I decided to make my first drive to the Drakensberg Mountains, without any male company, and was accompanied by a female friend. We had booked this holiday a month in advance, and we were pretty excited about it since neither of us have been to the Drakensberg before. So we packed up our stuff in my car began our road trip. I know that people often say “Never have expectations because things never work out the way you imagined” and this rang true in the course of the day. The trip from JHB to the drakies should have only taken us a whole 3-4 hours. But it turns out that was not to be.
You see we decided to trust technology, and this was a bad bad idea. Our Garmin listed the names of all the hotels in the area and we saw what we assumed was our hotel since it does not have a very common name. So we calmly follow the directions of the British sounding voice that guided us to what one can only define as a Dorpie. We reached our so called hotel only to be faced with the image of a crumbling building that looks like the kinda of establishment R50 hookers bring their clientele to. We both burst into laughter because clearly this was not the 4 star hotel that we saw on the internet. We then consulted the good old map that we had with us and tried to navigate our way to the “real hotel”. We were pretty calm at this point and the panic only set in when we realized that we were surrounded by Free State number plates and promptly realized that we were in Qwa-Qwa. My co pilot had not known there was even a place called Qwa-Qwa. In this rural area, our Garmin went all spastic and kept repeating recalculating. This made even more nervous than I already was.
The trip was about to get better, we were then pulled over by the metro police of Qwa-Qwa. I couldn’t believe that I found a roadblock like the horrid ones on Sandton Drive in this place. After our delightful encounter with the police, we went up a mountain, down a mountain, saw some cows, went up a mountain and then low and behold! The road ends and we end up on a paved road leading to unknown realms. We promptly made a U –turn.
SO! We down a mountain, saw some cows, went up a mountain, went down a mountain and got stopped in the same roadblock. Yes, its true. A new cop came up to me, and I started to get all defensive since I had just been pulled over. He looked at me like I was strange and said, “I greeted you and you didn’t greet back, I like your car”. I realized that Qwa-Qwa cops were friendly chaps. We told him we were lost and he proceeded to tell us that we were suppose to carry on the paved road to the unknown and we would find our hotel there. I smoked a cigarette.
We went up a mountain, down a mountain, took pictures of our friends the cows, went up a mountain, drove on the paved road and reached what looked like a gateway to a mountain covered in mist. We decided to check with the security guy before driving on and he proceeded to tell us that we were far from where we were suppose to be. But luck was on our side and we were rescued by four 4 x 4’ s ( who said all good things come in three) filled with guys and one aunty in a scarf and the customary Tupperware of sandwiches. They offered to lead the way to rest and a bathroom. Just so you know, the need to pee was great.
We thought the worse was over when we eventually found the main road; we let our rescuers speed off since we were unable to keep up with their need for speed. By the way, they were sweet enough to wait for us at the turn we were supposed to take for like an hour. My friend didn’t get their numbers, that’s what happens when you don’t do things yourself!! The simple turn that was suppose to take us to the hotel was infested with potholes and when we eventually dodged more cows and kids trying to sell us handmade wares, we arrived at our destination.
The holiday turned out to be pretty great after that, with the exception of a crying German baby that kept us up all night, a blonde type that Hitler would be proud of. It was the perfect Arian child and could torment you too (We requested a new room).
A holiday to remember, the highlights were meditating on a mountain, and using every single tile we had in a game of Scrabble…. This could be why we were mistaken for English Teachers. The Department of education dinner was being held at the hotel and lets just say the Geek in me arose. I scared kids. They thought I was going to give them homework.
But as we know it is the adventure that makes the journey worth while