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Chasing Rainbows in South Africa

Chasing Rainbows in South Africa


Driving in South Africa has proven to be relatively easy, especially for me given my butt has been firmly planted in the passenger seat. I fumble with maps and try to keep myself focused so I can, at least, pretend to offer some mediocre navigating support. But with so many distractions, my road ADD kicks in leaving me at about 50% capacity.

Scott, however, has taken to driving on the other side of the car, shifting manually with his left hand while driving on the left side of the road like a pro. He’s my hero.

Fortunately, the South Africans are some of the most courteous drivers we’ve ever experienced. They use their signals! To me, using your car’s signals is the simplest form of communication. There are a lot of non-communicators out there in the world.

And then there’s the passing etiquette here. While on the smaller (one or two lane) roads in SA, one will see the slower drivers (including big trucks) move over to the shoulder to allow the faster drivers to pass. The passer then puts on his/her hazards as a “thank you” and the passee responds back with a flash of the high beams or a turn signal as a “you’re welcome”. Scott and I developed a thank you system that ranges from 1-4 flashes of our hazard light thank you. The more efforts the passee makes, the longer the thank you.

On the road, especially near towns and cities, one will see hawkers (folks selling their goods) walking in the middle of the road. Dangerous way to make a living. There are also a lot of hitchhikers waiting alongside the road. I have a sense that this is how some folks get to work. This seems to be a more frequent occurrence near towns and cities, but we’ve seen people way out in the middle of nowhere looking for a ride – families, singles, men, women, women with babies or small children. Often the hitchhikers are holding their arm out with a 10 or 20 Rand bill in their hand.

Did you know?
South Africans call stoplights robots. This is very important information to know, when receiving directions from locals. At first we expected to see a giant Robot (think “Lost in Space”) standing by the road up ahead…

People We Meet While Driving

We stopped for gas along the Garden Route, and the folks who worked at the station were so full of life we were happy that we drove 8 kilometers out of our way to fill up.
We didn’t even ask, but they tackled our dirty windows with the enthusiasm of children in a candy store.
At all public areas (including grocery stores) there are parking helpers – folks who earn a living (usually through tips) helping you find a parking space and keeping an eye on your car. Here, we parked near Table Mountain and 3 hours later this gentleman remembered our car among dozens.
Like in Mexico, we see a lot of wood haulers.
And sometimes the occasional goose will pass by at the pump.
She walked right up to me and asked, “Diesel or Petrol?”
We meet the sweetest people at the gas stations.

Things We See While Driving 

This is one of the many townships we passed on our travels.
Our spontaneous stops – at a beach or picnic or hiking area – are usually enjoyable.
This stop was not. Monwabisi Beach is like one gargantuan garbage bin.
Kelp Gull
This one (several kilometers down the road) was.

Important Road Signs to Heed!

Were it not for the exclamation, we would’ve missed the overall significance of this message.

Driving in a quickly-passing rainstorm lends itself to joy and intrigue: Breathing in the crisp, fresh air of the sky’s newly cleansed palate and to be privy to (like part of a secret club) a glimpse, off in the distance, of earth’s brilliant and fleeting living display of technicolor. This double-beauty below? We chased her down and caught her on an isolated and beautiful beach…alone with birds and rainbows. Dizzying exhilaration.

Did you know?

You have to turn your back to the light and face the darkness if you want to see the brilliance of a rainbow. ~ksp


If there are dreams about a beautiful South Africa, there are also roads that lead to their goal. Two of these roads could be named Goodness and Forgiveness.
~Nelson Mandela

We have triumphed in the effort to implant hope in the breasts of the millions of our people. We enter into a covenant that we shall build the society in which all South Africans, both black and white, will be able to walk tall, without any fear in their hearts, assured of their inalienable right to human dignity
– a rainbow nation at peace with itself and the world.
~From Nelson Mandela’s Inaugural Speech in 1994

If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.
~African Proverb


Photos, videos and stuff*** Please contact me for permission to use images and text for commercial or private use. And please do follow this blog and/or write comments. A million five-hundred thanks. Check out the other South Africa posts below:

South Africa Post #1: Our first Kruger National Park Safari
South Africa Post #2: Babysitting a Banded Mongoose Pup in Marloth Park
South Africa Post #3: When Zebras Visit
South Africa Post #4: Daily Living in Marloth Park, South Africa
South Africa Post #5: Kruger Restcamps: Skukuza, Satara and Olifants
South Africa Post #6: Kruger Safari: Full Moon over Letaba
South Africa Post #7: Kruger Safari: Treasure Hunting in Tamboti and Lower Sabie
South Africa Post #8: There’s a Mongoose in my Ear!
South Africa Post #9: Peering through God’s Window at Blyde River Canyon
South Africa Post #10: The Dam Boat Tour at Blyde River Canyon
South Africa Post #11: Rare Sexual Encounters of South Africa
South Africa Post #12: To the Wildlife of Marloth Park
South Africa Post #13: Nelspruit to Cape Town
South Africa Post #14: Moved to Tears on Freedom Day
South Africa Post #15: Penguins in South Africa?
South Africa Post #16: The Southernmost Tip of Africa
South Africa Post #17Birds of Eden at Plettenberg Bay
South Africa Post #18: Dear South Africa: I love you, but…
South Africa Post #19: Elephants at Addo National Park 
South Africa Post #20The Garden Route: Nature’s Valley and Wilderness
South Africa Post #21: Endangered Bontebok
South Africa Post #22Top Five Cape Town Experiences
This is South Africa Post #23: Chasing Rainbows in South Africa
South Africa Post #24Vegan Wanderlust in South Africa
South Africa Post #25Ubuntu


  1. Sandy

    You did a phenomenal job on sending all these blogs. I watched the very first one you sent, and that took me one hour, so I haven’t seen any more since then except this one. I apologize, but I have so very little time to do such things. I have saved them all, and have them in a folder in your name. So, I have 23 more to watch, and am very anxious to do so.

    Tomorrow is my AWS day (Alternate Work Schedule – get an earned day off),
    so when you sent one tonight, and I know you are at your Mom’s house, I just had to take time to look at it. I saw a fantastic rainbow here in Shippensburg about 2 – 3 weeks ago. I thought nothing could out-do it, until I just saw this rainbow you sent from South Africa. That one was absolutely magnificent!!!

    Again, thank you for all your hard work in sending these blogs. There is no way I could do, what you did! You’re fantastic, and I am so fortunate to know you.

    Welcome back to the States,
    Get some rest and I will be anxious to see you and Scott whenever we can match up our schedules for about an hour. If I can’t see you this time, I will be anxious to see you the next time you come back to visit your Mom. By then I will have watched more of your blogs from South Africa.

    Remember me to Scott, give him my love and take care,
    With much love and pride that I know you,

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