Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Zambia
















Setoff for Zambia early on the morning of the 24th with Cavan right behind me in his 4x4. The wall of the dam is pretty spectacular to see. It’s unbelievable to think that once it was just a valley and they built this massive wall and when it was finished and the water to raise a massive animal rescue operation had to be launch to try and save the thousands of animals that were stranded on the various islands as the water rose. The operation ran for a couple of years and was probably the biggest rescue operation of animals since Noah himself set sail.

Cavan and I parted ways in the middle of the wall with a handshake and some pictures . A big thanks to Cavan will always be in my heart as he was adamant that I would get safely through the wildlife area that contained lions, hyena’s etc .



I climbed the hill from the wall to the Zambia border post and on arrival was met by the multitude of money changers , all aiming for my business . I decide to change $20 into kwacha . A couple of foreigners who were busy leaving Zambia decided to intervene and make sure i get a better deal . They asked what i was doing and then started telling the money swappers that they should give me a better rate or even make a donation. Well , they should have known better , money lenders are sharp people , one of them quickly suggested that the guys assisting me should actually let me keep my $ 20 and pay for it them selves . My helpers, having successfully talked themselves in to a corner , duly paid the $20 to the lenders and I was on my way without having changed a cent but with 90 000 kwacha ( R140) in my pocket .



I descended into the Zambesi valley from the wall and the temperature started soar . The tar on the road was soft to touch and the jelly babies in my bag turned to liquid in their packet . I watched a rain storm ahead of me and wished it would slow down so i could catch up but it outpaced me all the way . I used up most of my 8 litres of water and was relieved when I eventually came to a village where there was a borehole . I was greeted with the common chant of the small children that i have heard in a lot on the rural villages in Zambia so far always accompanied by a lot of waving , laughing and smiling “ Musungu , musungu ,musungu “ .




I topped up my water bottles at the borehole and headed for Chirundu Junction . My total for the dy was 82km . i was picked up by Stephen Vorster a local banana farmer and was off to stay with his family for xmas eve .

Both Vic and Jane told me their tale of how they lost their wealth in Zim and were starting fresh in the Zambesi Valley. Jane told me with a wistful look in her eye of her former life of wealth and opulence in Zim compared to her current ‘starting fresh with nothing’ lifestyle. The only thing that they managed to bring with them from Zim was their cook, who didn’t want to stay behind. I set up tent on their front lawn, left them to Christmas eve, and had an early night.

Early the next morning Vic loaded me with 27 bananas and 2 pineapples and sent me on my way. I’m not quite sure where he expected me to carry this 5kgs of food, so initially I tried to eat as many of the bananas as I could, but ended up donating a couple of bunches to the local community. At about 7am I passed one small secluded hut on the side of the road with a small family outside around the fire, where I donated one of my 2 pineapples. The climb up the escarpment out of the Zambesi Valley was really difficult in the extreme heat. Every Zambian and his uncle seemed to be completely sloshed because of Christmas day. At the top of the escarpment I found a village where I tried to find someone to speak to about pitching my tent for the night. A small crowd of about 30 locals filled with the Christmas spirit, gathered to listen to my request. The leading spokesman, with beer in hand, kindly told me that I could pitch my tent anywhere in the village, but that later in the evening he would probably rob me, so he suggested that I should rather go to the local school and speak to the headmaster, which I duly did. Justin, the headmaster, was very accommodating and rather than letting me pitch my tent on the school grounds, he decided to rather let me spend the night on the floor of his school office.



When I tried to fill up my bottles at the borehole, I very quickly realised that you need more than one person when trying to fill small bottles. Fortunately 5 youngsters appeared out of thin air and assisted me with my ‘bottle filling’ exercise. Before drifting off to sleep that night I marvelled at the thousands and thousands of fire flies in the fields around the school.


I headed for kafue the next morning at about 4:30 am . The plan was to have a nice short 42 km day and the do the remaining 45 km to Lusaka the following day to meet Sam and be in Lusaka on the 27th . All was going t plan and I was enjoying a nice easy day out in overcast and rainy weather when Adrian penny from southern sun in Lusaka called and suggest that I push on a bit further than kafue and his Friend Ricardo would pick me up later in the day and bring me to Lusaka for the dinner at Adrian and a night at the hotel and then they would drop me back at the same point he following morning and I could have a short run in to Lusaka ..



After 60 km Ricardo called and said he was running a bit late, I was a bit chipped off but did not express my opinion .

. A Norwegian couple, Jolly and Cecile , stopped and had a chat as they had seen me the previous day toiling up the escapement . Jolly handed me an energy drink called a “burn” .once that kicked in I decided that I was going to go all the way to Lusaka and would tell Ricardo to leave me if he ever showed up



I eventually got to Lusaka at 18:30 after 87km . Oh , Ricardo did show up when I was 2km from the hotel J so I sent him on his way .

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Gweru to Chinhoyi

Go to www.richardsrun.co.za to the blog section to see the pictures that are missing here :-)




Antelope Park was a blast. Had a great with time and met plenty of people.



On the second day we took a walk with three 13 month old lion cubs. It was pretty awesome to be with them. Even at 13 months they are a pretty mean prospect .later I saw some older males feeding …spectacular.





The elephants were quite intense as well but it seemed a bit circus like to me.



I joined Willem and Natalie from Livingston for a couple of meals and enjoyed the company of fellow South Africans for a while.



On the evening before I left Antelope Park I had a call for a local guy in Gweru, Killian, He was coming to see me as he had arranged somewhere to stay in kwekwe. I was very surprised when he arrived and told me that his company had booked me a room at a hotel and he gave me some dollars to pay for the room.



The road to KweKwe was pretty easy going and when I arrived I found to my surprise that they had a fully stocked and up-to-date ok bazaar. I had a good shop before retiring to my hotel “the city Lodge “. It was and interesting night because a couple of times during the night my door handle was tired.



I left early the next morning for Kadoma. When I was about half way I met a Russian Cyclist, Igor, He had come from Moscow and was on his way to Cape Town. He was making a “quick detour to see Vic falls why his Visa was being sorted out. He told me that he had met many people on bicycles but I was the first he had found on foot. He thought it was quite unique.











I eventually got to Kadoma at 5:30 pm; it was a long 77km today.

Fortunately, Japie met me in town and took me straight to his Neighbor, Charles where I was able to have three quick beers before being fed a mountain of spaghetti bolognaise.

Later he took me down to the local squash courts where some guys from Chegutu were playing and I was able to get my self organize for accommodation the following night with Howard Mathews the headmaster of the Bryden primary school in Chegutu.



Next morning I was joined at the start of my run by Richard, Duncan and Nicole, who stuck with me for a nice 4 km run before they turned off.



Shortly after that I was joined by a police trainee Nhlangthina who ran a further 10 km with me before he turned back company was toughly enjoyed.





I got to Chegutu and went to stay with Howard Mathews and his family at the Bryden primary school . I had a good rest and then some one suggested tennis so I included my self as the 4th in a doubles game .










The teniis match we played in Chegutu was rather intense with a smattering of sibling rivalry and good humour mixed together . Sadly my partener , Gwen , and I eventually succumbed to her sister Joy and her dad Howard 6-4 . The next morning howard organized that Darrel and Darryl join me for a run for the first ten km . They set a good steady pace and I suspect that it was my first sub 1 hour 10km in quite a while J



After about 40 km I was stopped by Lincon and his family who introduced me to the indigenous fruit called Mtufu as well as some swollen Maise kernels. Lincon wanted me to spend the night with him and his family but although I was temped I was trying to get to 60km before stopping for the day .









I eventually got to 60km and found a place to pitch my tent . I was helped by Tapiwa so we headed down to the local beer hall and bought to Lions which then enjoyed at my camp .


