The weather was changing as we were now coming into winter and the rainy season. When we left Port Shepstone it was dry though. I don’t think we would have gotten out of bed if we heard the rain pattering on our tin roof. We rode down the coast in pure sunshine, it was a public holiday and people were out enjoying it at the beach or at the several local markets. Everyone looked happy and I couldn’t help but singing to myself.
At Port Edward, the road turned away from the coast and we drove right into a wall of dark grey clouds. I winced to myself and pulled my bike off the road onto a gravel driveway. I empty my pockets of non waterproof goods and tucked the collar of my jacket under my helmet in preparation for the rain. When the rain hit, it pelted down for hours. My soaking gloves and my hands shook with the cold. I could feel drips of cold water running down my back. Water was soaking into my jacket and through my armour jacket and seeping into my clothes and running down into my underwear. It feels disgusting as the cold mixes with the heat of your body. The cold takes over and all you feel is the clammy feeling.
This went on for hours, until we came over to the last bend high above the township of Port St John’s when the rain finally eased up. We stayed in the two-street town for a couple of days hoping that the rain would stop some time soon. It never did. We rode through it towards Coffee Bay, looking for a break in the weather.
I heard stories of a beautiful destination at the end of a long hard road. Today, Coffee Bay is still stunning. But it’s now full with backpackers (wannabe hippies) hanging out and with rastafarians harassing you to buy drugs whenever you walk outside the guesthouse gates. Again we managed to let a couple of days slip past us hoping the weather would clear up. It never did. We left before the grey clouds lifted and Coffee Bay could show us its true beauty.
Following the road back inland, we turned back onto the main road and continued south. People had warned us about travelling through the Eastern Cape. Some even told us, we are crazy to even think to drive through it. In fact most Joburg people chew up more petrol just to go around it. Of course, if you warn me for something, I just want to turn around do the opposite (I feel for my parents – I’m sure I was a difficult child!). The moment we crossed into the Eastern Cape province, two things changed. I noticed the road first. It went from a smooth well maintained road to one full of lumps and littered with potholes. The next thing I noticed was the amount of rubbish on the side of the roads. Then, when drove through a town. It felt like I had transported back into middle of Tanzania. Nothing happened to us, I was never frightened for my life. It just goes to show, sometimes you cannot trust local advice.
We decided to stop off at another popular beach resort called Chintsa for Easter. When we arrived we received a huge warm welcome and were given directions to the camping ground at the bottom of the estate. We had the pick of the camp ground as there was only three other groups in this vast camping ground. It was beautiful and for now, it was dry. That didn’t last long. Over the long weekend it rained so much, to get anywhere we had to wade through ankle deep water. I was petrified of my tent failing and swamping our sleeping gear with water! I checked on it throughout the day. Most of the the other campers had packed up and gone home except for one other couple. By day two, I was too scared to leave the tent at all. We were then told we could pitch our tent in the kitchen area. Since there were only two tents, we were able to take a corner each. With plenty of room to use the kitchen and the table.
That night, without the worry of water penetrating my tent, I quickly fell asleep . Until I heard a family of pigs move in below us. They grunted, fought and itched their backs on the floor joists.. Ugh, this was going to be an interesting night. There were moments where they would fall asleep, but then one would wake and it the noise would start again. Before dawn, they left on their merry way and I got a few hours of sleep. But they returned the following night as this was their new home.
I am completely over the rain now. I am happy that all our gear is now safe and dry. But I am not looking forward to riding out of here and hitting the road once again.