We set off from the Wild Coast heading for somewhere north of Durban, our destination is Swaziland. This quickly changes as two facts come to light. The first is that we are almost up to 10,000 km or 6,200 miles on this trip and under the terms of the rental agreement we need to have the vehicle serviced, the second is when we finally get onto a freeway with a 120km maximum speed limit after a few weeks on slow roads, our wheel balance has gone again, 105km per hour is our new top speed.
New plan, we will go to Johannesburg on a more direct route. After a short stop north of Durban, Anne finds a spot to stay in the Drakensburg en route to Johannesburg, and yes it’s another world heritage site for us. We have our last night in the 4×4 that has been our home for the last 7 weeks, and after all the sun in Namibia and Botswana we are treated to a mountain evening storm with hail, but we keep warm and dry.
It seems hard to imagine as we come to the end of this trip that we have been away for four and a half months. Ordinations, Christenings, Motorcycle and 4×4 trips and family and friends have filled our time from Europe to Africa. As we start to wind down and prepare to give everything a good clean to pass the eagle eyed Australian Customs inspection, we have a little time to reflect on what we have seen and done.
This is the first time in decades that we have paid more than a fleeting visit to South Africa. In reflecting on what we have seen, we note the progress in the provision of sewerage, water and power to many homes, but also the deterioration of existing infastructure. How does one balance out the respective benefits of allocating finite resources? I certainly do not know. What one can hope for, is the on-going robust democratic process (yes, it is a democratic process even if there are massive corruption problems everywhere), a strong press (we were pleasantly surprised to see how brutally open the press is in its criticism of the corruption and nepotism) and the optimism we found in young people who have grown up only knowing the ‘rainbow nation’ to tackle the challenges facing South Africa. While the corruption, level of violence and run down feel are all palpable and undeniable issues, we choose to remember and believe the optimistic young generation we met will one day manage to swing the pendulum to a more equitable balance.
We have enjoyed this varied trip, and found it interesting to compare our motorcycle and 4×4 trips. While the 4×4 provides comfort and space to carry more ‘stuff’, we have no doubt that our preferred method of travel is motorcycle. The primary reason is the connection we have with people on the motorcycle just does not exist when you are in a car/4×4. We feel a strong sense of separation from the world around us in our 4×4, so while we were able to visit places not accessible by motorbike , it is not our preferred form of travel.
So we sign off wishing our followers a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, we do not know what 2017 holds, but I am sure we will be back on the road somewhere.
– Anne & Anthony