From battle fields to diamond fields, Kimberley and its surrounding area is drenched in history. We stayed with a wildlife vet at Magersfontein Farm where the British suffered their greatest losses during the Boer War and explored Kimberley’s preserved ‘New Rush’ streets. With so many fortunes made and lost in this historic area, Back to Africa’s Sable Project at Mokala National Park is proving to be another success for the history books.
We catch soccer fever and make more furry friends in balmy Durban. I pass my state vet inspection without even a solitary flea. Lachlan is forced to carry me through a throng of amused football supporters but we are rewarded with a view of the staggering Moses Mandhiba stadium. We enter Swaziland to begin the most important phase of our quest.
From Mozambique, we headed back in to South Africa and with new visas, we picked up Bow Wow and headed for Johannesburg. Here we found out more about South Africa’s history by going to Constitution Hill, the site where thousands of political prisoners including Mahatma Ghandi and Nelson Mandela were once detained for opposing the apartheid regime. The former prison is now home to the Constitutional Court which protects human rights and embodies South Africa’s new culture of democracy. We also visited the Cradle of Humankind where some of the oldest hominid fossils have been and still are being discovered.
This is another favourite recipe from our great friend, nutritionist and Queen of Green, Jane Lorimer.
High in the Lesotho mountains we meet South African chef, Justin Bonello and the Cooked in Africa crew. This chance encounter makes us feel, more than ever, that we are on the right track and that perhaps our destiny is written in the stars. We contemplate how, like life, every great road trip is about the journey, not the destination and like every great recipe, there are certain key ingredients that are required…
Watching the sun rising over Pomene’s palm fringed shoreline, it felt as though we had woken up in a Bounty chocolate advertisement. What a paradise! The night before, under barely an eyelash of winking moon, we had rolled in over the dunes towards our friend Pat’s remote reed-walled hideaway. The morning’s rays brought straight backed locals, balancing baskets of vegetables, fruit and warm Pão (bread) on their heads for us to buy.
All flippers and limbs, we gracelessly fell backwards from the boat and in to the sub tropical Indian Ocean. Before I had a chance to adjust my eyes, I felt a bump and turned to face every plankton’s worst fear; the gummy cavernous mouth of the world’s biggest fish. Unperturbed by my slack jawed mimicry, the whale shark casually propelled itself past with a few languid flicks of its powerful tail. It appeared to be moving in slow motion and yet we could barely keep up. More whale sharks appeared and we followed them until they dived too deep. We could hear humpback whales singing to one another in the distance.
Much like the whale sharks, Tofo’s locals have an unhurried, laid back approach to life. Fisher folk still sail in and out of the bay in dhows and time is measured not by ticking clocks but by the ebb and flow of the tide. We learnt how to play an ancient game called Bao as we waited (an African length of time) for our tasty prawns and calamari to be cooked up in a shack by the sea.
With so many travellers washing in on its white shore, we felt blessed to witness Tofo’s culture, pristine dunes and abundant marine life before they are inevitably spoilt by its popularity.
Maputo is a patchwork city crumbling beautifully beyond repair. The botanic gardens are now a lawless jungle few dare to enter. 4×4 walking skills are required for navigating the potholed pavements of its hustling streets. Nothing is thrown away; everything is inventively mended and re-used. It’s colourful, filthy and inspiring with the best seafood we have ever tasted.
Lachlan receives a proposition from a frisky old lady with blood shot eyes, an afro goatee and more than a faint whiff of beer on her breath. Bow Wow alerts us to an intruder by doing his best Scrappy Doo impersonation and then later mysteriously disappears. We finally find a public telephone and call home but as per usual the line to Westridge is engaged.
It’s 4:59am at the Kruger Park, the camp gates are about to open and we just can’t wait. Dawn breaks over the savanna and clasping tin cups of hot coffee and marmalade rusks we head for the Lion highway. What delights await us?
South Africans sure have taught us a thing or two about glamping; satelite dishes, standard lamps and even a parrot in a cage are regular features at campsites. We met this lovely couple in Richard’s Bay and they invited us into their cosy abode for home made muffins.
While at the Sani Top, we met Adam with this beautiful Series 1 Land Rover.