The next morning I was stopped onthe road by the Steve Swanepaoel who invited me for breakfast at his farm house . It was a spectacular breakfast which I enjoyed thoughly and then promptly fell asleep in front of his TV .

Friday, December 10, 2010




I headed into the town of Bietbridge to try and find Rev Chisenwa of the Methodist church who was going to find me somewhere to stay for the night in Bietbridge.

I was collect by Rev Chisenwa and Mr. Bigboy Doro and advised that we would have some tea with the Rev and then I would stay at Bigboy's house for the night.

We headed out into the country for a meal at a cookhouse where you bring your meat and they will cook it for you on the condition that you buy some sudsa (pap) from them. Bigboy brought his wife and sons with as well as the Rev.

They all expressed their concern about my safety for the first 20 km tomorrow and Bigboy insisted that he drive along behind me. I told him that this would not be necessary and that I would be ok.

I had my first experience of using a bucket to bath with and made quite a mess on the floor but ended up clean so was pretty happy with myself.

The next morning I said cheers to Bigboy and headed off towards Bubi River. After about 6 km’s I noticed the same minibus pass me twice and it pulled off about 2km ahead of me, as I got nearer it pulled off and moved further up the road. I started to get a bit concerned until passed it and sitting inside was Bigboy , he was going to escort me whether I liked it of not.

It took almost twelve hours to complete the 76 km that day and the temperatures soared into the high 30 and low 40 degree zone. I stopped at a tiny road side shop at lunch and after a long conversation in broken English with the teenagers who were running the shop they told me they were going to donate 1 coke and a half loaf of bread to me for my mission . I return they wanted to be the first Zimbabwe girls I took a picture of.

I was shattered by the time I got to the 3 way safari lodge where I was staying. I just fell straight into the pool when I got there. Quinn, the manager’s husband cheered me up by telling that his parents stayed about 40 km up the road and that he would organize for me to stay their tomorrow. As it turns out that never happened that never worked out because when I got there his Dad, willem, looked a bit perturbed to see me and ask me to wait in the shade outside, his mom, Karin the explained that they were both feeling a bit ill and that they had other visitors so it would not be possible for me to stay there. They made a plan to give me a lift to a hotel I had passed 30 km ago and said they would sort it out.

I met 3 good blokes at the hotel, John, Guido and James who were very helpful with advice and promised to help me sort out some where to stay in makuti much later on in my journey.

I headed for the town of Rutenga where I was going to try and find a place to stay with a friend of bigboy’s. It was another hot day but the clouds had started to build and that did help a bit. When I arrived asked a chap working in the power sales store where I could get a coke. He directed me next door and a few moments later asked if I was from the Methodists in Bietbridge. He said that I would stay with him that night. So I went home with Mr. Even Mgweba and his wife. I had a great stay with Even and hi family but became a bit concerned as bed time neared as they had allocated me a room with a double bed for my self. I had noticed that there were no other beds in the house and I asked Even if I should rather sleep on my mattress. He said it was no problem and I should stay where I was. I still have no idea where Even and his wife and two children slept that night.

Next morning I set off for ngundu, I never made it.

I got to Lundi which was 42 km up the road and found a camping spot and had my tent out for the first time since leaving Cape Agulhas. I had no sooner managed to get my tent up and the clouds that had been building all day just opened up and the rain came down. It poured and poured .The tent stood the test of the weather well and everything inside including me stayed dry.

After Lundi I made my way to Mvinga and managed to find a primary school where I could camp for the night, a storm was threatening and the teacher on duty suggested I pitch my tent in a partially built house to avoid the rain. This worked out quite well as it really came down hard during the night. Just as it was getting dark I had a visits form a group of teachers and the headmistress as they wanted to understand what I was doing. After a lengthy discussion and lots of laughs they left for the night and I settled in.

The following morning I went on my way and head for the town of chibi. On route I was joined by Charity. She had a really nice looking bicycle that she was obviously very proud of because she rode past me about 4 times before getting the courage to return my greeting. Then she rode next to me for the next couple of Km’s. She told me about her self, she is 15, lives with her mom on the farm as her father passed in 2007. Her older brother works in Pretoria. She does not know what she is going to be when she is older but thinks she will come to South Africa at some stage. I don’t think she will ever leave the farm.

I have travel a few days since this but my internet time is up so my encounters with some of the others I have met will have to wait.

Eunice the shop owner who helped me out when I was at my lowest point .

Joseph who just found out he had HIV and walked 15km with me to the next town because he needed company

The Chief who let me stay in his house.

The old fisher woman.Bietbridge crossing was a piece of cake, all my worrying and sleeplessness the night before had been for nothing. I arrived at the border and both sides seemed to be a bit surprised to see a man with a pram and promptly stamped my passport and sent me on my way. All in all it took about 15 minutes to cross the border.

I headed into the town of Bietbridge to try and find Rev Chisenwa of the Methodist church who was going to find me somewhere to stay for the night in Bietbridge.

I was collect by Rev Chisenwa and Mr. Bigboy Doro and advised that we would have some tea with the Rev and then I would stay at Bigboy's house for the night.

We headed out into the country for a meal at a cookhouse where you bring your meat and they will cook it for you on the condition that you buy some sudsa (pap) from them. Bigboy brought his wife and sons with as well as the Rev.

They all expressed their concern about my safety for the first 20 km tomorrow and Bigboy insisted that he drive along behind me. I told him that this would not be necessary and that I would be ok.

I had my first experience of using a bucket to bath with and made quite a mess on the floor but ended up clean so was pretty happy with myself.

The next morning I said cheers to Bigboy and headed off towards Bubi River. After about 6 km’s I noticed the same minibus pass me twice and it pulled off about 2km ahead of me, as I got nearer it pulled off and moved further up the road. I started to get a bit concerned until passed it and sitting inside was Bigboy , he was going to escort me whether I liked it of not.

It took almost twelve hours to complete the 76 km that day and the temperatures soared into the high 30 and low 40 degree zone. I stopped at a tiny road side shop at lunch and after a long conversation in broken English with the teenagers who were running the shop they told me they were going to donate 1 coke and a half loaf of bread to me for my mission . I return they wanted to be the first Zimbabwe girls I took a picture of.

I was shattered by the time I got to the 3 way safari lodge where I was staying. I just fell straight into the pool when I got there. Quinn, the manager’s husband cheered me up by telling that his parents stayed about 40 km up the road and that he would organize for me to stay their tomorrow. As it turns out that never happened that never worked out because when I got there his Dad, willem, looked a bit perturbed to see me and ask me to wait in the shade outside, his mom, Karin the explained that they were both feeling a bit ill and that they had other visitors so it would not be possible for me to stay there. They made a plan to give me a lift to a hotel I had passed 30 km ago and said they would sort it out.

I met 3 good blokes at the hotel, John, Guido and James who were very helpful with advice and promised to help me sort out some where to stay in makuti much later on in my journey.

I headed for the town of Rutenga where I was going to try and find a place to stay with a friend of bigboy’s. It was another hot day but the clouds had started to build and that did help a bit. When I arrived asked a chap working in the power sales store where I could get a coke. He directed me next door and a few moments later asked if I was from the Methodists in Bietbridge. He said that I would stay with him that night. So I went home with Mr. Even Mgweba and his wife. I had a great stay with Even and hi family but became a bit concerned as bed time neared as they had allocated me a room with a double bed for my self. I had noticed that there were no other beds in the house and I asked Even if I should rather sleep on my mattress. He said it was no problem and I should stay where I was. I still have no idea where Even and his wife and two children slept that night.

Next morning I set off for ngundu, I never made it.

