Catching up with the Kokstad Clan

Schools broke on Friday and I was looking forward to having a long free afternoon to pack and organise myself for departure to KZN instead of my usual trick of going directly to the airport from school.   However, there was something I had to do before I could settle down to the packing.  I left school at 12:30 after setting it up for the new term and then as I have been suffering from an infection which has left me feeling rather low I went to Constantiaberg for a bladder and kidney scan just to make sure all is in order.  Phew – yes everything is fine and I just need to get over myself!

The best way to do this is to get out there and have a holiday!   Saturday morning found us packed and ready for Lisa to take us to Cape Town International and we were in the air at 10:30 a.m.   The sun was trying hard to shine and we took off in only slightly overcast conditions.  Sitting in the second row of Mango was delightful with Earl at the window disturbing my reading by pointing out the fabulous landscape below.  I am not usually a happy flyer but this year has seen me in the air several times and hey – I’m now quite blasé about the whole affair – didn’t even listen to the safety instructions – I now know to grab the flippin’ mask before helping the next guy and kick off the heels to go down the slippery slip after following the well-lit arrows to the exit. And who cares anyway – if we crash I hope it’s over in a flash – I don’t want to be floating in the icy ocean below!

Durban did not put on its best face for us – temperature – same as Cape Town and raining too!  Come on KZN – we need some cheering up!  Too long have we suffered the winter blues back home – it has been the longest, coldest and wettest winter we’ve had since 2004!

Our hire car is a Toyota D4D Double Cab  much like the one Earl used to drive so he is a happy chappy.   We have booked to go to Wattle Crane Cottage high in the mountains and this requires a 4X4 – more about that later.

Ahhh KwaZulu Natal – how different to the Western Cape. It’s the colour that is the first thing to strike you – different shades of green and more green.  The mountains are green, the fields are green unlike the Cape   KZN is lush and sub tropical – The Cape is mild and Mediterranean.   The further away from Cosmopolitan Cape Town you go the more you feel that you are truly in Africa.   We travel along the South Coast for a while and stop to buy some fruit from the roadside informal traders.   I have never seen such enormous avocado pears.  The traders bring barrows full of produce and sit in front of their huts and sell to the passing motorists.

Informal Trader on the side of the highway

Informal Zulu Trader on the side of the highway

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Hut with a view

Hut with a view

When we turn inland and travel through a part of the Eastern Cape to get to Kokstad at the foot of the Drakensburg Mountains.  The roads can be treacherous to travel along because of potholes and livestock who think the road is there for them.  Today the condition of the road is mainly good – maintenance has taken place but the livestock are there.

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Along the way the fruit sellers are there but also some enterprising people who braai mielies on an open fire and provide sustenance for hungry locals and travellers alike.   I wanted to take a photograph but the lady shouted and put her umbrella in front of her and the person next to her sent her child across with the wares so you can just make out the fire of the one and shy brolly of the other in the background.

Not for us but thank for the photograph

Not for us but thanks for the photograph

We made it to Kaag’s Post at exactly 4 o’clock precisely according to Earl”s planning which gives him great satisfaction.

A fork tailed drongo greets us at the bridge

A fork tailed drongo greets us at the bridge

Then flies into the willows

Then flies into the willows

The wild peach trees offer some welcome colour to the eternal green of KZN

The wild peach trees offer some welcome colour to the eternal green of KZN

Simon was hiding when we arrived but the dogs and Lauren were there with the dogs and Shannon and Alan not far behind.  It’s wonderful to be with them again. Shan has grown in the seven months since seeing her last and  she’s now almost as tall as me.    Good thing I decided to get the 12-13 jeans and t-shirt I’ve brought her!

Lauren and the dogs

Lauren and the dogs

Simon was finally persuaded to come out of hiding and had a rough and tumble with his grandfather.

Rough and tumble with Grandpa

Rough and tumble with Grandpa

The Bakers came for supper and we enjoyed a wonderful Weber of pork and chicken and the excellent company of kids’ best friends!   More – much more to follow.

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