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Ptrlbmb Roadtrip: 2012
pbrt 2012, roadtrip, kwa-zulu natal, eastern cape, port elizabeth, grahamstown, cape town, port st. johns — 17h05, 8th Jun | by Khumbelo

Sudden flashes of lightning forced the eye in that direction. The smell of rain settled any concerns into actual worries. There was still a long way ahead of us. Four days to be precise.

We had decided that this would the first PetrolBOMB road trip. Although the trip had discussed on numerous occasions but time never permitted the actually planning of it.  So there was very little planning involved but hearts set were on road and that seemed enough. We had a rented car and one confirmed accommodation. We figured… well hoped, the rest of the planning will happen on the way there. The first and crucial step had to be taken first, and that was actually leaving Jo’burg.

We had decided that we were going to drive up all the way to Cape Town via the Garden route. We had just completed a number of projects and this seems to be the lightest week on the calendar. The daily grind is bound to get to you and we believe that they open road would afford us an opportunity to dream up new possibilities for our little shop. We are not, in any manner or form, the boardrooms types. So this on-the-road brainstorming session seemed ideal.

There were sideline reason such as this will be my first trip to Cape Town. Khumbelo, on the other hand, seemed to have had enough photo-walks around Jozi and this was the next level.

Our first stop was Durban. We did not need to go there but we figured we can and so we did. Got to Durban, realized there was not much to do there and so decided to continue driving to the Eastern Cape. For the sake for your sanity, I would request that you refrain from asking “…but why?” for the rest of this article.

Whenever the opportunity arises to do something new or for no reason at all, we bound to do it. In this case, that something was going to Durban; spending an hour there; and deciding to leave it behind us. If you have to ask why in this case, you can blame it on Port St. John.

We had heard enough about Port St. John that we could not wait to get there. I had already driven an estimate of 5hours from Johannesburg to Durban. It was going to be another 5 – 6 hours to Port. St Johns. My Red Bull fuelled confidence told me, “Skwara siyabangena!”

Leaving the lush Kwa-Zulu Natal for the Eastern Cape was basically moving form one shade of green to another. KZN was beautifully laced with a dark green that seemed to constantly pushing toward you. It begged for your attention and you afforded it as if paying a toll into the province. 

As soon after leaving the KZN, it started raining and the roads got rougher. The rain robbed us of most the sights that had had been whispered to us by other more frequent travellers.  Betty’s 1.2 litre engine made for interesting uphill driving on the slippery half-tarred roads. However, we pushed on ahead. We passed Lusikisiki, which looked like everyone was out on the main road. Bree Street has nothing on this place.

However, the Eastern Cape was a marvel of different proportions… well, Port St. Johns. Driving into area you immediately start asking yourself what is exactly is the big deal about this place. This question was answered shortly after we got lost looking for our accommodation. The place appears to be hiding behind this huge mountain. Port St. Johns was amazing. (I am starting to feel like I am writing for some tourism magazine)

We found the place where we were booked for that night. We couldn’t drop our bags fast enough to hit the beach. It was overcast and was still drizzling a bit but cameras needed to click either way. Khumbelo took everything including the tripod and we went about freezing moments.

I think I could write a chapter on how beautiful that area was but that was not the focus of the trip or this is article. The following day we needed to hit the road again but the sun came out and Port St. Johns looked better than the day before. The locals had warned us about what they called “Mpondo” fever. It would seem that this fever hit and you will never leave the place. I feared it was too late for us. 

We eventually left... 4 hours late.

We should have left earlier considering we would need to take a detour since a section of the N2 got damage.  Eastern Cape was a lighter shade of green which touches of orange and water blue houses.  You realize how much of a Joburg’er you are when you just get excessively excited over rural houses.

The initial task was not forgotten as plans were carved from whatever the mind and open road allowed. Distress and struggles were tabled and braved actions were sought out of possibilities and strategies. Though we spend half the time in awe of what our country had to offer, we had agreed that the trip was a valuable exercise.

Due to the detour, we had agreed that the next stop would be Port Elizabeth. Anyone who has travelled this road is probably thinking there is something wrong with us. The orange sunset meant we had to stop and use the cameras again.

Part of my highlight was being in Grahamstown. Because we arrived there late and we were still trying to make it PE, we were forced to drive through. I need to go back to that small town. Armed with Google Maps were formulate a detour to bypass the N2. Little did we know that we would enter in a gravel road that went through a game reserve. It was very dark and the first set of antelopes crossing the street forced us to reduce the speed and our detour became a ‘long draai’.

We made to Port Elizabeth. We did not get to enjoy it that much. We needed to get to Cape Town. The driving had taken its toll and though the roads to the Western Cape were in better shape than some parts of the Eastern Cape, there were far more boring.  More so after Mossel bay. The wind seemed a bit much for uBetty, which meant the driving was a bit harder.

We finally made it to Cape Town. This journey in a way resembled our tasks when developing for our clients. We constantly are trying to create brands that tell stories.  Stories worthy of an audience. We managed to take on a journey on which we wrote another chapter of this company and us.  At the end of the journey, you realize that memories have been created and they will forever be part of you. We managed to do what we had intended to do but we did in our own way… which for us was more equally important. The journey was out instrument to construct ideas for the company. Part of the stay in Cape Town included this function but the other just to enjoy Cape Town.

On the last day of the trip, we took a moment remembering the journey that got us there. The overnight drive to KZN and avoiding all the trucks on the N3; the short stay at Durban; the long drive to Port St. Johns; God’s artistry also known as Port St. John; the questions about how to lions react to headlights at night; the winds that tried to push Betty off the road on numerous occasions; and the stay in the mother city. Then with everything considered, we flew back to Johannesburg.

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