South Africa - Round The World Tour 2003 Day 23
Friday 4th April
Well, we did explore Bloemfontein a little after all. We went to the tourist information office next to the sports stadium to get our bearings. There was a Mainliner bus ticket sales office there so I inquired about the route between Cape Town, South Africa and Windhoek, Namibia. We still need to cover this distance somehow and a luxury, air-conditioned bus doesn’t seem like a bad idea. The price will be a little over R400 ($50) per person. Considering this will be a 24-hour journey over a mind-bogglingly vast distance, this is actually a very reasonable price. This is one option, then, that we know we can rely on once we reach Cape Town as the bus departs every other day. The ticket agent behind the desk didn’t seem to have any information about a route between Windhoek, Namibia and Gaborone, Botswana, though. We’ll have to cross that bridge when we come to it. Travelling with no set agenda or timeline certainly has its advantages 🙂
After leaving the tourist information office, we headed for some sort of ‘fort’. When we arrived, it turned out to be an old military installation that has since been turned into a war museum. We went in and learned all sorts of things about the Boar War and the South African’s participation in the first and second world wars. There were also lots of interesting things about the Zulus and their clashes with the British through the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. It seemed fitting since we’ve been travelling through the state of Kwazulu-Natal, which is Zulu territory.
After driving around a little aimlessly through what we later learned was the most architecturally interesting street in the whole of South Africa (hmmm), we ended up going back to where we had had dinner last night to visit the Internet café. We spent about a half an hour there catching up on some e-mail. I’d asked the night before about hooking up my laptop and the guy had said ‘no’ but didn’t really sound like he knew for sure so I asked again. To my amazement and joy, this time the answer was ‘yes’. I wasted no time in rushing back to the car to grab the little tin box and brought it back to hook it up forthwith. Within just a few minutes of cable swapping and configuration tinkering, my little gem was once again hooked up to its lifeline and I was happy. The last time I ‘fed’ my little baby was a couple of weeks before we departed England at Annie’s house so by now, my e-mail storage was bursting at the seems. Exchanging mail between the laptop and the server took a couple of hours over the painfully slow connection. During that time I managed to upload a couple of pages of choice photos to my homepage and sent out another WorldTravel update to everyone on the distribution list. Sandy enjoyed her couple of hours on the Internet terminal and was thankfully in a much better mood this afternoon compared to yesterday. Life is good again. The two hours for each of us on our own computer cost a total of R120 ($15).
We left Bloemfontein shortly after our KFC lunch and headed south in the direction of the Garden Route but with little hope of actually reaching that far today. We paid the car-guard his three rand or so in loose change and off we went. After a few hours of travelling, with the odd stop for fuel and scenery viewing thrown in for good measure, we arrived here in Colesberg. It’s a small, nondescript town with little to offer other than the several thousand guest-house, lodge and B&B beds. It turns out that Colesberg is a popular overnight resting point for travellers between Jo-Berg and Cape Town and the South coast. In a semi-vein attempt to try to keep our lodging budget within reason, we looked around a bit and rejected the first place we stopped to look at for being R99 ($12.35) per person per night. We then stopped in at a place called Memosa and took the room for R60 ($7.50) per person per night instead. The price difference is not huge but multiplied over several months, does add up to a significant savings.
We had dinner at a nearby (about thirty paces) restaurant and have now settled in for the night. Tomorrow, we hope to make it as far as the Garden Route, finally. I hope it will be worth all the anticipation. We plan on spending about seven to ten days to explore this stretch of the South coast before reaching Cape Town and concluding our time here in South Africa.