Continuing today with part 2 of last weeks Mustang Road Trip, check out part 1 for more details on what I am up to!
So, having just finished my stint of game viewing in Moolmanshoek Private Game Reserve thanks to my trusty steed, I had worked up a proper Free State size appetite for breakfast. Meals at Moolmanhoek never disappoint, and this morning was to be no different.
Bags packed and Meruschka aka Mzansi Girl and I were once again in a Mustang, today the 2,3 litre hardtop, headed for yet another location in the eastern Free State.
Part 1: Moolmanshoek Private Game Reserve to Caledonspoort Border Post, Lesotho
Leaving Moolmanshoek, we were headed first for another stop before we were to cross the border. Sandstone Estates is a private preservation initiative established amongst several farms in the eastern Frere State and hosts a collection of vintage steam trains, farming implements and military vehicles. The owner’s passion for all things mechanical (the older the better) is evident from the pristine condition of the property.
Sandstone Estates host a festival every two years to celebrate the items on the property, which are all maintained in working condition. Vintage aircraft are also brought in for the festival, which attracts festival goers from around the world. Be sure to diarise 4 – 14 April 2019 for the next Stars of Sandstone festival.
Leaving Sandstone Estates I was once again struck by a sense of renewed appreciation for an element of our combined heritage here in South Africa, and the enthusiasm that the folks at Sandstone have for making sure it continues to be celebrated, long into the future.
On we went towards the Caledonspoot Border Post, which was a mere 40-minute drive. The border crossing itself was hassle free and we were soon in Lesotho and headed for the mountains. The Maluti mountains.
Part 2: Exploring the Mountain Kingdom of Lesotho
Lesotho is breathtakingly beautiful.
The history of the people living in the area now known as Lesotho goes back approximately 40 000 years. After being annexed by Britain in 1868 as Basutoland, the kingdom was transferred in 1871 to the administrative control of the then Cape Colony. After the union of South Africa came about in 1910, the people of Basutoland exerted significant pressure to prevent the territory being ceded to the new Republic and in 1966 the kingdom became independent as Lesotho. Today Lesotho is a peace-loving nation with a majority of its people living in the lowlands.
Heading up the Mahlasela Pass which at 3 222 meters above sea level is the highest tarred pass in southern Africa, we were once again about to put the Mustang through its paces. Lane size and hairpin bends take on new meanings in Lesotho. But the experience of the drive up the pass and the views it affords are most definitely worth it.
We continued our drive up the Mahlasela Pass to the Afriski Mountain Resort, the next stop on our Mustang road trip. The resort is a year-round destination catering to mountain bikers and trail runners in the warmer months and to the skiing set in the winter months. Dinner at the Sky Restaurant, the highest restaurant in Africa, brought a rather eventful day to an end. Little did I know but the next day I would be coming face to face with the prospect of Monster Rolling.
My Wednesday morning was about to take on a rather interesting twist as I headed with some of the group to go Monster Rolling. I didn’t even know what it was, but I was game for the experience.
As it turns out, Monster Rolling is effectively a push scooter with massive tyres and a braking mechanism. Using mountain bike tracks, you hurl yourself down a cliff. Simple. Easy. Somewhat terrifying, but man, what an experience. And I didn’t fall, not once!
Huge shoutout to Mzansi Girl who managed to shoot this quick video of me doing the Monster Rolling thing.
After our Monster Rolling stint, we were back in the Mustangs and headed back down the scenic Mahlasela Pass we had traversed the previous day. This time though, Meruschka and I pulled out all the stops to ensure we got our hands on the 5,0 litre V8 drop-top Mustang.
Driving with the roof down through the mountains was an experience unique unto itself. I felt an increased ability to connect with the environment I was blessed to take in, and the Mustang continued to perform like a real trooper, despite the road conditions which would usually see an Everest or Ranger take them on. Good on you Mustang!
They say you are never alone in Lesotho, that the mountains have eyes. This was brought home to me during one of our scenic stops which saw a multitude of herdsmen come out from the mountains to inspect (and take selfies with) the Mustangs. What an experience, it felt like two worlds colliding as I got to engage with a fellow human being who lived a very different life from my own.
Part 3: Caledonspoort Border Post to Golden Gate National Park, Free State
Late Wednesday morning saw Meruschka and I once again cross the border back into South Africa. Home sweet home; well, almost! The Lesotho side of the border crossing was literally a drive through which made the crossing an absolute breeze and allowed for more time to explore in our drop top Mustang.
Back on SA soil, we stopped off at Jenlee’s Country Shop and Bistro for a shot of condense milk coffee. The padstal has a variety of interesting things on offer and spread throughout the gardens which made for happy snaps on my part.
Driving through a rather intense storm which reminded me of home in Joburg, we made our way to Clarens for lunch. This artists colony is much more enjoyable mid-week with less hustle and bustle from the local Joburg set who migrate to this beautiful part of the country for weekends.
Clarens Brewery hosted us for a hearty lunch which, combined with access to WiFi once again made for a busy afternoon getting back in touch with the social media hungry world. It also allowed for a time to explore Clarens as we skipped over the now muddied back roads.
Late afternoon saw us head out of Clarens for the Golden Gate Highlands National Park, and the Golden Gate Hotel and Chalets, our last night on the Mustang road trip. Early the next morning, Meruschka and I were up and about driving through and exploring the park (this may be the answer to a question you may be asking to win something, maybe).
Later that Thursday morning we packed up and headed back to Joburg in our Mustang convoy, as the Mustang road trip came to an end. Driving home offered me an opportunity to reflect on my experiences of the last four days. One theme kept resounding in my head – that of heritage.
We had experienced the heritage of the eastern Free State, padstal’s and emerging artist colony’s, we had experienced the heritage of machinery from a by-gone era and those who keep the legacy alive today and we had experienced first hand, the heritage of the people of Lesotho. What better way to take all this heritage in, than in a vehicle that is the original pony car and all the heritage that encompasses.
Cheers to Ford for making this road trip possible and sharing their heritage with me, so that I could discover more of my heritage over these four days.
Win a Mustang! (cap)
Do you fancy the Mustang cap I wore during my Mustang Road Trip Adventure? Would you like one? Here is how you can join the club:
- Find the video post on Twitter and Facebook of me driving through a certain part of the country on the Mustang Road Trip and contemplate where I am driving (hold that thought).
- Then find my Win A Mustang (cap) post on Twitter and Facebook, retweet or share it and then comment on the post with your guess from 1 above. You can enter on both platforms.
- The giveaway closes at 12h00 on Friday 23 March 2018, after which I will randomly select one winner from the correct guesses across both platforms. Only one winner will be determined across both platforms.
- The giveaway is open to anyone living in South Africa and you may enter on either platform as many times as you like. The determination as to the winner, once announced, will be final.
Find out more about the Ford Mustang range I drove during my trip here.