Salt Highway

wavesSunday, 13 July 2008

It had been a really frustrating day of waiting to get permission for an escorted passage through the diamond mine area. There were fears that if we could not get through, we would be caught up in flash floods from the unrelenting rain of the past week. Dry river beds, after decades of dormancy suddenly turn into swirling vortexes of mud and debris, engulfing what ever lie in their path. With this lurking in the back of our minds, we decided to wait.

Permission now granted, we headed to the mine gate where we were met by our staff escort. Three Toyota vans, filled with security, and the rest. A complexed brief ensured and an explanation of the road. It was a 2 lane compacted clay road, which is sprayed with sea water and constantly compacted. When it is dry it’s like rock, but when it’s wet, its 4 inches of slush. When your foot finally breaks through the layer of mush, you then hit the salt which is like ice at the bottom and you skid off in any direction- great! and off we went to attempt our “Modder Plodder” 15km of this lay ahead.

Our escort kept me giggling, each vehicle had this long steel rod about 3m high attached to it back bumper with an orange funnel on the top, this kept reminding me of a family of Warthog running through the veld . (This was so that the massive dump trucks could see the vans, or they would be run over by them). Off the vans sped wagging their butts as the slid from side to side up the road.

Slowly we pushed on using our trekking poles to help keep balance as our feet cut through the slush and hit the base layer, then it was a guess in which direction you would end going before managing to regain your balance , then heading off after your other foot.
To top it all 8km down the highway from hell a van pulls up next to us and asks:
“Where are you guys heading?”
I looked at him and I was now a bit confused with the question but replied,
“We have come from Oranjemund and are on our way to Cape town and then running to Mozambique.”
He looked back at me even more surprised.
“Have you got permission?” he asked.
No! I replied. Why? This really blew his mind.
I look at the string of vehicles ahead of me and turned back to see the entourage following
You are in a restricted area!- he blurted and then the penny finally dropped, he just looked forward and accelerated, rooster tailing away up the muddy drag in embarrassment.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit sed.

Follow us on