The bus dropped us off in Durban about 10pm, by which time we were pretty shattered, and we checked into the happy hippo hostel, which although had been recommended to us by a few people, looked pretty crap and in the middle of nowhere. The facilities were OK but it was like a big warehouse that had been converted into a hostel so it wasn't very cozy and had no atmosphere at all. We upgraded to a double room from the dorm we had booked so at least we had some privacy and the room looked a bit less depressing! After having a bit of a moan about it to each other we went to bed determined to make the most of the next day.
Luckily in the morning with fresh eyes and day light we did actually discover that we were in a pretty good area just behind the waterfront development, which is supposed to be one of the nicest and safest parts of Durban. Even the hostel didn't seem that bad after a good nights sleep.
We had breakfast in bed then went for a walk round the waterfront, along the beach and promenade and found a cafe to have the popular Durban dish, a bunny chow, which is basically a curry in a really big roll with the top and insides holed out. It was lovely, and massive!! I was absolutely stuffed afterwards! We waddled off to find a few supplies then walked back to the hostel to nap off our fatness.
In the evening, we went back to the waterfront development for a couple of drinks, thought about having dinner but were still too stuffed, and went back the hostel for marmite on toast, and to watch a film on the iPad.
We had an early start the next day when the bus picked us up at 7am and we were on our way to Drakensburg. We had been told it was supposed to be beautiful but I don't think we realised just how beautiful it would be! The scenery on the drive was absolutely lovely, all vast green valleys and hills and mountain and lakes, it looked totally undisturbed, nature at its best.
We arrived at our hostel (not so much of a hostel but a complex with different buildings for different types of rooms, a camp site, a big thatched building with a restaurant and bar, braiia areas and a swimming pool outside) and after a very frustrating 30 mins checking in while the dithering women behind the counter sorted her life out (lost her glasses, found them, then lost them again, forgot what she was saying half way thru saying it, checked in everyone she could find at the same time, and insisted on showing us a photo slide show of previous guests) we were eventually shown to our dorm in the beautiful gardens. Our view was the amphitheatre hills, a series of hills curved round to form an amphitheatre type shape.
We spent the afternoon chilling out on the grass in front of our dorm, trying to take in the beautiful views, before grabbing a glass of wine from the bar and watching he sunset. Beautiful.
For dinner, trying to use up all the stuff we had left in the food bag before leaving South Africa, we made a Chicken casserole concoction, then spent the evening watching films in the TV lounge above the bar, snuggled up with the hostel dog, who was so old I'm not even sure it knew where it was, but at least it seemed happy to have company.
We had planned to go to Lesotho the next day on a tour that the hostel ran, but when we arrived we were told they weren't running it, so settled for doing a hike up the amphitheater hills instead.
We were up early for a 2 hour hectic, bumpy and pretty scary drive up the mountain, followed by a 12 km, 6 hour hike up to the amphitheatre waterfall - which we later discovered no longer existed as it was winter and the dry season!! The area was absolutely beautiful. The walk was really hard, the hardest we had done since we'd been away, up steep rock 'stairs' for 250 meters and down vertical metal ladders the other side, but was really good, we really enjoyed it.
We didn't get back to the hostel until the evening and were absolutely shattered so after a quick shower and change, made ourselves a pasta dinner then sat back in our favourite TV room again (which no else else seemed to have discovered so once again, had to ourselves) then dragged ourselves to bed before we passed out on the sofa!
After checking out the next day we went for a wander round the grassy fields surrounding the hostel, waiting for the bus to pick us up and drive us the long drive to Johannesburg.
We arrived in Jo'burg in the evening to check into a run down hostel, with lights that didn't work, no door on our bathroom and kitchen cupboards that fell apart when you opened them! Still we were only there for one night, it was cheap, and the hostel owner was really nice and best of all the WiFi was free!
Not wanting to hang around in the hostel for too long, we went to the hotel next door for a fatty buffet dinner before going back to our room and getting our stuff ready for one of the things i'd been looking forward to the most, Kruger Park!! :-)
We were picking a car up from the airport nearby the next morning so got everything organised and went to bed all excited about the animals we would see the next day!