Newsletter #2    06-October-1998   
South Africa and Lesotho

G'day Folks,

Well we finally retrieved Troopie from the docks in Durban after a delay of four days. Fortunately we were able to do all the paper work which enabled us to get the vehicle discharged soon after the ship arrived on Wednesday 30-Sep-98.

Durban is the largest port in Africa and the ninth largest in the world. We stayed at a great B&B in Durban, which overlooked the beach (Indian Ocean). We tried to send you an E-mail just as we were leaving Durban however the yahoo mail server was down.

Our B&B hosts were horrified when they heard about this adventure we were about to embark on. They said it is too dangerous, lots of thugs and skull-duggery and we would surely be killed. They asked if we had any guns on board to which we replied that Troopie was no armoured carrier. They then strongly suggested that we ship Troopie home and for us to forget about this trip.

After 4 days of waiting for Troopie and having fear drummed into us by our well -meaning hosts, we left Durban with great trepidation but nevertheless determined to prove them wrong.

From Durban, we headed to Underberg in the Drakensberg Mountains and is the South African equivalent of the Great Dividing Range. From here we travelled on a 4WD track up Sani Pass (9000 feet) into Lesotho. What a spectacular road! Troopie spent most of the day in second gear ascending and descending mountain passes and negotiating hairpin bends. Lesotho is known as the "Roof of Africa". We crossed numerous passes and spent most of the time at around 9000 feet.

On Saturday 3-Oct-98 we camped at a village hostel near Butha-Buthe. This was at the foot of a magnificent limestone cliff overlooking a fertile valley. A group of children paid us a visit. They were very curious and wanted to talk and play with Su-Lin. They climbed the ladder up to our roof tent to check out this new cubby house. We shared a little Chinese dinner with them. The chilli really tickled their tastebuds. They left us in peace soon after. It was here that we were introduced to the long drop house. Not much room to manoeuvre in and we had to learn to balance rather awkwardly.

From Butha Buthe, we headed back into South Africa through Bloemfontein to Gariep Dam. We stayed at an unbelievable caravan park with green grass, overlooking the largest dam in South Africa. This was a welcome change to the rather uninteresting countryside, which lasted all the way to just short of Port Elizabeth. The area reminded us of Hay in Western NSW to Port Augusta in South Australia.

From here we will travel the Garden Route to Cape Town. Our intent is not to spend too much time in South Africa, as it's very easy to come back and hire a car. From Cape Town we will head towards Kalahari Gemsbok NP in Northern South Africa and into Namibia.

We will try and update you on our travels in a few weeks time. Geoff, Kienny, Su-lin and Troopie are all keeping well.


Geoff, Kienny and Su-lin Kingsmill