I got to Lundi which was 42 km up the road and found a camping spot and had my tent out for the first time since leaving Cape Agulhas. I had no sooner managed to get my tent up and the clouds that had been building all day just opened up and the rain came down. It poured and poured .The tent stood the test of the weather well and everything inside including me stayed dry.

After Lundi I made my way to Mvinga and managed to find a primary school where I could camp for the night, a storm was threatening and the teacher on duty suggested I pitch my tent in a partially built house to avoid the rain. This worked out quite well as it really came down hard during the night. Just as it was getting dark I had a visits form a group of teachers and the headmistress as they wanted to understand what I was doing. After a lengthy discussion and lots of laughs they left for the night and I settled in.

The following morning I went on my way and head for the town of chibi. On route I was joined by Charity. She had a really nice looking bicycle that she was obviously very proud of because she rode past me about 4 times before getting the courage to return my greeting. Then she rode next to me for the next couple of Km’s. She told me about her self, she is 15, lives with her mom on the farm as her father passed in 2007. Her older brother works in Pretoria. She does not know what she is going to be when she is older but thinks she will come to South Africa at some stage. I don’t think she will ever leave the farm.

I have travel a few days since this but my internet time is up so my encounters with some of the others I have met will have to wait.

Eunice the shop owner who helped me out when I was at my lowest point .

Joseph who just found out he had HIV and walked 15km with me to the next town because he needed company

The Chief who let me stay in his house.

The old fisher woman.

I am now at Antelope park in Gweru and am at my half way point . Hopefully I will have access again in the next week or so.

I am now at Antelope park in Gweru and am at my half way point . Hopefully I will have access again in the next week or so.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Africa

Tomorrow I walk into Africa .( Twisted from Alexander Supertramp )

I am not certain of the intervals between updates from this point onwards .

THANKS SOUTH AFRICA for a great trip so far , you support has been phenomenal

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Manouta to Louis Trichardt





Kuname River Lodge

I stay at the most stunning Safari lodge you could imagine , Kuname River Lodge , my hosts Barry , Min , Ralie , Mike and Peter were really great . I was luxury at its best . Look at the pics below and you will understand how special it was






Tzaneen to Soekmekaar

Set off from Jan and Leoni's house early early and was pleasantly surprised at the beauty of the Limpopo province with the waterfalls, fruit and tree plantations and stunning scenery. Leonie gave me some sandwiches for the road and an I had a chuckle when I eventually opened them and found two little notes saying “minced rump and cheese - safe miles “and” black current and cheese - happy miles”





When I reach mojaji's kloof town I was stopped by a lady who gave me a gentle squeeze on the arm and thanked me for what I was doing, I was really touched by her gesture. I met numerous people on the road and after about 40 km I was flying along thinking how easy the day was going. I had to climb 400 m from Tzaneen to Soekmekaar and it had been really easy so far and I only had about 20 km to go.




I reached the 12km sign and rounded a bend and then realized when the 400 m climb had been hiding. Well needless to say the last 12km to well over 2 hours to complete and I ended in Soekmekaar after 64km and was shattered.


I went to the impala cafe to try and track down Ria Erasmus; they gave directions to her house as well as supplying me with some milk and a plate of hot chips full of salt and vinegar.



Ria and Andre were fantastic and fed me and told me about the road ahead and there life in the region of Soekemekaar and Bandelier kop where I would be heading tomorrow...



Soekemekaar to bandelierskop ( Lalapanzi)




I left at 6 and took it easy as things were still a bit stiff from yesterday. I had only gone about 8 km when a mustard ford pulled up and the lady greeted me by name. her name was Kobie , we chatted for a while and I ask where she was headed to , She told me she was headed nowhere and had come to find me to see if I need anything as she had heard I was on my way to bandelierskop and that’s where she lived .





I told her I was ok for now and would probably see her later. She came back once more and then met me for a last time at the bandelierskop centre where she introduced me to Martin the manger of the centre. I suggested she stay for coffee but she left me with Martin.






Shortly after that radio jacaranda called and asked that I give the listeners an update of my journey. During the update I was cut off when the signal dropped, as I looked up a young lady came skidding to a halt to tell me that I had been disconnected :-)

That night I spend the evening in the Lala panzi hotel and Marius the owner told me stories of the notorious " breaker Morant " who was and Australian who had been assigned to help the British fight against the Boers . He was a really bad man and killed anyone who got in his way. look it up it’s really fascinating.




I was my steves birthday today and the 3rd anniversary of me stopping smoking, hard to believe that I have been running for less than 3 years.





Lala Panzi to Louis Trichardt



Had a great run in to Louis Trichardt. downhill all the way. I stopped at the farm J3 where a chap called Frans' works and had coffee with him and his grandchildren. he had called me the day before and invited me and as today was a short day I decided to take him up on his offer. I enjoyed my brief stay and the company was good.






When I arrived in Louis Trichardt, I was met by Dirk and Jan from the Zoutpansberg 66 roundtable. they had organized a group of guys to escort me into town, which they did and blocked the intersections as I arrived at each one so that I did not have to stop running.




With that done we headed to the round table club house for some early morning beers :-)






Later I went to Camp Africa in the mountains where I was to stay. and have my rest day.



I headed off early the following morning and made my way to bokmakirie . On route i was met by Steve , My brother , This was a really welcome site and was a highlight for me . We shared some stories , had a few cold cokes and he stocked me up with all kinds of goodies for my upcoming border crossing . I can't say more than this as it was a moment you had to be there to appreciate . We parted with a laugh and a promise to catch up again on Kili.


I had met a girl , Karlien ,, at a party in Louis Trichardt who had made contact with her dad in Bokmakirie and organized a place for me to stay . She told me to look out for Grizzly Adams and that would be her dad .

i found Charles and spent a good eveniing with him , his wife Helene and there son .

it was really relaxing.








Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Lydenberg to Manouta





Lydenberg to Orhigstad ( Hannah game lodge )

I had a fantastic stay at Lorna and Frans , the rest day was perfect and i spent most the day with Tanie Charlotte and Lorian around the house .If you ever want to meet a person that has a super positive outlook and an undaunted faith then i suggest you take a drive to Lydenberg and meet Lorna , I will not go into details but with the amount of adversity they have had in most would have cracked , so hats of to a really great family .

Franco dropped me off at really early an di set off on the downhill plummet from Lydenberg to Orhigstad , It was a great days running and was spent mostly reminiscing about family holidays with my parents and 3 brothers in the big white Rambler that we owned , with red seats that you stuck too if you sweated to much .:-) Fishing at a place called sycamore , I also dared my oldest brother Grant to give me a donkey bite at watervalbowen when my parents were in the shop , well he did , I screamed so loud they thought he had tried to kill me ..


I arrived at The turn off to Burgerfort and was met by Wayne the GM of the Hannah game lodge , I was treated to seeing a stunning Sable antelope bull which was a site to be remembered .


Orhigstad to Manouta park

I left Hannah and head up the Able Eramus pass . I really prefer the civil engineers who build tunnels compared to those who build passes . This Particular pass does not have a single flat bit on the way up and it seems to go on forever. Gee whiz, dig a tunnel dude .
I went over the top and descended into the settlement of California where I was hailed by on of the fruit sellers ,Muis , to come over and chat . She was a wonderful lady , she fed me on banana’s while we talked and she insisted , with a big smile and a wink ,that should I return this way that I should stop and stay with her for the night . then her and her friends packed up laughing and asked if I needed another wife so I don’t get to lonely on the road . We parted with a good laugh and I headed for the strydom tunnel .

