The start of our vacation to the Drakensberg started on the 1st of February 2012. I have uploaded all of the photos to my Google account, which does not leave me much space left. Hopefully Google will be even more kind and up their limit for photos.
The first part of the trip up went smoothly. We left Cape Town early morning around 6am to Colesberg. We got to Orange Valley Guest Farm around 3pm. On arrival at Orange Valley Guest Farm I realised that it was not quite what the pictures on the website advertise. You can read more about it in my review of our stay at Orange Valley Guest Farm. Setting that aside the stay was still pleasant.
The N1 was under serious renovation. We had around 7 sections where we had to wait for road works where the N1 became a single lane! Luckily each of these waits was not too long. We waited on average about 5-10min at each stop.
The second part of our trip up did not go so well. As soon as we left I thought something was wrong with my car and could not identify it. It was kind of scary knowing that we were half-way and we might have car problems. My now fiancee reassured me that nothing was wrong. 50km later when we got back to the N1 and I lost my power-steering. I stopped the car at the gas station in Colesberg and had a look. Luckily we were right next to the station when this happened. I phoned Pieter @Disa Auto Services, my mechanic. We identified that it might be the pump and I should just add some more fluid to the system. I bought some power-steering fluid and poured it in whilst leaving the car running. As I poured in on the one side of the car, I casually watched as it poured out on the other side of the car, near the fan-belt. A seal on the pump had gone, just what we needed.
The manager @Colesberg gas station, I forget which one it was, was very helpful and gave me a number for Hyundai Bloemfontein, 200+ kilometres further on! Luckily the N1 is pretty straight and I did not have to steer much. We phoned ahead to Hyundai and they mentioned they could fit us in. We arrived and they made us wait about 20min and then the power went out. Nobody could really work in the dark, so we eventually got some assistance. Very helpfully they informed us that they do not have the parts needed to fix the problem, but that I should try FixEm down the road.
FixEm were extremely helpful, fitting us in on short notice, charging us their flat-rate without even knowing the extent of the damage, and assisting us to get some entertainment for 4 hours. On request about what was available for time-wasting, they anxiously told us we must visit their waterfront, a waterfront in Bloemfontein? It is next to a river and Bloem people are very proud of it. It is a very well organised mall, but it was unsuccessful in keeping us entertained for 4 hours. A taxi back with BloemTaxi’s, about 1-2km cost me R55! WTF! That is more than R25 per kilometre.
One of the major reasons for not waiting out the 4 hours was remembering that we were quite close to Johannesburgh and hearing about the crime in JHB, we were extremely scared for our possessions in the car, thus we could not relax. Luckily FixEm run an honest shop and nothing was taken. Highly recommend them if you in the area and need your steering-fixed. So in the end my pump bearings went and shredded the seal.
We were making really good time when… more road-works. By then it was 8pm and dinner finished at 9pm. We had left around 8am from Gariep Dam. The road works just before The Cavern were horrid. Poor management led to us waiting more than 25min at one of the stops and having oncoming traffic when we eventually were allowed to go down the single track road, for 8km! Then the point I had chosen on Google Earth, for The Cavern, let Google lead us through some very rural roads where my poor car only just survived, I have a GPS on my android phone.
Lost, frustrated, bothered, dark, we eventually found the correct route and arrived at The Cavern. They had phoned us previously to find out if we would be making dinner, which we didn’t, thus keeping aside some food for us. The room was a blessing after our LONG day. Read more about our stay at The Cavern in my review. You can read more of our vacation here.