Sunday, October 4, 2009

Champaigne Castle to Clarens

Today's Route: Champaigne Castle to Clarens 111 miles

We left the Drakensburg today, but not before we hade a chance to drive down the range with great views of the mountains in between the shifting clouds. Not too far along, we encountered light rain which caused us to put the top up.
Interesting locals at the gas station.

There were two mountain passes to climb as we left the valley and ascended to the escarpment. The first pass was 16 km in length, winding along as we climbed from 3200 feet to 6200 feet. At the top we stopped for tea - by which time the wind had really picked up and it was quite cold - we attached the side curtains and within a short time had warmed up substantially.

After tea we motored along the escarpment at 80 - 100 km/h until we reached the Golden Gate National Park. The park is absolutely beautiful, long winding roiads surrounded by tall rock formations and green poplar trees that turn brilliant yellow in autumn - not now though. In the park we climbed the second pass to around 7000 feet - the car needs second gear for these unclines - around 10% - and on one needed first gear all the way up.

Arriving at Clarens in time for lunch we found a wonderful little town full of art galleries, restaurants and gift shops. And actually open on a Sunday. Lunch was bobotie - a South African delacy of Malay origin and then a walk around town.

Tomorrow we head for Bloemfontein

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