Don’t EVER trust Your GPS!!

I’ll talk about the good stuff first.

There are enough hadedas flying overhead, screeching, to satisfy even MT.  They’re big birds with downward curved beaks – long ones – which they use to root up grubs and insects in the grass I think.  At least that’s what it looks like they’re doing.  They’re quite pretty, seeming to be quite different colours as the light hits their feathers from different angles.

Saw another big bird today in a tree just off the porch here, big and dark coloured with a short flat topknot.  His call was sort of a ‘whoo whoo whoo whoo whoo whoop whoop whoop’  I’m counting on MT knowing what it was.

The drive through the gorge was beautiful!  Took a hike through the forest to see Hoopoe Falls, and you can forget that if you’re ever here.  The hike took me two hours there and back – granted I’m a pretty slow hiker – through some paths that were six inches wide along the side of a cliff, over fallen trees, up and down rocks, past numerous centipedes, both the black ones and the red ones, and past one pile of what looked like monkey poop, which was when I started wondering if maybe I should go back to the car.  But I could hear the hoopoes and the falls and really wanted to see them.  Didn’t see any hoopoes and the “falls” was all of two feet high!  Was I p.o’d!  Sweat was even dripping off the end of my pony tail – all for what?

Hoopoe Falls?  Good grief!

Hoopoe Falls? Good grief!

The path to Hoopoe Falls

The path to Hoopoe Falls

Well the bad part was that I smacked the car up.  It’s the damn GPS’s fault – again.  Getting to the gorge it told me to take a turn and it was shortly after that that I realised that the ‘road’ was fast narrowing into a small one-track sand lane.  I was looking for a place to turn around when I came to a very steep bit with deep dry sand.  I shifted right down and made a run for it, but the car stalled out after spinning its tires.  With the stall I lost my steering and brakes – at least any I could manage, and the car slid backwards down the hill into a rock.  Ripped the bumper and creased the rear quarter panel.  What that’s going to cost me will prevent any further vacations for a while, I think.  I don’t think – I know!

The car still runs OK and all the lights appear to be working – going to go out now that it’s dark and check again though.

And the damn thing still doesn’t count exits on the roundabouts properly.  Took the exit today that it told me to (I was behind a big truck so couldn’t see what was ahead) and I ended up in a huge mall parking lot.

I use two maps, my google directions when they’re available and the GPS and I still have trouble arriving where I want to go.  Best advice?  If your map or google seems to say different, ignore the GPS.  It will take you places no tourist was ever meant to see!

I finally got to the top of the farmer’s lane today and there was a big fence with a huge sign that read “GPS Users:  This is NOT the road to Oribi gorge.  Return to main road etc”  He has made a big space to turn around, and kindly helped me check under the car to make sure nothing was leaking.  He says he gets literally dozens of travellers up there as their GPS reads his laneway as a road.  He had to put the fence up since the lane ends abruptly and a few feet later there is a cliff that gets you to the gorge much more quickly than you might have planned.  He is also building a few cabins up there which will have a spectacular view of the gorge and making a trout pond too as well as more cabins down in the bush.  Will be worth seeing when it’s done I think.

Oribi Gorge 2

Oribi Gorge 2

Oribi Gorge 1

Oribi Gorge 1


Anyway, I’m a bit low right now about the car accident, and anxious about how much it will cost.  Just hoping I don’t have any problems with Avis about it, but for sure if I ever have to rent a car again, will make sure that I have time to wait until they give me the size I want.  Again ordered (and was promised) a VW Golf, and got this huge Toyota which has a seat so low I can barely see over the steering wheel and surely can’t see either the rear end or the front end to tell where they are.  And you know I’m not short, so it’s a very weird car, made for N American males only I think as they have longer bodies from hip to head.

Have another lizard fast food joint outside my door.  A CF light in a big glass enclosure that there will be 4 or 5 of them sitting on it at night just waiting for the moths and other bugs to come sailing in to them.

Oh, also for you language buffs – saw a sign on a bathroom decorator’s shop the other day – in a good, upscale part of town too – “Bathroom Bizarre”.  What a difference spelling makes, eh?  Also saw a fish and chip menu that gave you the option of “tartare” sauce with your fish.  EEK!

Now I really am going to go.




  1. Maria said

    Wow…very sorry to hear about the bang-up, but all I kept thinking is, ‘hey, she is safe- no ‘human’ bang up, after all, it could have been a spin out on a narrowing road smack down into the gorge…’ so the bright side is you are alive and can plan a cheaper vacation next year 😉 or you can set up your hammock in the back yard, run a slide show of past vacations, and relive them all over again…invite a few friends over and barbecue…just glad you are okay…material stuff can be paid for or replaced. Your humanity cannot.

    • grannym said

      Thanks, Maria.

      Yes, I was lucky in many ways.

  2. MT said

    Hey – glad you’re OK and the car has only a flesh wound – better than the other way round. Oribi Gorge is very pretty, but may have been a disappointment after the size of Blyde River. Did you see the suspension bridge?
    Think tomorrow you head for East London through the Transkei via the N2. If you need a break in Umtata there was a great pottery/weaving place called Izlandla Pottery (a small mohair throw might fit in your suitcase?) – quite famous years ago – checked the ‘net and it’s still in operation. Bought not a sensible throw but a piece of pottery which came home safely in the carry-on, and now has pride of place in livingroom. Should be good fish in E. London (tried kabelou or kingklip yet?). As you leave there you go near Peddie (smell the pineapples?). Love Grahamstown – U. town with clock tower in main drag. P.E. had snake park on the front – man did demonstrations with poisonous snakes. Good tea room right outside it run by charity ladies – I remember the food more than I do the reptiles!
    Am looking at road atlas bought in 1980 to write this and see mileage that friend I kept – Durban to CapeTown and back via circuitous route – 4711 km. This is what will get to you … total cost of petrol was R164.20!!! (R1 = approx. $2 CAN then). Of course all these places mentioned above could be very much changed since I saw them last. They say you can’t go home again – and it’s often true.
    Glad you are appreciating the fly-past of hadedas, raucous but helpful things. Need some here to get the snails from the garden after the wet summer. As to your brown flat-topped feathered friend … I haven’t a clue. The only bird I know like that is the hamerkop, and it’s highly unlikely there, I would think.
    Safe journey as you head west. May the weather be kind along the coast. Terrific weather here for long weekend. Looking forward to next blog entry. MT

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