Road Tripping South Africa Part 3: Drakensberg to Durban
Last week we ended off our 620km drive from the Kruger to the Drakensberg - a place that, as previously said, translates into “Dragon Mountains” and we certainly discovered just why they call it that. Staying at Amphitheatre Backpackers is an excellent option for those looking for budget accommodation, should thoughts of smelly people drinking and the “backpacking” name deter you fear not, Amphitheatre is actually a five star accommodation and our private room was clean, comfortable and had all the amenities of a hotel with the exception of the incredible view – something no hotel could offer. We loved it.
During our time in the Drakensberg we had many activities to choose from but our time was limited so we chose to do the Sentinel Peak Hike. We had an incredible day out in the mountains; the six to seven hour hike left us with incomparable memories and views that took our breath away. The Drakensberg also called the “Barrier of Spears” by the Zulu (uKhahlamba) has hundreds of peaks that jut out with rivers carving corridors between them and the escarpment, the highest in Southern Africa, carries on as far as the eye can see. Our time had run out however and the sunshine city of Durban was calling so we hauled our bags into our Hyundai and leapt at the road filled with excitement.
We journeyed through Bergville and Winterton on the R74 until joining the svelte N3 toll road. In almost no time the remainder of our 272km journey was looking miserable as thick rain clouds came and spoiled our party. We drove the rest of the way to Durban fairly slowly and the section from Pietermaritzburg very cautiously as the trucks grew quickly in number. Over time the Acacias thinned and were replaced by booming Aloes and tall trees, all that was once golden turned to green and I knew that we were near. South Africa’s visible vegetation changes are one of my favourite things about the country and make road trips through it that much more exciting. We stopped just once at the Shell Ultra City on the N3 and had to pay just R8.50 in tolls. The Condition of the N3 is really good – they have separate lane for trucks and the surface, although, alternates between concrete and tar is smooth. The weather never really improved but entering Durban is always special. The houses built into the greens hills and the Moses Madiba Stadium stood out as we entered civilisation for the first time in a while. We couldn’t wait to see the beaches and go for rickshaw rides and our mouths salivated at the prospect of a good bunny chow. More on that next week however!