Things were getting quite busy now and I was seeing people all the time . The drunk in the politically sloganned T-shirt , the road side vendor with a bird watchers scope to make anyone jealous , the ladies at the tunnel who need a demo of me running with pram, twice .


I arrive at the Manouta caravan park and was directed to a chalet , The only other guest were a family from Tzaneen so I hung around at the pool with them and the lady at the bar ,Laura, kept up a steady flow of Black label and a Jack of two .
It was a really enjoyable relaxing afternoon .

Friday, November 19, 2010







Ermelo to Lydenberg

Oh yes. My big surprise in Ermelo. Well if you been on face book you know already but this is what happened.
I was lying on my bed having a rest when there was a knock at my door and Lin , the owner of the owner of the guest house where I was staying said I should open . A bit annoyed by her insistent tone I went to the door and pulled it open. Well I would never have thought but standing there was... my Mom and her good friend Margaret Swift. It was a great surprise and made my day. We had a great lunch at the Dro’s (mine was on the house, thanks to Gerrie the manager). Then a couple beers and we ended up for a hunger busta burger at the spur for dinner.

Thanks Mom.


The next morning I was off to and early start and on my way to Chrissiesmeer. As I came over the one hill I heard dogs barking and looked ahead of me and saw a terrifying site. Nine stray looking dogs, the same type the locals use for hunting were charging down the hill at full speed towards me. I grabbed my stick and clutched my trusty pepper spray and readied my self of the imminent attack. When they were about 100 m from me 4 of the dogs diverted off the road and into the field and the other 5 just kept coming.
Ready …steady ( phew , at least I had the Rabies injection ) and then they upon me but they did not even slow down and just kept going straight past me and up the hill behind me . What and absolute relief that was.

I arrived in Chrissiesmeer and it was raining. I stopped at the first coffee shop that I got to which also happened to be the tourist information centre and was treated to an interest and embellished history lecture of Chrissiesmeer while I enjoyed my coffee. Father Christmas, the history lecturer, was very entertaining and my stop was well worth the time I spent their. I later found out that farther Xmas real name s actually Ben. He told of mysterious moving rocks, frogs, flowers and indigenous Bushmen. The history of the giants (yes Giants, he has a picture of a skeleton of one  and the rock art from forgot times gone by.

I headed out of town and thanks to a local fellow Koos, was able to get a lift to the guest house I was staying at, Florence Guest farm, as it was in the opposite direction to where I was going. There I met Ane’ and Nico. The name Ane’ sounded familiar but I did not think trice about it until Nico mentioned a guy who was going to Jerusalem a stopped by a couple of years ago. I then new exactly who they were. There was a French couple who walked to Jerusalem too, Alec and Sonja. They had also stayed at Nico and Ane’, in there book they referred to a guy who was ahead of them, and now I know his name, Stephen.

They were great hosts and the house they live in is stunning. I loved it.

I learned a tragic but beautiful story about Chrissiesmeer while I was there.
During the Boer war a British soldier was killed and buried in the local Cemetery. His name was Lt Andrew Swanson , The year after he died in October a small box arrived at the Chrissiesmeer post office with a short note saying that the sprig of heather in the box was please to be placed on his grave and it had been sent by the FiancĂ©’ that he had left behind in Scotland . This continued to arrive every year until 1950 when the box arrived in October as usual but the note said that because she was now 80 years old they were moving here to an old age home so this would be last sprig of heather that she would be sending.
After 1950 the children from the primary school would go to the grave every October and sing “My bonnie lies over the ocean “.



Chrissiesmeer to Carolina

I left Chrissiesmeer at about 6 am and started out for Carolina, within the first km I caught up with 4 young black guys walking in the same direction as me. I greeted as I went past and the one guy, Aaron, picked up his pace and walked with me. He told me all about his family, his 1 year old baby, his father who works on a local farm etc.
I asked where he was walking too and he told me that he is on his way to work at the charcoal manufacturing farm. He explained that some days they get a lift if they lucky but most days they walk.
So it turns out the its 9 km there and 9 km back every day 5 days a week to earn R50.00 per day unless it rains then there is no work .

We parted ways and I kept on my way to Carolina. Carolina came and went with out much ado. I stayed at the Fairview guest farm where Christine that kitchen lady took great care of me. There was a power outage at about 6 pm, so it was an early night and the rain poured all night

Carolina to Belfast.

The run to Belfast form Carolina started out well and then just deteriorated in to a slog that I wanted to get over and done with because my left foot was very sore. I got and sms from a friend for work, Shireen, saying she hoped I was having a good day. This brought a smile to my face and cheered me up because I was probably having one of my worst days, but then as it may be a sign was sent to me, almost like a gift and as I looked up a beacon of hope brought a smile to my lips and all my negativity from the bad day was gone.
At first I was not sure, a mirage perhaps but no, I was correct, it was a sign of hope and it said “Engen one stop, Wimpy “.

While I was there I met Gert Jordan, who is involved with the n4 toll road and we started chatting. He told me how he believed that I only could have got this far safely because God had been watching over me and he believed that I will remain safe as this is what God wanted. We chatted for a while and just before I was leaving he gave me a couple of rands for me to get a burger or something for myself.
I entered Belfast and found the Owl and Trout guest house where Janet and Julian Hendrikz had offered me accommodation for the night; this was thanks to Sylvia the local lady in the Belfast tourism office who had kindly assisted to find me places in Belfast and Dullstroom.

I heard that in Belfast there had been 3 Boer concentration camps and according to the map the one, Camp 3, was fairly close to where I was staying so I headed out to find the original site of this camp. It proved to be a bi harder than I thought as no one really new what I was talking about but after listening to Janet’s instructions and asking a lot of question I eventually found it, Strangely (I use the word strangely because I don’t really know the proper use of the word ironically .. hehe) to the plot where it is houses the local Belfast orphanage and the staff working there did not seem to know that the grounds had once been a concentration camp.

Belfast to Dullstroom

After the really bad day yesterday to was a dream day. It was going to be a short day only 33km but I took the road to Spionkop instead of Dullstroom and had to back track and in doing so added about 6km to my day but it still went really well. It rained the whole way but the new pram cover that my mom had given me kept everything dry and I put my rain coat on before I left.
I cruised into Dullstroom well before lunch and headed for Peebles guest lodge, which Sylvia had arranged for me. Mike, the owner met me and was a great host, his place has 5 stars so I was in an environment where I had not been before and it was very fancy and enjoyable. Although the rooms, grounds, builds etc were all stunning the thing that struck me the most was that fact that the rose that was left on the bed for new guest had the most amazing scent.

4 of the managers from CEB showed in Dullstroom to have lunch with me.
Schalk, Tanya, Pierre and “Thomas” (well Thomas is not really his name but I thought would protect this identity).

We had a great lunch and enjoy a couple of beers and then Thomas did a handing over ceremony of the chocolates they had bought for me. One at a time with a hand shakes after each one. There were about 15 so it did take a while.

Later I went back to Peebles and enjoy the use of the Spa which really made me feel pretty good.


Dullstroom to Lydenberg

I setoff in the rain at about 5:30 am and did the first 27 km in about 3:30 at which point I got to the farm of Frans and Lorna where I was going to stay . I went in introduced my self to Frans and had a sandwich and some water. I then for only the second time in 48 days abandoned my pram and headed out with my day pack to complete the last 27 km to Lydenberg. Running with out the pram was really quite strange. I enjoyed the run tremendously. When I got to Lydenberg I went to the Vroutjies coffee shop and had a Muffin and coffee while waiting for Frans to collect me to take me back to his farm. The owner very kindly ended up donating the coffee and muffin.

