Day 19 Cathedral Peak to Phinda Game Reserve; 281kms
Two medal sections today on dirt roads. We were out of the Hotel by 7.20 and winding down the mountain roads past many, many school kids walking by the side of the road. The school uniforms are misleading. It was raining and a lot of them didn’t have rain coats. The villages now have cement or mud brick huts, some even with a solar panel, but I’m sure it’s a hard life. I shook a little boys hand and it was so rough. A lot of them have to work, carting water, wood and helping the parents.
The tests were on open dirt roads and you had to be careful of the incoming cars. Luckily the road was in good condition. Gunther didn’t thrash it too much and we reached the other side without mishap.
As we moved into Zululand the scenery became more and more vast and impressive, with rock escarpments, high rolling hills and wide valleys. The people became more unfriendly until a big rock landed in our windscreen. The kids were aggressive and I was wondering what the hell was different until I read the history of the war between the Zulu’s and the British.
Our passage check was at Rorke’s Drift which is in the heart of KwaZulu-Natal’s historic battlefield where there was much bloodshed between the British and the Zulu’s in 1879. After a massive defeat of the British by the Zulu’s, where a whole regiment was wiped out, the remaining 139 men retreated to Rorke’s Drift, (35 of them sick), and there they held off 4,000 Zulu warriors with biscuit tins and mealie bags used as a barricade.
Maybe the kids are still angry about that! One can see the Zulu fighting blood, that’s for sure. Only a few places have been like that. We can deal with a few cheeky kids though and if we stopped they’d run a mile. And when they’re faces break into a smile it’s wonderful.
On the whole the kids and the people have been a lot of fun and everyone loves the cars coming through. We are feeling very special again and luckily we had some postcards made which we can give them. They love that!
We stopped for petrol at a tiny outpost and the only toilet was in a morgue, with coffins big and small (which was a little confronting to see) and next to the loo was a big fridge. At least if anything had happened on a test section we would have been right for refrigeration.
We would never have had an experience like we had in the chaos of Nongoma if we’d been driving a white 4X4 Highluxwith the windows up and the air conditioning on.
We hit the chaos with Tilly making a fuss as we stood 5 cars deep and six across at an intersection that was pure Africa. People everywhere, cars in grid lock, loud African music playing, stalls selling fruit, corn roasting on the side of the road and everyone pointing and laughing at the car. We were in the thick of it and they loved Tilly. What an experience! Full blown life.