Saturday, September 11, 2021

Lebombo 4x4 Eco Trail in the Kruger National Park

 Today started as does most holidays with a mad rush to finish work.  There has been an ongoing problem on the systems which we have been struggling to track down and we think that we found the solution yesterday.  We resolved it it last night and I was anxious this morning to find out if it had really worked.  The results were inconclusive, no issues but not 100% sure that it was a result of what we did or just a coincidence.  Like most difficult problems this is multi-faceted and we have found multiple small issues which have each provided a small improvement but nothing like the "eureka" moment as yet.

The drive all the way to Mbombela (Nelspruit) is very easy with our "normal" drive down to Stanford being 2x10 hour days, anything less feels like only a small drive.  At Schoemanskloof I realized that I had left the camping table behind even though I had put it with the other gear to be packed but I forgot that we subsequently used it when Graeme & Gill came over and I didn't put it back with the pile of gear to be packed.  I am sure that it isn't the last thing that I have forgotten and even though I have comprehensive lists to use one feels that by now we ought to know the packing list off by heart.  This is clearly not the case.

Just before Malelane  there was a huge traffic jam which took almost an hour to get through.  I thought there was an accident up ahead as there were some ambulances that overtook us while we were waiting but it turned out to be a stop/go over the bridge over the crocodile river which only had one lane open on a pretty busy highway.  There were some lunatics overtaking into the oncoming traffic periodically but for the most part everyone just waited, walked around, had a smoke, a pee and eventually we were through

Traffic jam before Malelane, photo courtesy of Caron

 As we entered Komatipoort there was another huge queue of trucks pulled over on the left hand side all waiting to cross the border.  We were driving past them at about 80km/hr and we went past them for at least 15 minutes before we turned off and we weren't even at the end of the queue so it was probably about 20 to 25km of trucks.  Very happy not to be in that queue.

The hotel (EcoLux) turned out to be really pleasant and since we arrived at about 15:00 we had plenty of time to have a beer shandy or two or three on the patio.  It's a ***** hotel but I think that like all hotels, a little behind on their maintenance due to the pandemic and the complete absence of tourists.  I can't imagine how difficult it must have been for them to even have kept going through the COVID19 pandemic but they seem to have survived.  Although they has Supersport they didn't have any of the rugby channels, only the soccer ones, so we ended up watching the Curry Cup final on the iPad using their wifi which worked pretty well but the Bulls thumped the Sharks so Caron wasn't the happiest.

Supper was very pleasant although the lamb shank should have been warmer, a lot warmer, but for the rest it was a very good tasty meal.  I think that it gets really hot here judging by the number of fans in the dining area; 8 fans to match the 8 tables in quite a small area and outside on the patio there is a whole row of fans above the sliding folding doors.

This is the first time we are doing a trip without knowing the people that we are going to be sharing the trip with and we were a little apprehensive that, as the saying goes, "In every four-ball there is one arsehole" but it was a choice of doing the trip with people we don't know or not doing the trip and we decided to take the chance.  How bad could it be, it is only 5 days and most of that we should be driving alone in our car in any case?

Our spectators for our dinner.  Photo courtesy of Caron

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