I went back to Frans and met the family, Lorna his wife, Franco and Lorrian there children and Charlotte a blind lady they care for.
My rest day is here so I will fill in more details when I write again.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Clarens to Ermelo







Clarens to Harrissmith
After a spectacular rest day in Clarens I set off before sun up , I was not sure where I would end today because I was going through the golden gate national park and then on towards the Basotho cultural village where I could possibly camp and then through Phutatithjaba to Harrismith .
The run though Golden gate was spectacular, amazing towering sandstone walls. River. Valleys and wild life .It also felt different, like freedom, maybe it was the lack of fences that made feel that way.
As luck would have it I found my next love story although you have to use a bit of imagination to get this, I passed the Van Reenen family grave and I noticed two side by side graves. The two , Valerie Wilcox(22) an Johan De la harpe (21) must have set off on the morning of the 18 Dec 1932 , probably in love , and together they spent the day climbing and working their way up to the top of the Mont Aux sources . The weather closed in and things must have got stormy so the probably held each other for comfort and this was when tragedy stuck. On the 18 dec 1932, Valerie Wilcox and Johan De la Harpe, both died after being stuck by lighting. Quite sad that they were so young still.

After that I headed along and spent messing around watching the baboons and the Wildebeest, the Km flew by, really easy going. I saw the Basotho cultural village and decide to push on as it was still quite early and I had only done about 40 km. maybe I should just push on to Harrrismith, I would mean about 70 km for the day, yeah right!

Shortly I approached Phutatithjaba (old Qwa qwa). It was about 1 pm on Sunday and I headed into town to find a coke. Everyone had said that this was a dangerous area and that I should avoid it and be careful , so secretly clutching my pepper spray with my heart doing double time I headed into a shibeen called " Joes truck stop " . Joe staggered over and asks what I needed but before I could answer his friend said that I should get cool drinks that were cold from around the corner and the 1.25 liter was R9.00. I agreed to this and he headed off with my money. I chatted to Joe while he explained in great detail that my " Brooks" running shoes were the best pair of Nike's he had seen. My coke arrived, I then had to pay an extra r5 because I did not have an empty and then I was on my way. So all my worries and need to clutch my pepper spray were for nothing as Joe and his buddy were as friendly and helpful as all others I had met on the road so far. (No picture's would not have dared take my camera ... I should have)
I figured that I had already done about 50 km so that mean that Harrismith was about 20 km up the road. It was then that I came across the 40 km to Harrismith board. Many hours later and a while after dark, I eventually got to Fred and Petrie Enslin home in Harrissmith. Petrie runs the Platberg nursery so you can imagine what a stunning garden she has. I was shattered and did not waste much time in getting into bed and falling asleep , Later that night when the thunder and rain woke me I was glad that I had done the 90 km rather than be stuck out in my tent in this weather .
Harrismith to Verkykerskop
Early the next morning I head off towards Verkykerskop. Fred Enslin had dropped me back on the wrong side of Harrismith because that where he had got me the evening before.
About 15 km into the run I met David Tresone who pulled over when he saw me. He said that they were expecting me to stay with them only in a day or so, which was correct because I thought they lived in Memel, as it turns out they lived just a short way up the road, so instead of a sleep over they met me at the entrance to the farm and supplied Coffee, biscuits and sandwiches. Thanks Carolyn and Dave.
I eventually got to Verkykerskop after a day of spectacular views and stunning scenery. There were more snakes on this road than all the other roads so far, it was quite fascinating.

I was met in Verkykerskop at the local shop by Stephan. Stephan runs the shop and manages the hotel /B&B accommodation, and is the barman, and is the local builder’s supervisor; I suspect he also runs the post office too. And just to top things off he has the most amazing and extensive Vinyl record collection you will ever see in your life .Seems metal is his passion but all genre's are carefully played and looked after



We shared a good couple of beers and reminisced about Yeoville in the 80's and Melville in the 90's and shared some tales that are best left unwritten :-) . Verkykerskop is definitely a place worth seeing. It appears that a lot of well known Afrikaans musicians have bought property or are investing in the area around there.
Verkykerskop to Memel

Today was a herd day, rain, rain and mud and more mud but one interesting this did happen, tricks of the mind.
Stephan and I had spend some time the previous evening talking about the fact that Verkykerskop was one of the last places that the Boers had hid their women and children from the British so it smuts have been on my mind .
I past some old abandoned laborers cottages and I nearly jumped right out of my skin when I hear a group of children laughing right behind my back. I got such a fright as they were so close that I jumped and spun around ...... again no one. Just my mind 
I got to Memel and stayed in the Memel hotel with Chris and Audrey martins that had left the movie industry a few years ago in cpt and have now settled in Memel. I was exhausted and headed off for an early night but not before I had had a wonderful burger from Audrey.


Memel to Volksrust
Rain Rain, Mud, cold, more rain and just when I thought I had seen the worst of it the hail joined the party too. This was a tough 60km. I only saw two farmers the whole day but I saw some exciting things and a sad thing too.

I ran about 200m behind a jackal for about 10 minutes along the dirt road before it realized that I was there and then it took off.

Later I came over a rise in the road and saw a little black lamb in the road. it kept dashing back to the fence and looked like it was trying to get under the fence but as I got closer I saw that it was really running to its mother rand trying to nudge her tostada up but she was not moving . I had closer look and saw that she was alive but looked like she was dying. I watched for a short bit and decide I could not do much except let things take their course and I headed on my way.
I stopped the next farmer I saw and told him but he did not seem too concerned.
Later in the day with about 10km to go I noticed that I was wandering a bit while running and was feeling g very detached and it almost felt like I was falling asleep . I thought that if I just run with my eyes closed for a bit then I will be ok. luckily something inside me said hang on , this is not right so I stopped sat down , drank some electrolytes , ate some food and then felt a bit better .
I arrived in Volksrust and met Louise at the tourism bureau and she arrange a place for me to stay at the Bridle Guest farm B&B where Amanda and Fannie took good care of me although I was so cold and tired from the rain and mud that was sleeping but 6:30

Volksrust to Amersfoort
I felt terrible when I woke up but decided t goes on anyway. The first 10km way horrific and I nearly called Louise to come fetch me as I was nauseas, sore, and vomiting but not much. After a while I started to feel better so I stuck it out and eventually at about 12 pm I reached Amersfoort.

Well what a surprise waited for me. I came around the corner and the primary school was lined up along the road all cheering and clapping , with a big sign “ AMERSFOORT WELOCOMES RICHARD GOODHEAD “ I spent the next while talking in my excellent Afrikaans to the children .

I found it quite funny how the girls all asked maternal questions , “ who is taking care of your children “ “ where do you sleep at night “ while the boys asked question like “ have you got lost yet “ and “ how far have you come” . I head prefects presented me with a enegade and a envelope with a lovely card inside
I stayed with Elaine du toit and had a wonderful dinner with her and her son Michael where we all shared a great bottle of red wine. Elaine, Michael and there friend Sandra all gave me a little something to help me on the road which was really appreciated.

I left Amersfoort with a feeling of worry as the previous day had not felt good at all but as I progressed I felt fine and things were going well. The road was not as bad as I had been told and at the 30km mark I found an unexpected shop / Shibeen and I chatted to Daniel while enjoying an ice cold coke .
He told me all the ways people could try and get into his shibeen and how he had secured them . very entertaining indeed .



I reached Ermelo eventually at about 2 pm and met Lin and Charles at Lins guest house .
Lin had offered me accommodation for the night and after a few jacks I was off to Sleep .


I had a big surprise waiting for me but more of that next time

Friday, November 5, 2010

Lady Brand to Clarens




Well it has been an exciting week. Firstly thanks to the owners of Smokey Joe’s Dinner for the use of their laptop and internet.



