The Afro-Log


Day 3 – July 16

(SAM) The days are short here in South Africa because it is winter.  It is light only from 6am to 6pm.  We slept until about 8 to try and prevent jet lag.  The night was nice and cold, perfect for sleeping.  I was the first up and went to take a shower in the little building nearby.  There was one problem – the water was freezing.  We are talking polar bear club.  Paul and Chris also took showers and after they woke up from their respective comas, we started to pack up to leave.  It was then that a short South African in an orange hat came up to us.  He had a big grin on his face and talking to us in Afrikaans.  Paul and I do not speak Afrikaans but we decided from his jestures that the gate was locked and we had to go to the office for the key.  But I didn’t know why he thought this was so funny.  He also went to talk to Chris, who was on his way to us from the ice showers.  Chris’ feet were numb and we was walking funny.  Chris, who understands Afrikaans, came and told us that the man was trying to tell that there were hot showers in the other building.  On the road, we stopped at a SCOR for groceries.

(CHRIS)  We also stopped at a SPAR, the other major chain Super, just to play both sides of the field.  Eventually the “freeway” had to give way to worse roads because our destination was an out of the way beach called SODWANA.
The roads were rutted hard rock and dirt.  It was also very hilly.  We passed thru little villages with thatched-roof, round huts.  Women carried stuff  on their heads.  There were always many people walking on the roads and they all looked at us with interest.  Universally, they were friendly, always with a wave or a pearly white smile.  By now, of course, we had switched to 4WD.  (excuse the messy writing – we are driving on a paved road as I write, but even they are often bumpy.)
We were hoping to get to Sod in time for some snorkeling but it gets dark before 6 since it is winter.  So we got a camp site within the St. Lucia Reserve at Sod.
“Why do you want to blind me with your lights?” – Sodwana gatekeeper
Site #6 in the camp was very spacious and nice!  We had a big light that we could turn off or on and we had our own water tap.  (We used the water purifyer for the first time for dish water.)  Only problem was it was a sand floor, so ubiquitous sand would be with our jeep , tent, and sleepstuff for days.  There were very few bugs but we used deet and permethrin anyway.
One of our neighbors 2 doors down had a regular city set up compared to our little colony (tent, jeep, and table/chairs.)  His had giant spot lights, carpeting, a banquet hall, big screen TV, wet/dry bar, jacuzzi, skyrise with corner office, nice looking secretaries, etc, etc.  In contrast, we had speghetti from a can for dinner.  The gas stove worked well except the wind blows it out.
We took a walk to the beach after we ate.  We were a bit worried about wild animals because we passed an open-topped truck with tourists pointing flashlights into the jungle.  Then we passed a trail-head into the swamp.  It said, “Beware of crocodiles and Hippos.”  UNDAUNTED, we pressed on.  The 20 minute walk brought us past a surf shop and to a nice sandy beach.  (We had driven passed it right before we camped so it was easy to find.)  There was a light house to add ambiance to the evening.  The odor coming from the “ablutions block” enhanced this.  Then it was back to camp.  Tomorrow would be Snorkelfest.