Tuesday, June 24, 2008

20 June 2008 – Malekalone to Vuvu

A long day was expected here so we had an early start at 05:00. The first 2 hours were on reasonably well maintained roads. Apparently the locals are given 1km sections of road to maintain for a year to provide an income for the local population. It was interesting to see a lot of local standing at the side of the road at this time of the morning. Later we realised why when a bus came trundling past picking up their passengers.

As the sun started to rise we headed off the sand road and headed out into the veld. Here we passed all the local villages with there herds of goats and fire wood collectors. These guys cut down the wattle trees and tie the branches together, and with the help of oxen drag this firewood many kilometers back home (making fantastic paths across the land)

Then the rain came back, but I wasn't going to get caught again so I hurriedly got out my raincoat which worked like a dream. We reached an old shop at Black Fountain and had to turn left and follow a water pipe for a few kilometers across the ridge.

There was now an option of a route choice. Fiona and I opted to try the new route going down to the right of the peak, while the others used the more conventional quicker route. We all got to Tinana Mission where we had lunch.

We now had another option, to take the long boring district road or the single track. We opted for the single track. It was fantastic, heading in and out of the villages, alongside the Tina river. It was slow going as there was so much mud from the heavy rains that day, but we had to move as quickly as possible to use the available sunlight to identify the features for navigation. Eventually as the sun was setting we saw the tower at the base of Vuvu and had to prepair for a monster climb. The path was so muddy that we had to carry our bikes as the mud would packup on the wheels ont they wouldn't turn. By this stage we were all pretty exhausted.

We arrived at the local school where they had prepared supper for us, rice, potatoes, samp, marog, chicken and goat. We were then assigned a local family and they took us off to their homes to sleep. Fiona and I were hosted by Prudence and her husband, who had given us their beds with, I am sure the entire family's blankets. We had a fantastic nights sleep after a 13 hour, exhausting day.

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