I dream of Africa – and paved roads!

We had the longest day of driving ahead of us today and got on the road early so we’d have some time to enjoy at our destination. We’ve been traveling mostly on the “brown” roads – secondary roads, and today was no different. Some of them have been pothole ridden, but for the most part they’ve been great and free of traffic. Our first 45 km went smoothly as usual, but when we saw the dirt road that stretched from the stop sign in the direction we were headed, we were a little taken aback – especially when it continued for several km. A pick-up truck came flying past us from opposite direction and we flagged him down to ask whether the rutted washboard dirt road would continue until Smithfield (77 km away). He said “Ja” and off he zoomed.  I took the wheel with the idea that speed was the answer – we would just fly over the trail! and that we did!  The scariest part was that the truck was the only vehicle we saw on the entire stretch and civilization was non-existent – we didn’t check if there was cell coverage!!! Luckily the remainder of the  journey (300 km+/-) was on tarmac! Once again the scenery was BIG! reminded us very much of traveling across Wyoming. Sheep, goats, cattle grazing – also lots of cacti along the roadside and no more little villages with thatched roofs.

Only he that has traveled the road knows where the holes are deep. Chinese Proverb

We still made it to our destination (Graff Reinet) in six hours and breathed a huge sigh of relief! Our accommodations here – the Drostdy Hotel – more than make up for any bumps in the road. The hotel and little town are absolute gems! The buildings, all whitewashed, are centered around the Dutch Reformed Church and are in Cape Dutch, Georgian, and Victorian style.

Terrific galleries – especially enjoyed seeing the artwork of 80-year old Esther Mahlangu.

Another great dinner -Karoo style – at the Pioneer Restaurant al fresco!

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