spoke to due to the fact that language would have been a barrier, and we would have gotten really lost. And honestly, without our guide, we would probably still be there, lost and confused.
The hike was as amazing as we hoped. We were constantly going either up or down hill, which was hell on our legs, but helped me fit into a pair of pants that I couldn't before. We got a true taste of African village life, as well. We slept on mattresses on the hard packed dirt floors of huts, and had simple dinners of rice, cabbage, and small pieces of chicken (meat b/c we were paying guests...). And good Lord, whoever said roosters only crow at dawn was dead wrong. Because they cock-a-doodle-doo all night, and the sheep answer, and the dogs bark, and... By the third day, the hundredth rooster, the hundredth and first goat call, Raminder and I were thinking wistfully about warm baths, hotel rooms, and how maybe we need a new definition of "roughing it". I can own this: I am more high maintenance than I thought.
The hike was meant to last 5 days, but on the 3rd night of village life, a thunderstorm came, and the rain stayed. The rivers would have been too high to cross, even with the men who ferry you across in rowboats, so we called the rest of the hike off. This meant taking public transport back to our homebase. Which consists of a pickup truck with a shell that is never full. At ten people including ourselves, our bags, and a random jug of stinky kerosene some dude had, Raminder and I said there is no way anyone else can fit in here. And then we picked up 3 more people. We could not move one centimeter for 2 hours on a potholed filled dirt road in a truck meant for 5 that was holding 13! So we made it, and have enjoyed being in a town with a grocery store for the last 3 days.
We plan to be in S. Africa for another 3 weeks or so. Then, who knows? Rest assured that we are eating and drinking well, sleeping pretty well, and enjoying ourselves immensely. And we will be eating a Thanksgiving feast even if we have to cook it ourselves! So happy Turkey day, and we will try to keep in touch. BTW, the photo thing is difficult, it takes a LONG time to download them (if we are even allowed to at the computer we are at) and this adds us to beaucoup bucks. And too much time on the computer. So we'll do our best and try to upload what we can once we have things figured out.
You can see photos (I hope) at this link: