Well, for starters we were towing a caravan, and those in the know will realise that it tends to slow you down.
We chose the latter. It was a big mistake.
The road via Standerton and Ermelo was chockful of really bad, really large, really deep potholes. You could say that some sections were more pothole than road and no one would call you a liar.
Sometimes there’d be some warning if the vehicle in front of suddenly veered into the middle of the road – a quick clue that we were approaching a large pothole. Mostly, though, there was hardly any warning at all, just a bone shaking decent into the menacing hell of a patchwork of potholes.
And the faster we drove, the less warning there was, so we did the sensible thing and chose safety over speed.
Mpumalanga, it would seem, is spending its road repair budget on something entirely different. Sheesh. Slow, tedious and hair-raising are words that spring to mind to describe that journey. Images of blown tyres, overturned vehicles and head-on collisions dogged our steps for kilometre after awful kilometre.
Wiser by the time we reached Ermelo, we elected to avoid the more direct secondary route via Carolina and head for the N4 instead. Nearly 11 hours after we set out so full of misguided optimism we finally got to Kruger.
We were looking forward to grabbing a bite to eat, then crashing into bed. But there were more surprises in store.
Inside the caravan, the hinge of the clothes cupboard had been pulled out, our bed was on the floor and the fridge had been yanked open, spilling broken eggs all over both fridge and floor.
We'd forgotten to lock the fridge on the first day we towed the caravan and things had turned out so well we’d assumed that the seal was strong enough. A week of Cape and Free State roads hadn’t proved us wrong.
Instead of dropping exhausted into bed, or enjoying the exhilaration of being in South Africa’s flagship game reserve, we spent our first evening at Skukuza washing half-congealed egg off fridge shelves, off every bottle and item in the fridge, off the floor.
By nine I was in bed and dead to the world, but the whooping of hyenas had my Worry Wart travelling companion up at midnight to check that those chew-maniacs weren’t eating the caravan tyres.
I don’t suppose we can blame potholes for that.
More about Kruger National Park
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