Port Shepstone and Ballito: 1 – 5 August

Before we head into deep dark Africa with our lil’ red beetle we decided that it would be a good idea to have him checked out one last time by a mechanic that knows what he is doing. Besides the fact that he is now almost rolling backwards on steep hills, we needed to make sure that the latest 2 safety features we recently noticed were normal. The first one can best be described as a driver tiredness sensor whereby Bertus cuts out after about 200km of non-stop driving to make sure that the driver rests. The second is the anti-theft mechanism. A wire linking the battery to the ignition detaches itself when it suspects that it has been stolen. This one is malfunctioning a bit because it is doing it with us and not just potential thieves. Although this did start when Clayton drove it like he stole it on the way to Port Alfred so Bertus might understandably be a bit confused right now.

The brother-in-law of a colleague of Clayton at his previous job is a mechanic in Stanger and he apparently knows a lot about Beetles, much more than our friend Shane in Chintsa, or Charles in East London who wanted us to take a spare engine. We left Port Shepstone early-ish and drove straight to North Coast Customs in Stanger to drop Bertus off at the workshop. We agreed that if they cannot fix Bertus to a condition that we are both comfortable with then we will send Bertus back to Cape Town and this trip will change from a self drive trip to a “by any means possible” adventure.

My dad did mention last week that we should consider taking motorbikes instead. Before this trip he would have disowned me if I even considered doing it with a bike. It just shows you that, when you want to do something really stupid, do something worse and then the other thing will not be so strange after all.

We got dropped at the Monkey Bay Backpackers in Ballito where we pitched our tent on Kilimanjaro. Since my legs were not yet fully recovered from our stroll along the coast in Transkei, we decided to take the very first campsite we can find – which was still half-way up the mountain.

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Kilimanjaro in Ballito

We spent the next day at the beach – I got severely sunburned as usual and as an added bonus I’m also feeling the first onslaught of the flu. This was the perfect excuse to just chill on the couch the following day – starting and finishing my 3rd book since we left Cape Town. It really is a tough life!

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