Tzaneen and Dulstroom


Part of the pre-US plans were to attend friends’ wedding in Dulstroom and visiting my brother and his family in Tzaneen.

While in Tzaneen we visited Haenertsburg for lunch and craft beer at Lekwar and afterwards drove into the mountains outside of Tzaneen town with the Jimny from great views on parts where of the mountain where cars usually don’t get to. And the only other vehicle we saw there was another Jimny with the same plans as us!

In Dulstroom, before the wedding, I spend some time on the friends’ family farm. After a decent rain shower the Friday evening, driving home to the farm on a small, muddy jeep track at night the Jimny was right at home – only to see the amount of mud gathered on the mudflaps on the ride in. With some time on the Saturday morning before the wedding I wondered into the farm exploring some of the amazing views!

Road trip gadgets and tools

The Suzuki Jimny is an awesome car! You can really go anywhere with it. I never have to think about what the road condition will be like before embarking on a journey. I can only fault two things on the Jimny – one being the size of the fuel tank…with a 40l tank driving normally I need to plan a fuel stops not much more than 400kms apart. In South Africa that is easy enough and on the odd trip that I know it might be an issue I have an addition 20l jerry can I can take with.

The second issue is the sound system… Coming out standard with only two front speakers of not the best quality and a radio with below average FM reception and no aux jacks or Bluetooth connection another plan needs to be made. On a previous trip through the Ceder mountains I use a Bluetooth speaker playing music from my iPhone – and this has now become part of my travel gadgets. With that a powermonkey battery pack to keep the iPhone and speaker charged and my Canon 100D camera rounds off the required gadgets.

On the iPhone I started using the Lively app to create gifs and movies from the iPhone’s live images as well as pulling single specific frames from the live image collection of images.

Leaving Cape Town

Taking the easy, normal road is no way to learn and experience new things. So when possible I generally try new routes when I travel.

The plan was to leave in the early morning hours from my home and head up along the N7 and then somewhere cut into the Cederberge somewhere around Citrusdal and from there see where the road takes me and head towards Pretoria. It didn’t happen exactly like that though…

As its getting closer to the end of the year and everyone is just getting busier and busier, the only time I had to catch up with a client was for breakfast the Thursday morning I wanted to start my journey. So after breakfast in Durbanville I got back on to the N1 at about 9am and decided to head up to Ceres and through the Tankwa karoo on the R355 towards Calvinia.

R355 from Ceres to Calvinia

The R355 is a 200km gravel road with no cell phone reception and no fuel stations – it’s a good road, but has many sharp rocks, with a real potential for a flat tyre. Fortunately nothing went wrong this time around and I soon reached Calvinia and headed towards Kimberly on the R63.

I wanted to skip Kimberley and head up towards Prieska, since I’ve never been through there, but since I started later than I wanted and set myself the goal to reach Pretoria in one sitting I opted for the boring, faster route through Kimberley and towards Pretoria on the N12.

All of this meant that I did achieve the goal of reaching Pretoria without having to sleep over anywhere, but it did mean reaching Pretoria only at about 2am the Friday morning. So even though I didn’t take much time on this trip to stop at new places, at least I’m able to tick of the box of driving between Cape Town and Pretoria in one go…though I’m not sure I’ll want to do it like that again – having a stop over at some random small town in the middle of no where halfway into the 1600km journey is a much better option. At least I was also able to capture some cool pics of some lightning heading through Kimberley!

Lightning on the way to Kimberley

US Adventures

What started a couple of years ago as an idea to travel and work for a couple of months in the US has finally become reality – though initially not as elaborate as the original plan to tour the States for 9 months, 3 months will have to do for now.

The plan is to visit family in North Carolina and over a period of 3 months travel and explore as much of the US as time and the R/$ exchange rate will allow.

I’ll update and share some stories, photos and experiences here throughout and hopefully inspire others to go out and explore the world for themselves!

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