I was met in Lady Brand by “gouws” and Tracey who took me back to their house when I was going to stay. I met Tanita their Daughter when I got there. When they showed me to my room I found the parcel I ad been expecting with my new shoes and GU energy supplements, I was like a kid at Christmas. They were amazing people and they looked after me so well. Tracey went and bought me a new shirt, sweets, padkos, suntan cream and really took care of me well. The next day was my rest day and “gouws “ called an told Tracey that Nedbank Maseru were coming to see me to try and get some publicity for my run in Lesotho . The manager, Vusi, and his marketing person Rethabile arrived later in the day, we took some pics, and they gave me some hats, shirts, umbrella and a new raincoat. So hopefully some pledges for the charities will come out of Lesotho.
Later that evening we went out to the local steak house where gouws treated us to a scrumptious dinner and good company with Julian, Maria, Tanita and Tracey. It was a good time.

Later that evening gouws and Tracey gave me a wonderful donation towards some new equipment that I may need along the road. Sorry Tanita, I got your vacation money  .
The gouw’s are a friend of mine from work, vasti’s, family and I was interested to see how many of her mannerism’s and characteristics came from her family. Tanita has all the same gestures and emphasis’s in her body language as her sister. Oh, I forgot to mention that although gouws and Tracey think the run the show in the house, Tanita actually has them around her pinkie finger 

Thanks for a great stay Gouws family I really enjoyed it.

I left early the next day and headed for Clocolan, its 38 km to Clocolan. The km flew by quite quickly but I felt overloaded with all my new Ned bank stuff and energy supplements from GU. Therefore, along the road a few lucky children had new hats, shirts and a water bottle.

Eventually with about 10km to go to Clocolan, I passed some road maintenance people. One of them, a youngster, Moswandile, a trainee I s suspect decided to abandon his job and tag along with me. He was full of questions and wonder and constantly probed me for info about my journey. He told me about his home in Bothebelo and his church. He also tried to paint the picture that he was the boss of the road maintenance crew and his leaving them was no worry at all. Just when I thought he was about to come all the way to Kili with me his cell phone rang , there was an animated discussion in Sotho and when he hung he sheepishly looked at me and told me that he had to go as that was his boss who was not too happy about him abandoning his job . We parted ways after a picture together.

Shortly thereafter, I entered Clocolan and found joy and Keith at the Clocolan Chalets where I was to stay. Joy seemed to enjoy the company and chatted away endlessly. She has Diabetes that seems to be out of control and she explained that she is losing weight at a rate that she cannot control.
I promised to send her a picture of me on top of Kili as that was important to her, as she wanted to hang it in the pub.

I left early the following day and headed for Ficksberg .tested my leg for about 1 km without problems and then decided to walk, I spent the next while getting angry with drivers for being selfish and for littering so much on the roads. You can tell when you are 10km from a town because that is where the drivers throw all the takeaway boxes and cool drink and alcohol bottles out their windows. The road cleaning crew who I met told me that what I was seeing was only for two months as that is how often they come past. It is flippin disgusting.

I met Pete when I was just about to enter Ficksberg; He is a roadside artist that specialises in Tombstones and garden ornaments made from sandstone. I shared my sandwiches with him and he showed me how to chip the sandstone into neat shapes .Very interesting indeed.




I found Fiona in Ficksberg and was surprised by the size of the town, I went with her to the Bellevue B&B, she is also a runner and we chatted about injuries and the effects of ice and heat. Fiona and Gerit have a stunning Sandstone Guest house that is fit for king. I had dinner with Gerrit and Fiona and enjoyed it thoroughly. Gerrit and I discussed his work and my work, this was a change, and the first time I had.

I was woken up at midnight with the sounds of someone in my room. I could see no one but after serious searching and investigation, I found the culprit, a frog. In the rubbish packet that I had left on the floor.

The next day was a long and hard day from Ficksberg to Fouriesberg, 50km, walking only took 9 hours. The day was broken by the presence of regular informal Cherry sellers along the side of the road, most of them had the cutest little straw stalls they had built themselves and others had occupied old farm stalls from days gone by. I eventually bought a small pack of cherries so that I did not have to discuss my lack of cherries at every seller I came to.

Later in the day I had another encounter that has led me to believe that I am being chased / shadowed across the by God . A silver 4x4 pulled up and Stephan Opperman , a regional sales guy for Nestle , got out , we chatted for a while and he then showed me his bible and specifically Joshua 30:18 which was to say that if i trust in God he will look after me . i quite liked that idea.
Thanks Stephan for the support and the donation.



The scenery has changed dramatically in the last couple of days and the majestic sandstone buttresses leave me in awe of what nature can produce . I spent the night outside Fouriesberg with Dermot and Yvette Obrien from Camelroc guesthouse. Yes, there is a rock that looks exactly like a Camel.


I Spent the evening on my own and decided this walking really sucks and that tomorrow I will run and see how the shin holds out.

I set out at 6 am and had a magnificent run to Clarens, The scenery was awesome, and the running was spectacular. I saw the road markings for the Surrender hill marathon. It is quite a hill. You should come run this race if you have not already, because as far as a spectacular view m it takes some beating.

I arrived in Clarens before lunch and was treated to a free coke and water from the person at the village grocer shop.

I am staying at the protea hotel tonight thanks to the marketing person from the hotel Christine.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Aliwal to Lady Brand





Aliwal to Vanstadenrus

On Arrival in Aliwal north I met a chap walking into town, Simon. Simon walked the last 2 km into town with me and showed me his Comrades badge from 2009, he runs for the correction services club. We started talking about times etc and when he mentioned 4 hours for Oceans I decided that I should just say nothing about my times and listened contently to his stories.

Aliwal was arrest day for me and I met up with Roelf Coetzee at his shop. I was promptly handed a coke and we headed up to Roelf’s home. I met Roelf's wife Louise and his daughter Lucinda. I dedicated my rest day to trying to resolve some PC problems that Roelf was having. Managed to sort out the one machine but the other machine had less success but it was a great break from the running. Louise packed me sandwiches and Powerade and I set of the next morning fairly early.

My day was mainly occupied by chasing my elusive pair of new Brooks Running Shoes. I eventually managed to track them to Bloem and having already passed Rouxville arranged to collect them from the Shoprite store in Lady Brand in few days time. Thanks Martin, Thanks Marc.

Shortly after this an old smoking car pulled off the road and a middle aged lady hoped out and inquired about my journey. She rushed back to her car, came back, thrust R100 buck into my hand, said good luck and headed of in her smoke mobile. Thanks Mrs Pokony .

The wind howled straight into my face for the last 18km, ok ok, maybe it was not howling but it was blowing hard so I took well over 2 hours to complete the 18 kms.

I arrived at my 4 Star B&B destination. Eugene and Alta welcomed me. I was expecting to be staying in a back room somewhere but I was shown to a luxury cottage with 4 bedrooms , sitting room , shower , bath room , full of interesting antiques and memorabilia of a time gone by . I had a swim, a great bobootie lunch.
I spotted some type of strange fluffy chickens in the garden.

The little cottage I stayed in was called the “Ou Huise “ . I had a good sleep until about 2 am when I was woken by the sound of some calling my name ,, “Ricky , Ricky” . I sat bolt upright and answered, “ yes “ .. …. Nothing . I quickly got up, turned on the light and did a quick check for ghosts,,,,, phew ,,,, none of those around .and went back to sleep.


Headed out the next morning towards Zaston aiming for Van Stadensrus . At the second stop / go road works disaster struck. I step off the high level of the new road to the low level of the old road and the pain that shot through my shin was incredible.
I could not run at all without pain but walking seemed ok. I walked the remaining 30 km to vanstadenrus and was relived to get there.

