ROAD TRIP – SODWANA BAY (11)


Umkomaas (South Coast of KwaZulu-Natal) to Bloemfontein (Free State Province) → 673km (418 miles)

Welcome to our road trip of December 2021. We are travelling by car across South Africa (from the west coast → north coast → KZN south coast → back to the west coast). The distance we will cover, will be around 5,000km (3,106 miles).

Our main purpose for this trip, besides seeing places we have not seen before, is for Berto to scuba dive in Sodwana Bay and then to be a little more adventurous … diving with sharks in the ocean in Umkomaas on the south coast of KwaZulu-Natal. We hope to share lots of pictures to show you our beautiful country.

Accommodation – Day 19:

City Lodge Hotel, Bloemfontein

And so, a very enjoyable time came to an end at the north- and south coast of KwaZulu-Natal. We could easily have stayed another week, but it was time to take the long road back home.

Today’s post will cover more beautiful roads on our way to Bloemfontein, the main city of the Free State Province. It was a cloudy and rainy day on the road … but we managed to get a few pictures of the stunning landscape on the route.

Leaving Umkomaas, on route to Durban

We have decided to take the main route today – we have a long distance to cover and don’t want to take unnecessary detours to our destination. But despite riding on the busy N3, we still found the scenery amazing and enjoyed our drive on this busy road.

About 180km into our trip, we decided it was time to take a break. We stopped at the Midway Truck Stop to re-fuel our car. It was also a good time to enjoy brunch outside on the wooden benches. I was really impressed with this truck stop – a fully stocked café, lots of eatery options, coffee station and clean bathroom facility. It’s great to have these places next to the road!

A chicken pita with lots of fresh veggies with a creamy sauce and a take away coffee
Super clean bathroom facilities at Midway Truck Stop

It was not long after we continued with our journey, that the rain started coming down. There were many trucks on this stretch of road, but fortunately we had a dual carriageway which made it easy to overtake the slower trucks in the rain.

Beautiful green landscapes on our journey

We came to the stunning Van Reenen’s Pass which winds its way through the well-known Drakensberg mountains. The long pass provides beautiful scenery and is on the main route from Durban to Johannesburg.

Van Reenen’s Pass winding through the Drakensberg mountains

As we entered the Free State Province, it was also time to be on the lookout for potholes in the road again. In the rainy conditions, it was difficult to see the potholes in the road and we had to drive very carefully to avoid these. The only indications of potholes was a sign (“beware potholes”) and a maintenance vehicle that patrolled the road … I think the Free State Province should seriously invest in upgrading their roads!

This stretch of road was quite stressful and we stopped a few times to take a break from all the potholes in the road. At least we could then enjoy the beautiful scenery next to the road without trying to dodge the potholes.

The fall of heavy rain was evident next to the road
We had a few stops while driving the pothole roads

As we approached Bloemfontein, our overnight stop, the rain started coming down again.

Dark clouds hanging over Bloemfontein

We were thinking of doing a bit of sightseeing when arriving in Bloemfontein, but decided to just enjoy the late afternoon at the hotel … tomorrow is another day.

City Lodge Hotel – Bloemfontein:

The City Lodge Hotel in Bloemfontein was the perfect overnight place. It is clean, the staff is super friendly, the room spacious … and it’s surrounded by a beautiful garden with colourful flowers.

Agapanthus decorates the front entrance of the hotel
The shower (there is also a bath)
Lovely products in the bathroom

After we took some of our luggage to the room, it stopped raining. This was the perfect opportunity to enjoy the beautiful garden while sitting next to the swimming pool and having some cake.

Tea and delicious chocolate cake in the garden

It was great to end a long day on the road with a superb dinner at the City Lodge Hotel.

Dining area of the hotel
Ending the day with a beer & and a glass of red wine

Tomorrow we will travel to Vosburg in the Northern Cape Province – our last stop over before arriving home.

But before that, we would love to share some of our Afrikaner heritage with you … we will take you on a tour through the War Museum of the Boer Republics.

