As I am writing this we are flying down the highway en route to Johannesburg. Last night we stayed in the lovely Riverside Lodge in Aliwal North – had calamari and chips for dinner as well as a full english breakfast (with HP sauce!) before setting off this morning. We have been without wifi for the past week hence the slight media blackout. Although, to be frank it has been fantastically liberating to not have a phone with me 24/7.
The drive from Cannon Rocks to Johannesburg is roughly 1000km and takes around 10-12 hours depending upon traffic, road conditions and how many times you have to stop for wild animals crossing the road! Although long, it has been one of the most fascinating drives I have ever been on – we’ve seen ocean landscapes, mountainous ranges, desert farmland and some of the most beautiful sunsets you could ever dream of.
Cannon Rocks, where we spent the last week, is situated on the most stunning piece of coastline in the Eastern Cape. We have been staying with Claire’s aunt Nicky and her amazing family and friends who have been so hospitable and fun. There was so much to do there including fishing, hiking, swimming and of course a lot of partying! The biggest lesson I have learnt in the first week here is that if you could monopolise the supply of beer in South Africa you could control the country outright! Whilst in Cannons I really loved tagging along on the various fishing trips and seeing sharks, dolphins, jellyfish and cuttlefish in the water.
My personal highlight though was going on a 15km walk with Nicky’s husband Richie and taking photographs of an old shipwreck as well as climbing to the top of a massive sand dune to catch a glimpse of the whole coastline. All in all it was a fabulous week of fun in the sun and I am very much looking forward to getting to know Johannesburg in the coming week.
We have not been here for very long and we already have been very much influenced by South Africa – notice how Sam is saying “stunning” casually now. It is amazing to me that I have fully fit into my family’s lifestyle, not that I was expecting not too, but we are all so similar when I have not been here in 19 years.
Sam’s really fitting in too, the overall thought is that he is not the stiff “Pom” South African people expect when told British people are coming. He remembers all the town names we drive through for me and is essentially Bear Grills (I’m not even sure that’s how you spell it).
While everyone has been impressed with Sam with how kind and intelligent he is, everyone has been impressed with my drinking and how I can keep up with my aunt drinking her Black Labels – don’t tell my parents. I have never partied so much in my life this past week, so it definitely has been one of the best weeks ever.
Whilst we had the best time, everyone kept telling us that the best in yet to come, I find that hard to believe, but I do believe that as long as you have at least one friend to share a ton of beers with and a sunset, you will have the best time.
Everywhere we look it is so opposite from what we are used to, whether it’s the dozens of cows that have priority over the towns and the roads, or how six of us jump in the back of a 4×4 to drive to the fishing destination of the day (up and down hills, it’s amazing). The best part of all of this is that it is just the beginning, and I can’t wait for the next destination.