Sheate's World Tour 06/07 travel blog

Heading out into the country

Vast countryside of Africa

Trish and Zyl's Farm

Kenney Sisters and Killer the dog!

Little boy at play

A couple of Easy Riders at the Gecko bike rally

Killer was not amused at the shinnanagans!

Sisterly reunion

Trish and Zyl at work in their bar

Blyde River Canyon in the rain!

Not a happy traveller - hungover and wet

Lisbon Falls

Beautiful views from the Lisbon Falls

Old Gas Station in Pilgrims Rest

Pilgrims Rest - uptown

Pilgrims Rest - Old Alluvial Mines

Mac Mac Falls

A township just outside of Sabie

Lone Creek Falls

Long Tom Pass to Lydenburg

After saying farewell to John and Doreen we headed off to the province of Mpumalanga, "The Place of the Rising Sun". After driving the long way around to avoid motorway tolls we arrived at Middleberg, and proceeded north to Dullstroom. Consisting of only a few quiet streets with pine trees, it is famous for its trout fishing. We finally arrived at Mashishing (formerly Lydenburg, meaning 'Town of Suffering'), our destination for a couple of nights. This is also the new home of Patricia (Debbie's sister) and her husband Zyl.

The rest of the day was spent having a quick look around their restaurant Wagon Wheels and then jumped in their car for a tour of their farm and the area. We ended up at the Gecko Rally in Roosenekal (a bikers rally - don't ask!). Lets put it this way there were some very strange people around. No disrespect to other bikers but this was like stepping into the TV set of League of Gentlemen and Royston Valley (UK Comedy). However it was fun and there were some mean machines about.

With a boerie roll (large hot dog) in the tummy and a few Jagerbombs (Jagermeister and Red Bull) we made our way back to Lydenburg where things got a bit messy. A little worse for wear David made friends with everyone at the bar and soon he was introduced to South African shooters, his eyes soon glazed over and he had to be carried home. David claims it was the hot dog that made him so ill - yeah right!

An early start and a hangover for David we headed out of Trisha's complex. As we had to leave the keys behind the gated front door, Debs had to press the button, throw the keys in and run for the electronic gate before it shut. It was quite amusing watching her run as fast as she could but unfortunately she didn't quite make it so had to climb over the gated wall only to land in a huge mud puddle - she was not a happy chappy!

It was pouring with rain as we headed up to Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve. Hoping that the rain would stop we were met with low lying clouds and rain at the worlds 3rd largest canyon. Stopping at a few viewpoints, including the Three Rondavels, we realised that the weather wouldn't get any better so headed south to the impressive Lisbon Falls. With it raining all night and all morning they were in full flow. After a quick drive through Graskop we stopped at Graskopkloof Falls where you can bungy swing, but decided against it before heading out to Pilgrims Rest.

Pilgrims Rest was established in 1873, when gold was discovered nearby and for the next 10 years the area buzzed with diggers from all over the world working small scale alluvial claims. In the 1880's the big boys arrived and the town became a company town. The company finally relinquished the town when the gold ran out and in 1972 it became a national monument. Split in two parts, uptown has an interesting information place giving a good history of the town. All the buildings date from the turn of the 20th century and are picture postcard. It is a lovely little village with Jacaranda trees lining the street. On the way down to downtown we passed the old claims area which in their time were dug bare.

We headed south to Sabie and stopped at the Mac Mac falls named after the many Scots in the area during the gold rush. With the weather clearing we took a drive through Sabie where we saw a huge township just outside. The whole area has an extensive pine plantation with some of the worlds largest artificial forests. After passing the logging factory we arrived at the stunning 68m Lone Creek Falls which are situated in a small rain forest.

On the way back we took the beautiful Long Tom Pass back to Lydenburg, passing 2,150m the highest point on the road offering some great views. With England playing Australia in the first quarter final we had to endure listening to the game in Afrikaans as we struggled to find reception for English channels. David was struggling to keep his nerves as the game went on. That night we headed into Dullstroom for a few celebratory drinks following England's win before returning to Trish and Zyl's restaurant to try out their menu which was yummy.

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