26 juil. 2016

South Africa: second part (in french)

From Johannesburg to Storms River!

After a quick stop in my couch surfing in Jo’Burg, I am going south to the Drakensberg.
To go there without a car or a Baz Bus ticket it is not really easy.

Oh yeah, by the way, what is the Baz Bus?

In South Africa, there are 3 mains ways to go from one place to another: rent a car, use the regular buses and minibus taxis or use the Baz Bus.
Almost all the backpackers use the Baz Bus in South Africa. It is a Hop-on/Hop-off bus which means that you take a ticket from Durban to Cape Town and you can stop wherever you want (mostly in hostels on the way) and as many times as you want.

Unfortunately there were two main problems for me; first the fact that South African people do not use this kind of bus and secondly the price (4900 Rands or 280 euros from Jo’Burg to Cape Town which is really expensive for the country). So for me that was better to try some hitch hiking and to use the regular buses.
 And seriously, traveling in South Africa without seeing one single tourist and looking for the right bus in the crowed station is a wonderful experience.

Just maybe some advices; the buses do not really have a time table so you will probably wait for a long time and for the hitch hiking you should ask someone to explain to you how to do it because they have a lot of signs!

But anyways this will be something new for you and you will love it for sure!

So, I was saying that to go to the Drakensberg, it is quite complicated.
My hosts in Johannesburg tell me to go first to Newcastle and then to the Drakensberg. So I arrive in this small town where their mother welcomes me. 
After one day and half, where I learnt more on real South African history than in a book, I leave to Ladysmith and then to Bergville. After one day in buses and cars, I finally arrive in the Amphitheater Backpacker. 
From this hostel the view is breath taking. The north Drakensberg: 5km long with cliffs higher than 1000 meters, is amazing!
For the info, the main cliff is 10 times longer than El Capitan in the US.
In the evening, I meet some travellers and we decide to do a trek on the amphitheater the next day.

The day is quite amazing with 15K walking (800m different of height) to arrive at the top of the second highest waterfall in the world, the Tugela fall which is dry during the winter unfortunately. Nevertheless the view on the Devil’s Tooth and all the mountains is incredible.

The next day we are going for a small walk (when it is flat 14K seems easier haha) in the valley of the famous Tugela river which was the historical Zulu border.
When I come back at the hostel I take the greatest decision of my trip with the help of two Israelis and one Australian, we will go to climb Cathedral Peak the highest peak in the Drakenseberg that you can climb without special equipment.

So let’s go for an entire day, 21K to go and more than 1500m difference of height. After 7 hours walking and scrambling we are at the top and f***! the view is amazing. We are on a small square of rock surrounding by huge cliffs (1000m) and we embrace the Drakensberg and the Lesotho. You can easily imagine all the memories and images that we kept from that day!
This is it for the north Drakensberg, if you have some time you can do the south Drakensberg which offer a very different landscape with smaller mountains.

For me, this is the end and I am going to Durban where I will just spend the night because after all this “nature” days I don’t want to be in a city.
So, two days after I take the bus to Mthatha then a shuttle to arrive in coffee bay. This is the first time that I see the Indian Ocean coast and if it is not on your bucket list, you should add it!
Warm water, sun and surf are the ingredients of the next day and this is perfect. I was planning to stay 2 or 3 days to rest in this paradise but unfortunately (or not) I leave the next day with two Dutch girls to hike along the coast to go to Lubanzi and then Bulungula.

The first day is a 14K along the hilly coast with the company of some dolphins and wales. We arrive in Lubanzi backpacker which has probably one of the best views in South Africa! We surf a little at the end of the afternoon and drink some Black Label (South African beer) to finish this perfect day!

The next day we continue our journey to Bulungula (our last stop) where you need to go even just for the showers because the water system is hum… let’s say unexpected.
Indeed, the village does not have warm water so you need to warm it yourself. So, to do it you put some petrol in a can just under the water arrival. Then you take some toilette paper that you put in the can and you light it with some matches use a lighter to make it burn. Do not be afraid of the noise in the tube, it is intense but that will warm the water a little bit. Maximum time for a shower (a warm one I mean): approximately 4 minutes.

After these two and a half days I say goodbye to the Dutch girls in Mathatha and I go straight to Jeffreys Bay.

Just a small aside. Something which is really important and that we rarely talk about is the fact that when you are doing long journey you will for sure meet a lot of people. During a time (maybe just one day, maybe a week) this people will become your most precious and close friends and honestly this is quite difficult to say goodbye to all this new amazing persons every 3 days. So, just to say, I do not think that you can prepare yourself for this kind of situations but sometimes it will be complicated. Just remember that if it happens, that will mean that you met great people.

Anyway, I arrive at Jeffreys Bay which is the surfing spot in South Africa but where there is nothing much to see.
Therefore I leave the next morning to the Tsitsikama Park and Storms River where was the highest bungee jump in the world (apparently it changed since).

We will see that soon in the last part from Storms River to Cape Town.
See you!


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