Friday, November 26, 2010

"Are we really in Africa?"

On the way home from Kruger, Elaine and I decided to take the "Panoramic Route" which included a drive through the Drakensburg Mountains and Blyde Canyon. From what I had seen on the internet I expected the scenery to be beautiful, but it was actually better than I could have imagined. Elaine and I must have asked ourselves "are we really in Africa?" hundreds of times. The drive was breathtaking as we winded our way through the canyon, across acres of farmland and rolling green hills. One of the most popular scenic points is called God's Window and is literally a perfect hole in the canyon that gives you a glimpse of the beautiful landscape below. Unfortunately, our view was blocked by fog so thick we couldn't even see 5 feet in front of us. I am pretty sure we were so high on that mountain that we were actually in the clouds. Even though the weather wasn't the best, we were still able to enjoy the drive and stopped in a couple of towns along the route. One of them was called Pilgrim's Rest and is a fully restored historical sight that is literally frozen in the early 1900's! Again, I found myself asking "where the heck am I?". Before coming to South Africa I imagined vast deserts and brush with flat canopy trees everywhere (and maybe an elephant or lion on the side of the dirt roads). I never expected to find such vast terrain and stunning settings. This really has to be one of the most beautiful countries in the world.

PhotobucketPhotobucketAfter leaving Pilgrim's Rest, we decided we better head back to Jo'burg as the weather had yet to improve and it was getting dark. I was slightly stunned to realize that we still had a 4.5 hour drive ahead of us, considering we had already driven over 2 hours and it only took us 5 hours to get to Kruger. Although, I knew the "Panoramic Route" was a slightly longer drive I didn't do a very good job of figuring out how much longer. I was slightly concerned to be getting into Jo'burg so late at night but was comforted that the roads and route felt safe. About half-way down the mountain, Elaine asked how we were doing on gas. My heart stopped as I looked at the gas gauge to find that we were on 'E'! I'm not sure how you forget to check such an important feature before heading out onto long stretches of nowhere but up until that moment the gas hadn't even crossed my mind! Thank goodness for GPS as we were able to locate the closest gas station (which wasn't that close-28km-yikes). By the grace of God we literally rolled into a gas station on fumes! I have never been so happy to see a gas attendant in my life. I had promised to give Elaine the trip of a lifetime but I don't think being stranded in sketchy South Africa was her idea of a good time. Fortunately, we made it home safe and sound and I am certain it will be a road trip neither of us ever forget!

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