Although we only had 9 days left until our plane left back home we used them quite efficiently driving another 2000 km in a rental car visiting Sowetho - the Cradle of Humankind -the Blyde River Canyon - the Kruger Park and finally went surfing at in the Sondwana Bay at the Indian Ocean.
Here a summary of the last week as an ordinary tourist:
We woke up with a bit of a headache the next morning and went straight to the Budget car rental place downtown Sandton. It turned out the car was not available yet so we missed the 10:00 am Soweto bike tour we wanted to join. Instead we saw how security guards beat up a homeless crippled person who was not supposed to be begging in the clean streets of Sandton. Once we picked up the car we drove downtown Johannesburg which is truly a scary place. We left it as fast as we could to go to Soweto the largest Shanty town in Africa. It is possible to explore the black district of Johannesburg on a guided bike tour which is said to be safe. We drank the local brewed beer in one of the local “pubs”, which was nothing more than a wooden shack. Also we cycled passed the house where Nelson Mandela used to live before and just after he was arrested.
apparently famous tours in Sowetho
dressed locally in a traditional pub in Sowetho
bicycle tour through Sowetho neighborhoods
Mandela's former home
On Monday we left Johannesburg to visit the Cradle of Humankind. It is an area where fossils of up to million years old ancestors of humans where found. We spent the night in the middle of the country in a beautiful chalet that we had to heat by firewood. The temperatures go below 0 Celsius in the night in this time of the year.
After a great ham and eggs breakfast we visited the caves where they found most human fossils. In the afternoon we continued to drive for 7 hours to reach Graskop at the Blydre Canyon. We stayed in a backpackers. It was freezing outside.
Early in the morning started driving along the Blydre canyon. Along the road we stopped at stunning viewpoints into the canyon.
not so elegant
views into the Blyde River Canyon
In the late afternoon we arrived in the Kruger park. We still had one hour to do a game drive before we had to be at our booked campsite. We could not believe our eyes when we suddenly saw a leopard walking slowly across the road a few meters in front of our car.
At sunset we arrived at the campsite where we pitched our small tiny tent next to all the highly equipped South African campers. At that moment we really missed Elli with the rooftop tent. We barbequed a huge rump steak which was delicious and spent the rest of the night talking at our small fireplace beneath the stars.
At sunrise we packed our stuff and went on a 11 hours game drive through the Kruger Park. Towards the end we saw Rhinos, Hippos and again a leopard right next to the road. That was definitely the last National Park we visited on our long trip. What a great finish.
We left the park and found a cheap but unfortunately quite dirty little hut to stay in not far from the park exit.
The next day we decided to drive 500 km to Sodwana Bay at the Western Coast to spent the last days of our long trip at the beach. On the way we had to cross the tiny country of Swaziland. Seeing the young kids at the side of the road we were sadly reminded that apparently 50 percent of the population of Swaziland is HIV positive leaving many orphans behind which also most likely are infected.
In the dark we arrived in Sodwana Bay. After searching for a long while for accommodation we met Jonathan who was the temporary manager of a backpackers place. In his confused and witty way he led us to an eco lodge, which was bascially a shack without electricity. After we lid some candles it was a nice and cheap last place to stay the last 3 nights of our trip.
The next day Jonathan took us out surfing and at night to a concert with local more or less talented musicians and a completely drunk audience.
At our last night in Africa we walked along at the beautiful beach and felt thankful for the privilege to have been able to spent the last 5 month together on this beautiful journey.