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After a brief layover in Swaziland, we made our way to the Northern Drakensberg (a.k.a. the Dragon Mountains in Afrikaans and ‘Barrier of Spears’ in Zulu) in South Africa. With our base at the beautiful Amphitheatre Backpackers near Bergville, we set off to explore the nearby natural wonders.

Sentinel Peak at the Drakensberg Amphitheatre was the subject of our first day trip. Although the Amphitheatre is visible from our campsite, the trailhead is two hours, 22km of road construction, a town named Phuthaditjhaba (try pronouncing it), and a narrow mountain road away on the backside of the mountain.

I could try to describe the vastness and grandeur of the mountain with words, but pictures do a much better job telling the story.



Exhausted after a long day of hiking, we were looking forward to a cold beer and a hot shower back at the campsite. Unfortunately, the mountain won’t let us leave. On the narrow mountain road that lead to the trailhead, a negligent truck driver took his semi off-roading and blocked all traffic from passing.

In my mind, there are only two real options for getting out: 1) move the truck or 2) drive around the truck. The truck is clearly not going anywhere on its own. Even if a big enough tow truck show up to tow a semi, I am not sure how it can get to a position to dislodge the truck. With trees and steep slopes guarding both side of the road, driving around is not an option. With the sun setting in the horizon and no progress in sight, I thought there was a real possibility of us being stranded for the night.

Since Africans generally lack the resources to properly fix broken things, they are creative experts at making broken things work. In a stroke of problem solving genius, a team of park staff got some saws to cut the trees and shovels to relocate dirt to widen the road so cars can pass.

Amazingly… it worked!

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