A lady stopped in a blue 4x4 and asked what I doing so I explained, she asked what time I leave in the mornings so I said about 6 and she went on her way. I stayed in the home of a policewomen Cor-marie Nel . She actually stays in the original house that Martinus van Staden lived in.


Vanstaden Rus to lady brand


I left at about 6 am the next morning and started on my +\- 30 km walk to Wepener as I could stillnot run .
As I came over a hill at about the 18km mark I could see a two vehicles and some people at the entrance to one of the farms .

Well my oh my , what a surprise . the lady from yesterday had set up a lovely “ water table “ on top of a quad bike and her and her two boys , Pieter –Schlak and Micauw were waiting to welcome me . I had rusks and coffee , Pieter and Micauw had drawn some pictures for me which I have in my journal . So I seems that Rolaine Grobberlaar was my angel of the day as I was thrilled by what she had done . While I was talking to her something was bothering me , then I realised what it was . How come were there two vechiles at the farm entrance , her 4x4 and a big blue quad bike . Her boys wereonly 5 and 6 , so I asked her how it got here . She just laughed and told me that farm boys are different from city boys and that Micauw had driven it down .

A while later her husband Schalk arrived in his 4x4 and we had a long talk about my trip . .


I headed on and and just before Wepener Rolaine reappeared with a coke and instructions that I should see the local doc in Wepener as she had organised it already . I did this and ended up with a voltaren injection and instructions to keep walking without running for foreseeable future ,which I have pegged as Clarens

I found my place to stay and headed to the local pub . Between Wynand , alex and James I had enough beers bought for me that I would not have to carbo load for quiet some time .

I stayed in the Lord Frazer guest house which Mrs Swanpoel the owner had donated a nights accommodation to me as well as some of there famous ox tail stew . I staggered out of Wepener at 5 am the next morning as it was going to be a long 37 km walk to Hobhouse . The news paper lady from Vanstadens rus passed me during the course of my walk and gave me her sons coke which was really tasty …heheheh….sorry dude .



I arrived in Hobhouse at lunch time and coming down the road hand in had were Cedric and his wife betty , they were on there way to meet me .
Cedric runs a coffeshop / Art gallery / leather works . they are both retired already .

I noticed that at every opportunity Betty mumbles instructions to Cedric under her breath whichhe appears not to hear and he at every opportunity Cedric shows little tender moments towards Betty , touching her hand , putting his arm around her , kissing hand after grace . I was very sweet to watch .

Betty is 64 and was born in Hobhouse , went to school there and knows most of what goes on in the town . She took me on a guided tour passed almost every house o intown and told me who lives there etc . Hers eyes slight up when she remembers the past , she shows me the house where a friend she went to school with still lives and then mentions that her friends husband shot himself 4 months ago .
The same thing happens when I stop to take a picture of an old blue stone house . She explains that the house belongs to the crazy women in town and will never be sold because that is the house where the crazy woman’s brother killed himself .
Sadly Hobhouse is a town in decline as everything is run down and decaying or old …well not every thing . I visited Annie Slabbert , whose house Is brightly painted , neat pretty garden , She has a semi precious stone collection of note ..


Left the follwing day at 4 am as it is a 57 km walk to Lady brand and the news said 30 degrees was in order for tomorrow .

Since Oudsthoorn , I have been passed by high powered motor cyles flying along on Fridays and then the opposite directions on Sundays . They must be heading to biker rallies around the country .

Well last Friday a big blue Yamaha and a Silver Bmw went flying past and gave the customary wave as they normally do . and then today the came flying back the in the opposite direction and gave the same wave ,
A few minutes later , the blue Yamaha returned and I met Anton Roets from Queens town , Just as I had been wondering where they were going he had been wondering where I was going . They were on there way back from the Rhino rally in Harrysmith . We we joined a short while later by his friend Stuart and the three of us chatted along side the road for some time and swapped details with promises to contact again in the future .


Then on to Lady brand . 11:30 minutes later , I was there

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Middleburg to Aliwal North,





As I was coming into Middleburg a red 4x4 pulled up ahead of me a very presentable Italian looking fellow got out and came walking over to me and asked what I was up to .
I explained what I was busy with and he then told me that he was scouting some of the small towns in the karoo looking to buy a house to be converted into a women’s shelter for abuse women.
After chatting for a while he whipped some money out his wallet and suggested I have a good meal and with that he was gone.
Big thanks to my mystery Italian Giovanni Camaleri.

I headed into town and met with the local newspaper lady who is 82 years old, she made some tea and we had a good chat about nothing in particular, I suspect t that she is a lot sharper than people think. After that I headed down to the town hall to see the local art exhibition which proved to be quite interesting. Lynden Lund had some great paintings and Rob Southey had some spectacular photo scenes from the Karoo around middle berg .
There an artist who did some stunning Pewter work as I well.

I then went to the home of Kappie and Belinda Greef where i woul due staying that night . Belinda made a superb meal for both lunch and supper and I was thrilled to be there guest . Just before sunset I went on a tour of the town with Kappie . We visited the Grootfontien Agriculture College which was a British garrison during the Boer war . Judging by the grave stones you had more chance of surviving if you were off fighting some where rather than standing guard because the number of graves for guy’s killer don guard duty by lighting strikes is quite high .

I left early the next morning and headed for the place called Schoombie , , well actually my destination was just after Schoombie at a place called Teebus on the farm of Jannie and Alet Zwiegers . I was told there would be no signal on the road except at the tennis club in Schoombie . The run was pretty good and the 50km to Schoombie went very well and I arrive there at about 12pm . The plan was to call Jannie and he would come and get me but I decided that it would be better to push on the road by his farm and made an arrangement to meet them there at 1:30 pm . The 7 kms went quite well and it started raining as I got to the lucerendale road .

I was sitting in a rusty iron box waiting for Jannie when a Bakkie pulled up with two beer drinking smoke blowing characters . One lent out the window and asked " Are you the f..ing nut who's on his way to Kili ." and then he packed up laughing . They got out and introduced themselves , Andre and Van Eck . Van eck was Jannie's brother and Andre was his friend .


We headed back to the farm and on arrival had a black label .

Al little later Jannie arrived I could see he was not too thrilled with his brothers antics but let it go . We enjoyed a great lunch .
later I met Alet , Jannie's wife and I helped her and Jannie bottle feed the lambs .

We braai'd and Jannie’s father Morris , told some good stories about stock theft and banditry in the Karoo.

I left the next morning and enjoy a cool overcast run into Steynsberg and enjoyed the short day of 35 km .

I was met in Steynsberg by Rob Van kerkhof , his wife Sally and Mike Wink . Mike gave me a superb boerewors roll and a Rob sorted out a lovely cold coke from the local shop keeper .
I went with rob and Sally to their house . You have never seen a neater house in your life and Robs Pc's was super duper and lightning fast . my Garmin was full so I was able to download the Tcx files off my watch and save them on a flash drive .
Sally made enough food to feed and army of runners and I t was a welcome meal . The spare bearings for my pram had arrived but the old ones are still holding out so I just packed them as spares for the future .
Sally and Rob packed me a meal for the road that was fit for a king . .

I left before 5 am the following morning as I had 70 km to cover to Burgersdorp but I had seen a short cut that would hopefully take 10 or more km's off me route .
Well it turned out hat the route was shorter but it took 11hours to cover the 65 km for the day . some due to loose sand on the road but a lot due to me just be slow and lazy .

Just before I hit the short cut an emerald Uno pulled up and a gentle man introduced himself as Willie Coetsee and his wife gave me an enegrade . they were the parents of the people I would see in Aliwal north in a couple of days . I recalled seeing the Uno twice before , Once near Middle berg and once in steyns berg . They confirmed this as they had waved at me at the time .

