Two weeks ago I run out of excuses and decided to (finally) leave Cape Town. So, one day I got a taxi (local minibus) to a petrol station just outside of the city and after 40 min wait got my first car. 8 hours, 2 other lifts and 400 km later I found myself in amazing place called Wilderness where I was convinced by the driver (honestly, I didn’t need much convincing) to stay for the rest of the day.
If that did not prove that hitch-hiking around here is not that bad than the rest of my journey up to Pretoria was the proof. Once a driver turned around as he drove pass me in the opposite direction just to drive me to a better hitch-hiking spot! He ended up driving me for a while as he had so many recommendations for me to do and see. My average waiting time, after that initial 40 min reduced to 1-5 minutes and soon I also learnt that there is no point planning the journey. That stop in Wilderness wasn’t the only unplanned stop and I am sure there are much more to come.
For example - Tom. Tom is an elderly man, who was born in Kenya, grown up in South Africa but spent the last 30 years in Australia. He warned me, when I entered the car, that he is taking it easy and that he may make few stops and turns here and there. He was on a journey ‘’through his memories’’. I was excited that the highway won’t be the only think I will see and so I got comfy in the passenger seat. Soon Tom ended up being my tour guide, driving me around waterfalls, small villages and traditional pubs and I could not refuse his offer to stay over at his friend’s farm for a night.
His friend Michael is a local artist in the area (he is making beautiful sculptures from metal and vax). However, Michael did not even know that Tom is in the country. When we were about 5 km away from his house, Tom decided to call him – he forgot where Michael lives. When Michael picked us up, he wasn’t even surprised to see me as an unexpected visitor. It felt like he knew I was coming all along. He was surprised to hear that I want to travel all the way up, but then – who isn’t. The evening was full of stories and mischiefs that the two did years ago and let me tell you – if I ever thought I was not an easy child and that my teenage hitch-hiking around Europe was maybe too much for my parents, I was an angel compare to those two.
The next day I was dropped of with a bag of food at the petrol station near highway and my plan to reach Pretoria could continue. I expected I would be waiting by the side of the road for hours and so I equipped myself with three tennis balls for juggling and an e-book for boredom – because who could refuse to stop to a strange girl standing by the side of the road trying to throw balls around?
However, I did not even have enough time to put my backpack down. 3,5 min of waiting and 5 car and camion rides later I found myself in front of the house of my next Couchsurfing host in Pretoria (people who offer free accommodation to random travellers, check it out if you don’t know it!).
Here, I was once more convinced that planning my journey is not my destiny. All it took was a beer and nice chat with Anwar (my host) and I was convinced that I should stay at his place at least until the end of the week (I arrived on Tuesday). It was his birthday and I couldn’t miss the opportunity to meet all his family and the celebration. Anwar also made sure that I won’t be bored, he took two days of work and showed me around all museums and interesting corners of the city. For now, let me finish watching the Winter Olympics, it is probably the last place in Africa where people know it's happening.
The celebration was big and fun. The whole last two weeks were amazing and I can’t wait to see what is coming next. I cannot say just yet (or ever) what is the plan now. I learnt not to make them. Maybe just – next stop? Zimbabwe!
Anyways, this won’t be so much a travel blog, I’d rather fill this space with inspiring stories, interesting people, beautiful places and who knows what else - and to offer everyone who is interested an insight into this beautiful continent. I am still figuring out what form and type of material will be the best, so it might be a bit of everything before it all kind of settles into a routine. Either way there will always be a bit of personal note (like this one is). Most of the stories are however published on Facebook. It is the easiest and fastest way for me to upload the content 😊
Until next time!