We had a long drive ahead of ahead of us and so we didn’t do a morning game drive. We had breakfast and said goodbye to SK who were driving to Punda Maria gate and then exiting the park and heading to Hoedspruit airport to fly back to Cape Town. The other 5 of us were exiting at Pafuri and then heading west until we hit the N1 and then heading south for 2000 kms back to Cape Town on the N1. We did have a short stop in Gauteng to drop off B who was flying back from Johannesburg to Cape Town.
The drive was pretty uneventful and we dropped off B and then headed through Gauteng. Due to Covid regulations in place and the level of Covid in Gauteng we weren’t keen on stopping anywhere and so just headed through it and to our first overnight destination which was Pont de Val (https://www.pontdeval.co.za/) alongside the Vaal River but actually in the Free State. They moved us from the hotel into the self-catering apartments (which actually cost more) because the change of regulations had resulted in all Gauteng residents not being able to stay and there was no one else at the hotel. It suited us as the restaurant was closed which meant we could easier self-cater. They provided the breakfast though still and we were really impressed at what they provided. Eggs, bacon, cheese, salami, ham, baguette, fruit, yogurt, fruit juice etc etc. Really was very generous and we are still eating from what they gave us!
The place was really quite a nice place. Right on the river with picnic places and a winery. Such a shame to see it so closed up. They had a deli, an ice cream parlor, a bar, bistro, restaurant and even a small grocery store. You really have to feel for the owners and staff of places like that. We were glad that we at least had provided them with some income for the one day (and it really only seemed to be us and one other couple in the whole place).
We left just after 8am the next morning and continued heading south. The driving was actually relatively easy until about 9:30am with very few cars on the road. The traffic picked up and the thing I noticed the most was how many trucks there were. I reckon for every car there were 3 trucks on the road (not exaggerating at all). We got to Beaufort West at about 4:30pm.
We stayed the night at Lemoenfontein Game Lodge (https://www.lemoenfontein.co.za/). It was already single digits degrees C when we arrived and we realised it would be a pretty cold night. We did a quick walk down the road as they are situated in a nature reserve and saw some springbok. They do a dinner which was bobotie and roast karoo lamb with vegetables (including roast potatoes) and malva pudding for desert. It was close to home cooking and so we really appreciated the simplicity of the meal.
When we woke the next morning it was -1 degree C outside though it was sunny and dry and so didn’t really feel that cold. We had breakfast at 8am and then headed for the last stretch of our drive home. It was relatively easy driving and we got home at around 1:30pm.
It was a lovely holiday even though the restrictions changed mid the holiday but we were grateful to be able to enjoy the time together with friends and family. The driving was also not as taxing as I thought it would be and H and I have purposed that we will probably drive again next Jan/Feb when we do our usual Kruger Park trip.
Until next time …
P, H, C & J (and M, O, B, S, R, J, S, K, B who separated from us at various times earlier)