After the journey up the Sani Pass into Lesotho, we drove to the east side of Lesotho to another part of the Drakensberg Mountains. In a very Africa moment, the most direct route was also a gravel road with giant ass potholes through small towns in the mountains. When we departed the bottom of the Sani Pass the sign read 60 km of gravel road. I think that sign lied because that road felt way longer than 60 km. Maybe in SA, the signs are just suggestions or approximations of the actual distance you will be driving. I could have turned back, but I honestly didn’t think it would be so bad.
A lot of the road was just bumpy, but at one point I cleared a huge ass pothole that could have swallowed my car. My friend and I are still uncertain how we managed to clear it without totally destroying a tire or our alignment. All in all it was quite a ride and I was so glad as the kilometers went by from 60 to 0 and we made it back to a tar road.
We did make it to our final destination, the amazing Inkosana Lodge, complete with incredible views, a cozy atmosphere, and an owner who knew all the hiking trails in the area.
After quickly checking us in, he asked if we wanted to hike and how far. We told him a good distance was good and he recommended a 4 hour loop. As it was in the afternoon already we had to book over to the trail head to complete the circuit in time. We were happy to be out and about, though, because we’d been cooped up in cars for about 2.5 days getting to all of our destinations. Hiking in the Drakensberg was amazing and we got to see multiple waterfalls and different terrain. We hiked as the sun went down, but made it out in time to get our car past the gate before it closed. It was a lovely afternoon.
After a full day of hiking we went to dinner nearby at a restaurant with a blazing fireplace and Gluhwein, i.e. mulled wine, which was perfect for chilly winter night. We then went back and hung out next to the wood burning stove at the lodge while drinking crisp ciders and reading travel magazines. It was a glorious night.
The next morning after an incredible shower with a rain flow shower head in our rondavel and an incredible breakfast spread we departed.
The road out was similar to the road in complete with gravel roads galore. The added joy was all the road construction where the road was actually rattling the teeth in my mouth. THe crazy thing was only 1 lane was open so we had to pass the construction in a line. Most SA drivers are not patient people and so they were not impressed with my 20 km/hr. They began to pass me without impunity on the closed part of the road cutting over when the berm between the two sides was too steep. It was crazy. We did make it back without damage to the car, so that is positive. The Ford Fiesta was a champ.
One nice thing was that the enthusiastic owner of Inkosana had told us about a good cafe to stop at partway through our journey. We took his advice because he hadn’t led us astray yet and stopped at the Coyote Cafe for a coffee and a snack on the road to Joburg to return the rental car.
For all pictures of the Drakensberg, go here.