Categories: South African Break Aways

45 comments

  1. The drive looks beautiful even though it was overcast and rainy and you had to dodge some potholes. How nice to end the day with a drink and some comfort food. That cheesy pasta looks amaaaazing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I want that chocolate cake. Right now!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The lush green landscape looks amazing despite the overcast skies, and I love the place you were spending the night. That chocolate cake caught my eye right away and so did the colourful flowers. Thanks for sharing and have a good day 🙂 Aiva xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Indeed Aiva, it was such a beautiful green landscape – some places were really as pretty as a picture! We normally don’t stay in hotels, but accommodation has started to become scarce due to the holiday season that just started … and we’re very happy that we found the City Lodge Hotel. Their chocolate cake must be the best around there 😋.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. You certainly know how to enjoy! And, you absolutely deserved that lovely accommodation and the delicious food after the long and rainy drive on pothole-ridden roads. The cake!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah … THAT cake!! The pothole driving was definitely not fun, but at least we stopped plenty of times and enjoyed the landscape (and fortunately, not many potholes here in the Western Cape province where we’re staying)! Great company, good food and a drink ended this day perfectly 😉.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Dis darem jammer die paaie is so vol slaggate! Dit en reen werk nie so lekker nie. Ek was mal oor Vosburg!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Every time I read your blog I get famished for some good food! Your accommodations all look really nice. I remember too well what it is like to ride in a car on bad roads. Cambodia in the 50’s was quite a challenge. We take for granted our parkways and thruways!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well, I won’t say no to a piece of that chocolate cake now 😉. I’m probably complaining too much about a “not too bad road”, because I know there are many roads abroad that are much worse than what we have driven. When we got to the Western Cape Province (where we live), I immediately said to Berto we don’t appreciate our good roads in this province!
      I wonder … if the roads in Cambodia was bad in the 50’s, what will it be like now?

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  7. Beautiful scenery; those mountains are so green! And, like everyone else; I now have a craving for chocolate cake. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, the Drakensberg Mountains are always that green (a place we would love to visit one day for its beautiful hiking trails). I wish we could have a virtual cake via the internet … can you image how we would all now sit and enjoy a piece of this amazing sweetness!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Despite the dreary weather and the poor state of the roads the journey looked scenic and the Abbey Lodge Motel in Bloemfontein looked really lovely especially with all those flowers outside.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Love the cloudy view from Van Reenen’s Pass and of course the chocolate cake!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Dis Oos Vrystaat is so n mooi deel van ons land, dit is regtig jammer dat die paie daarheen en daardeur so sleg is.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dis so waar, die landskap is pragtig daar! Ons het onlangs ‘n vakansieganger van die Vrystaat hier in Langebaan ontmoet en hy kon nie uitgepraat raak oor hoe verskillend die twee provinsies se paaie is nie! Hy’t gese as ons ooit oor die Wes-Kaap se paaie kla, moet ons ons rit deur die Vrystaat onthou 😉.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Defnitief. Ons het vroeg in 2021 die pad van Kroonstad na Koppies probeer op pad terug Gauteng toe. Mens kan eintlik vra “Watter pad?” want dit lyk of daai hele stuk met landmyne geplant was wat al almal afgegaan het…

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ai tog, die arme Vrystaters! Ons het ‘n hele paar motors langs die pad sien staan wat besig was om bande om te ruil … gelukkig het ons heelhuids “anderkant” uitgekom. Mens hoop maar dat die plaaslike regering ‘n daadwerklike poging sal aanwend om die paaie reg te maak.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Your hotel looks like a perfect spot for a relaxing break from the road. I like the chocolate cake and the chicken pita. Was the pita really from a truck stop? 😋

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes it was … but not just any truck stop for that matter! It seemed like quite a new place – one we were really surprised to find next to the main highway. It’s a truck stop/cafe/take away with a coffee connoisseur … I think truckers have a ball here 😁.

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  12. Alles lyk so lekker en keurig … net die gate in die pad nie …

    Liked by 1 person

  13. All the food simply looks so delicious! And that chocolate cake, yum!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Beautiful outing ..rain or not a fun trip. Looks like great food.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. All that rain was worth it just for the food at the hotel!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. You found a lovely stop on the way – the pool and the dessert!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. The room looks lovely, and what a clean bathroom at that truckstop!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh yes, loved that room! It was a great way of ending our long day on the road. I was honestly so surprised with the cleanliness at that truckstop (I don’t think I have ever taken a photo of a public bathroom, but I just had to 😁).

      Like

  18. I’m glad you could avoid those potholes and that you arrived safely at your destination. Thank heaven for beautiful scenic routes and clean toilets! The agapanthus are beautiful, such a lovely way to end your day in comfort and peace. Thank you for sharing🌸💕

    Liked by 1 person

    • We were the lucky ones I suppose that avoided the potholes. While we rested next the road, another car went passed us and a few meters further, lost his tyre in a huge pothole 👀. I just said to someone else in a comment that I have never taken a photo of a public restroom before, but this was at the Midway Truck Stop was just so clean, I just had to take a picture)! Don’t you just love agapanthus – such a wonderful flower (and so willing to grow where ever its planted).

      Liked by 1 person

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