Transkei, Morgan Bay and Grahamstown
Trip Start Nov 24, 2008
15Trip End May 01, 2009
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After a relaxing time in Thandulula - the first night aside - we set off on the 7 hour drive to Morgan Bay, just north of East London. Along the way, not too far from Thandulula, we past through the Oribi Gorge which was stunning, despite the mirky conditions.
From there it was south through the Transkei (region), which took about five hours to pass though, and increased the blood flow levels for two reasons. Firstly, the Transkei is traditionally one of the less safe areas for people to pass through. The vast majority of people are indigenous and has a reputation for carjackings and the like, although it is thought to be a lot safer now than in the past. Having now been through it though, I'm very glad we didn't have a need to stop the car.
The second reason was the driving conditions. Jax sat in the drivers seat but negotiating those roads was definitely a two person job. Jax's role was to avoid the pot holes, endless pedestrians walking along and onto the highway, farm animals both alive and squished, other drivers that clearly have never sat a driving test and/or are drunk, and cope with endless hooligan taxi vans (the local's mode of transport) that think that two metres at 100khm is a safe following distance. On top of this we were driving through clouds a lot of the time and vis was often down to 50 metres. My role was also to look out for all of the above, plus to give Jax occasional pep talks and shoulder massages to keep her nerves in check. It wasn't all that enjoyable, but we made it through with out incident and onto Morgan Bay which made our effort all worthwhile!
Morgan Bay is a very small, coastal, river mouth town with a small hotel, shop, and handful of houses. Jax hadn't been back there for 16 years so it was a trip down memory lane for her. We stayed in the hotel and made it there just in time for the set, 5 course, seafood, evening meal, which was delish! We spent the following day on the beach - until the wind started blowing - and then by the pool before setting off for Grahamstown in the late afternoon.
The reason for the stop in Grahamstown was to spend a couple of days with Jax's step mum, Trix, and sister, Jen, and to meet Phil, Trix's new man. We stayed at Phil's place which was incredible! It's an old place (1900 = old by South African standards) with tons of character and is massive! It has 7 bedrooms, 3 living rooms, a huge kitchen, 12 foot ceilings and is in a 50m x 50m section. We had a great time with them all and it was really nice to finally meet Phil - we liked him very much.
From Grahamstown we made the 1 ½ hour trip down to Port Elizabeth to meet up with Jax's family of which you'll hear more about in our next installment.
Jax and Scott