After the short cut , I had about 20 km left to go and a white car stopped and asked how I was doing as Rob in Steynberg had told them to look out for me ,
I headed on and with about 12 km to go I was really tired and just wanted the day to end . the same white car showed up again and the lady , Joey , ask if I would mind writing for notes to each of Sally's grandchildren in New Zealand . I obliged although I think my note were rather short and my writing was more horrific than normal . Joey then said she was going to go back to Burgersdorp and fetch me a coke . I half heartedly argued about this but was really grateful when she sped off towards Burgersdorp.

Joey returned when I had 8 km to go and she had brought company . her Daughter Antoinette and her friend Adele , jumped out the car and announced that they would accompany for the last bit into town . My mood lifted instantly . here I was strolling along in the middle of nowhere with two beautiful young ladies as my companions . The y told me everything and anything that there was to know about Burgersdorp and mad e the last 8 km so entertaining that before I knew it we were in town .

they took me right up to the door of the people where I was staying and that ended my 11 hour 65 km day . Thanks Joey , Thanks Antoinette and Adele.

Christine and Nico we great hosts they had been expecting me a lot earlier and had already finished having a bray when I arrived . NIco is an n ex Para bat and enjoys all things that involve physical effort . I was exhausted so did not chat long and headed for and early night . I left the next morning at 5 am with 56km to get to Aliwal North . After about 10km ,nico came whizzing past me on his racing bike as he is training for a cycle event . Flip sake he can go fast . I had left my jacket at his house and he called Christine and she brought it too me .

I arrive in Aliwal at just after 12 midday .

Thursday, October 21, 2010


I set off at 4:20 am to try and beat the heat as it is 56km from Aberdeen to Graafreinet . The running was great , easy flat run for most of the way , I hit the the 42km mark in 5:02 but lets take a step back to the 30km mark for a second. David from Aberdeen had alerted me to keep an eye out for a Bed at the 30km mark . A bed ? yes a real 100year old bed . Made of brass too . So there it was just near the 30 km mark . Shining in the sun light . And the story ? you may well ask . it goes like this .
About 100years or more ago the was a boer farmer who's wife got really really sick so in an effort to get her well he needed to take her to the doctor in the nearest town . She was so sick that she could not travel so he took her and her entire bed and loaded them onto his ox wagon and made a desperate dash to get to the doctor . Sadly she died and in his grief he buried her and placed the bed over her grave as a memorial to her . and that's how the story goes .

Eventually i arrived in Graaf reinet , Yippee a rest day . I was walking down the main street heading into town my mind was focused on one thing only and that was to get to the Super save store i could see and buy a coke for myself . As i approached i became aware of a karoo farmer looking type watching me carefully from just outside the door of the shop , I glanced at him a couple of times and my mind just could not place him as i was still focused on my Coke . Ahha , it was Johan , I was relived to see him as i was finished and I was going ot be staying with Johan and Aleta Theron from the next wo nights . Aletta , my sister inlaw Gwen's sister appeared out of the shop and handed me an ice cold coke . We headed back to there place and straight into an ice cold pool . How wonderful that was ! Followed by a Snoek on the braai .

Later that day I accompanied Johan and Alleta to Prayer meeting with the Gideons society of Graaf Reninet , it was very enlightening and amusing as well because never in my life have a heard a sheep Bleating in the middle of a prayer session , I won't say who the guilty party was for leaving their cell phne on but i heard a rumour that his wife did the same thing in the women's prayer meeting . Soues van Zyl made a donation to my cause and I was presented with a Gideons bible to accompany me on my trip . Aletta organized my places to stay in a lot of the towns after Graaf reinet and I was thrilled that she was able to do this .

I spent the next day loafing around the house and relaxing and eating everything i could find in the house .I got a parcel with some transact and letters from my family which was a wonderful surprise . I really enjoy the letters
. Thanks Johan and Aletta for wonderful stay in your house

Graffreniet to Middleberg .


The Glen ,
I headed out of Graaf Reinet at about 4:30 am , I was heading for a farm called " The Glen " .

I was fairly down and depressed when I start today and could not really put my finger on why , everything was just hard and i think i was a bit homesick but it was Richard's 16th birthday today . I called as soon as i knew he was up and was very happy to chat to him . He did admit the 16 felt the same as 15 but he was happy with his gift and had had a great festive party on the weekend . Once i had chatted to Richard my mood changed for the better and i started to enjoy the day .

I made fairly quick work of getting to " the Glen " and Marion de la Harpe was suprised to see me so early . i must say they have a magnificent farm home . Marion took me straight inside and produced so me tea and we had a good chat about my venture . She told me about a german couple on bicycles who had passed through a while back .

Anthony arrived home and we had lunch together and i was treated to a drink that was home made from a citrus fruit called a Pamplemous , it is not grapefruit and is far to bitter to eat , The drink was wonderful . Anthony took me to see the sheep being sheared after lunch an i was amazed to see how quick the guys are and how the throw the fleece for sorting .
Anthony showed me the clear difference between wool and mohair .

Marion and Anthony run a 3 star guest house on their farm and it i s well worth the a visit as I will show you what a 4th generation family farm looks and feels , like full of history and tradition .

theglenbb@telkomsa.net is the contact for them .


Jagpoort

I left the Glen before the sun was up and head for first the Naudesberg pass 1450m and then the lootsberg pass 1750 m . The wind was howling straight into my face for most of teh day and i t took over 5 hours to manhandle my pram up the passes and down to the JAgpoort farmstall .

At the farmstall I met Alet Schoombee , and she pointed me in the direction of the house where I would find here husband Niel .

I went staright and had som elunch and then had a solid sleep as i was shattered from the passes andthe head winds .

I coul s say lots about what i saw and did at jagpoort but one thing stood out above all else but before i mention that i have to say the since leaving Agulhas , Jagpoort was the first working farmstall that i encountered tahtw as not in a town and the coke fridge was a welcoming sight .

Oh , yes back to the one thing that stood out , this is a love story not to be missed .
Alet and Niell wrote there first love letters to each other when they were in standard three . By standard 8 they were dating properly and with the obvious breaks for military duty and studies they have been together ever since . Alet told me that when she was in high school that her father had tried to convince her that the she meet other guys before getting too involved . he explained that there were many different sweets in the jar and that she had only tried toffee and should try other before deciding on her favorite . well , she told him that she liked toffee and that was that . They refer to each other as their true first loves .


Jagpoort to Middleberg .

today on the raod was really interesting . the runing was going well but the wind was picking up and i had to make 40 km to Middleberg .

I was running along thinking about my sore foot and what i could do to fix it . Cortisone came to mind , strapping came to mind , I even thought about praying for it but then i remembered that according to the bible you supposed to have a group of people together if you want you pray to come true .

I stopped took a good pic of a windmill and some flowers and then headed on my way


I saw a fancy looking sports car coming towards me and it went whizzing by like all the other cars and we shared a wave . The car disappeared over the hill behind me but i thought i heard the sound of the motor gear down .

A few minutes later the same fancy sports car crawled back passed me made a U turn and stopped in front of me , I went to the passenger window and greeted the young lady . The guy behind the wheel leaned across , asked where i was going , ask what i was smoking when i told him and promptly handed me an ice cold Energade . They asked how things were going and i said all was pretty well except my foot . Well with That Martin Joubert and his wife Adri were out the car in a flash and there we were in the middle of the Karoo praying for my foot . A sign , I don't know , you decide .


They gave me some sweets a fancy self defense stick and the promise of assistance if I need it .

Martin , Adri you made my day , and the foot feels a lot better .


Later i entered middleberg but will save that for another post .