|Monday 8th October - South Africa - Northern Drakensberg
This morning, like every morning, the girls padded through to our room in their bare feet and climbed into bed beside us. Shortly after that we all got up and went for our breakfast. After breakfast I took the girls to play on the trampoline in the B&Bs garden while Andrew started tidying and packing up. He very quickly shouted me to say that there was a snake under my bedside table.
We told the B&B owners and they rushed over with one of the farm workers, who came wielding a big metal pole. The beast was duly killed and removed. It turns out that it was a puff adder a poisonous snake that is responsible for more snake-bite deaths in Africa than any other of his slithery cousins. We dont know when or where the snake got into the building. Apparently they are quite common in the savanna, but theyre not expected to come so close to buildings when there are cats and dogs around (as there were at the B&B).
The couple who run the B&B have a 6 month old baby boy and our girls doted over him while we stayed there. The whole family are keen supporters of South African rugby and so they were happy that their team won yesterday and commiserated with us in our teams defeat. Now that Scotland is out of the World Cup, they gave Andrew a South African rugby top so he can support them from now on!
Today was a very wet, overcast day which was quite appropriate I suppose since we were driving through places with Scottish place names Dundee and Glencoe. We ended up spending a good bit of today in garages.
In Dundee we visited the Toyota dealership to see about replacement wing mirrors. We didnt get them, but we have a telephone number so we can order them in advance from the Port Elizabeth dealership. We then went round the corner to a battery centre and got 2 replacement batteries. We have needed to get them replaced ever since the battery incident on our way to Cape Maclear in Malawi.
On our way from Dundee to Ladysmith Andrew noticed a shudder in the steering. In Ladysmith we visited the Toyota dealership who referred us to a tyre service garage, who discovered a cracked bushing and referred us to a panel beaters to get the bushing welded. It was good to get the weld-repair done, but unfortunately the shudder is still there.
The panel beaters we visited specialises in hail dent repairs. Hailstones here can be as large as golf balls, so you can understand how cars would get dented by that. While we were at the panel beaters there was a heavy hail shower, just of pea-sized hailstones this time. The hail was so loud on the corrugated iron roof that you had to shout to be heard.
The other meteorological wonder that we saw this evening was a thunder and lightning storm. It started while we were on our way to the Drakensberg mountains where we intended to camp. Because of the weather, we changed our mind about camping and are now booked into a backpackers lodge, close to the area they call the Amphitheatre. The views are supposedly wonderful, but we havent seen them yet since the weather is so wet with low cloud. Hopefully tomorrow well get a glimpse.