When we said our goodbyes to Johan, Sandra and Renhard after a wonderful R&R Easter weekend in Sabie, we headed towards Lydenburg via the Long Tom Pass.
We quickly stopped at the Longtom canon. Although it is quite an iconic monument, it didn’t seem to have made the grade as prime tourist attraction compared to others we’ve se seen: no entry fee and a bit unkempt with grass that hadn’t seen a lawnmower for a while. Further up the road is another sign that indicates “shell hole”, but we couldn’t figure out where it might be as there was no point anywhere near where you could pull off the road.
Back on the road and a few bends later, we saw the Hops Hollow sign again. Although we had passed it on our way up from Johannesburg a few weeks before, we had not stopped at that time. This time around though, we thought: let’s give it a go… let’s have a beer at the highest brewery in Africa! (we had a beer in the highest pub of Africa on top off the Sani Pass)
We met Willie Jr and Hermien and brewmaster Colin and spent time tasting a few of their beers accompanied by a tasty and solid meal. After a chat with Willie Sr, we went up for a walk on the hill surrounded by wild flowers and accompanied by resident dog Jess.
As we were allowed to park and sleep on their premises (no drinking and driving), we retreated in our Trokkie, did some more homework on our laptops and called it a day.
Next morning we decided to rather take the other section of the Panorama Route towards Mbombela, instead of continuing to Lydenburg.
We passed through Mbombela and later stopped in Barberton for a quick shopping spree. Stefaan was very tempted to buy some of the local delicacies for supper: chicken feet and sheep’s head. Although I sometimes do try weird and unfamiliar food, I wasn’t too keen on these. I voted against!
We saw we had cell phone reception and when we quickly checked up on the latest Instagram posts, we saw that my niece Evelien had spent Easter weekend in Chrissiesmeer and the Lake district. When we checked the map, we saw it was- almost- around the corner and decided to follow their lead and visit the Lake District too.
We arrived in Chrissiesmeer by dark and parked in the main street.
Next morning we checked map and gps and turned onto a dirt road leading to Chrissiesmeer and the jig saw puzzle of lakes in the area.
We took a very leisurely drive through this pastoral landscape with curious cattle checking us out as we passed and horses up to their knees, grazing in the flooded meadows. We stopped a million times for me to get out and take photos of the great variety of wild flowers decorating the edge of the road.
We cooked lunch on the road side with the last few quail eggs from Sandra in Sabie. It’s still funny to see these tiny eggs on my plate!
Leaving the Lake District behind and heading in the direction of Kwazulu Natal, we realised that the pine and eucalyptus forests would soon be making way for the sugar cane plantations, so we made a last pit stop in the forest for a walk between the towering trees. Even Trokkie looked small amongst the trees.
Later we stopped in Piet Retief for a petrol station-night stop.
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