The African Adventure
Monday 8 August 2005
Pezula Resort, Knysna - Protea Hotel Marine, Port Elizabeth
After a very relaxing rest day at the fabulous Pezula Resort, day five's route took us up into the Baviaanskloof Wilderness Area rich in wildlife. Magnificent views were witnessed by all as we climbed the mountain pass towards the area.
The gravel mountain pass started off much like the gravel passes we have become accustomed to the last few days, but after the trip had clocked up 200km the road became increasingly slower and more bumpy. It was an absolutely fabulous route and excellent fun. At the trickiest part we only managed to cover 20km in one hour, giving us an exciting driving challenge. We bumped into many participants on the way, all were thrilled that the route took them on this authentic 4x4 path.
Arriving at the top of the pass felt like we had reached the top of the world, although it was only 1,500 metres high. As you looked out over the landscape it felt like the rolling hills and mountains were never ending, being able to see for miles and miles.
During the day we saw superb flora and many beautiful animals including: tortoise, monkeys, brightly coloured funk birds, impalas and a leopard (this however, happened to be stuffed at a general store)!
The highlight of our day must have been meeting the incredibly friendly locals we met on a number of occasions. The first we encountered was the owner of a very remote fuel station and store. We stopped at her store to stock up on provisions for lunch on the move but instead of selling us sandwiches she invited us in to have lunch, at her farmhouse down the track, with her and her husband. Unfortunately, we didn't have time to stopped so she packed us in our way with freshly made spam sandwiches.
After we had joined asphalt again 90km down the gravel track at a citrus farm, we decided to stop and eat our sandwiches at the side of the road. All of a sudden a local orange picker appeared from the bushes and offered us three oranges, which we were delighted to accept. As a gesture of good will we gave him R5.00. On receiving this money he ran off - we assumed he had gone to buy tobacco (as this is what he had told us the money would be used for) but reappeared a short while later with thirty more. He wouldn't accept any more money but his eyes lit up when we offered him one of our spam sandwiches.
Finally, we picked up the fast road and pulled into Port Elizabeth a short while after only to be joined by all participants who experienced no problems and were all smiles - an adventurous day was definitely had by all.