It was a little sad to be moving on this morning especially having to say goodbye to the kids. We have had a very enjoyable time at Nelspruit Backpackers and have to say a big thank you to Paul, Natalie, Josh, Leah and Luke.
Pedalling away from the backpackers, we immediately started to climb into what turned out to be pretty thick fog. After several days of really hot weather, overcast skies and misty/foggy mornings have become the normal. Nice for cycling in that it is cooler, although the humidity has remained high, not so great when it comes to being seen by traffic. Fortunately the vast majority of the roads that we have been riding on have had a generous hard shoulder, even if it seems quite common to drive in it.
After 13km of climbing we reached a steep descent that wound its way down the mountainside via some very sharp bends. The descent was fun, if somewhat cold as we are still dressed for the warm weather. Stopping for a break at the bottom, we found a frankly enormous grasshopper on the side of the road. Super-sized bugs have been a feature of travelling through Africa. Fortunately this time we didn't wake up to it in our tent!
After the sharp descent it was back to the normal pattern of long gentle climbing interspersed with some short descents. Despite being a short day it was nice to get to the town of Barberton and the caravan park where we planned to stay. Having pitched the tent in the almost empty site, until the December holidays we are firmly in low season, we showered and wandered into town. After the busy modern city of Nelspruit, Barberton falls more into the sleepy category. Wondering what there is to see, we found ourselves in the tourist information office, where we met the very helpful Astrid. She was so taken by our journey to her town, that it looks like we will get some coverage in the local paper. It's not every day that you get to say you are famous in Barberton!
Having picked up a couple of maps we wandered round the town, stopped for lunch, bought some shopping and then headed back to the camp, where we both promptly fell asleep! If dinner didn't need cooking I probably would have slept through. As it turned out, eating dinner was pretty much the last act of our day. Having spent all of our time staying in hostels since we arrived, the camp-site was a haven of peace and quiet and we were back to being in bed by 8pm. We will be exploring Barberton further tomorrow and then heading to Swaziland the day after.