From Bush to Border to Beach, via Mountains and Snow – the long drive home

Days : 23 & 24

Country : Zimbabwe (Gonarezhou) – South Africa (Polokwane – Dolphin Coast)

Distance : 1532 km (621 km + 911 km)

I have combined our last two days into a single post since all we really did was drive. This means that the witty repartee and interesting situations were limited to breaking wind and old corny jokes!

The cool weather continued and we packed up camp and had breakfast while fortified by cups of hot coffee. Once we were done packing we did one last sweep round of the camp site for litter before we hit the road, arriving at the main gate about an hour later.

As we pulled in to the main gate to unload our trash bags I received a call from the wife who informed us that it had been snowing heavily on the Drakensberg and for us to check the traffic reports to make sure Van Reenan’s pass was open. This explained the windy and cold weather we had experienced the previous day and that morning. Even the guard at the gate commented on how unnaturally cold it was (down to about 5C overnight).

The rest of the trip to Polokwane was fairly uneventful – bar being almost fined for speeding (in Zim) and spending an hour and a half trying to get through the South African side of the border. We had forgotten that our day of arrival back was also a public holiday in SA so the border traffic was horrendous.

That night was spent just outside Polokwane at a hotel (bloody luxury) where we had the first hot shower for what seemed like weeks (but was only 6 days…).

The next morning we pressed on early only stopping in Midrand for brunch and fuel. Keeping an ear to the traffic reports and cellphone calls to the AA re-assured us that the pass at Van Reenan was open so we stuck to the main roads.

As we got close to Harrismith we started seeing the snow that had fallen two days previously. True to form, all the South African holiday makers travelling down to Durban were stopping to build snowmen and have snow fights on the side of the road.

You can see we don’t have snow too often up here!

The same applied to Nottingham Road where the travellers were mostly on their way up from the coast – more snowmen, more pictures of small kids crying in the ice cold while doting parents said ‘Smile’ and clicked away on phones, cameras and videos…

Finally, in the mid afternoon, we pulled into Hillcrest where we said a sad farewell to Kwacha Man as we handed him over to his better half before we rejoined the highway south.

An hour later we finally arrived at Sharpies place (where he was mobbed by some zealous wench who obviously digs him quite a bit). While were unpacking Barefoot was accosted by his better half – all smiles and hugs.

Once the great unpack was done, luggage claimed and handed over, we bid a sombre farewell to each other and parted ways for a hot bath/shower and a good nights sleep in our barely remembered beds with our partners of note.

Finally, after 3 1/2 weeks, someone I could spoon with !!!

PS Final wrap-up to come including distance travelled, game and birds seen etc.

Eye Say Cheers !!!

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