… we were at the southernmost tip of Africa, at Cape Agulhas, with only one road in and out of the small village. It had been raining. Hard. For several days. We were advised that the road would be closed if the rain continued overnight.
As we made our way out of the area the next morning, all seemed fine. In fact, the pools of water we drove through the day before were mostly gone. And then we past the “road closed” drum cans. Why did we continue against all common sense, you may ask? Well, we were right behind a large SUV, and by the time we saw the signs on the drum cans, we had already entered the flooded roadway. The SUV kept going. A car passed us going the other way. The road wasn’t completely closed off, unlike others we previously had to backtrack from. We figured it must be a small pool of water.
We were wrong.
The flooded road stretched on and on – several hundred meters as it turned out. My ears were pounding. My hands were shaking. I figured we were going to stall out any minute, as the water, which was almost at the top of the tire rims of our rented Toyota Corolla, splashed against the car.
Slowly, slowly, we inched along, until we finally reached dry land. Hallellujah!
Since that time, we’ve had a few more scary road-trip moments – including lodging the undercarriage of the car when trying to maneouver over a steep bump on a dirt road (too long a story to explain why we were there). Thankfully we managed to reverse out of that predicament after gunning the engine a few times.
And then yesterday, we found ourselves in a serious traffic jam – of buffalos! Before we knew it, we were surrounded. They were everywhere – behind us, beside us, ahead of us. One baby buffalo (or maybe he was a teenager with a lot of bravado) gave us a long, hard stare and a bit of a grunt, as if we was contemplating whether he could take us or not. Thankfully, he didn’t try.
In between our adrenalin-filled, grey-hair-inducing experiences behind the wheel, we’ve continued to enjoy this incredible corner of the world. We’ve made our way from the tip of Africa along the Garden Route, through beautiful Knynsa, fun-filled Oudtshoorn (the kids rode ostriches!), tranquil Storm River (the kids rode horses!) and up to Addo Elephant National Park (home of the buffalos we encountered on our self-drive safari).
In Addo we also saw elephants, zebras, kudus, ostriches, meerkats, jackals, dung beetles, tortoises, colourful birds, tons of warthogs (I sing “If I was a young wart hooooooog” from the Lion King every time I see one) and many more. We think we may have even seen a lion – in the far distance though.
Who knew you could do a safari from the comfort of your own car?! I was skeptical at first, but must say, it was lots of fun (other than the buffalo encounter… oh, and the time we almost rammed the rear end of an elephant that was sticking out onto the road as we came around a blind corner).
You’d think after our various road trip scares, we’d pass on the self-drive option. But if we were rational people, we wouldn’t be carting our kids around the world on an 8-month tour, would we?
More to come as we make our way up to Johannesburg…