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Rorkes Drift - another try...

Rorkes Drift - another try...

Old Feb 18, 18, 12:06 am
  #1  
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Rorkes Drift - another try...

Looked at this some years ago but the trip fell through. This year I AM flying in to JNB - to attend a sporting competition - and have time to get over to Rorkes Drift before the event starts... It is a decent drive from JNB and I have only driven as far as the outskirts of that city before...never further. Looking for general advice on driving conditions and accuracy of predicted travel times one finds online....
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Old Feb 18, 18, 12:24 am
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Years ago when I lived in Jo'berg went to Richards Bay, via about the same route. Was OK

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Rorke%27s_Drift

https://www.tripadvisor.co.nz/ShowTo...ulu_Natal.html

https://goo.gl/maps/fRQyQ1HCXoz
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Old Feb 20, 18, 1:59 pm
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Depends on the time of year you intend to travel down.
From Johannesburg, you will take the N3 highway down to the midlands and cut through the Drakensburg mountain range. In winter, they can be snowed in, or have heavy mist which can lead to accidents and severe traffic delays. (Remember we do not deal with rain very well, never mind a little fog).............
Otherwise, you can leave the N3 as depicted on the map referenced above, and take the N11 which may be slower due to trucks from the port in Richards Bay cutting across and then joining the N3 to get to Johannesburg.

Whichever route you choose, just take it easy and avoid the minivans and pick-up trucks.
I would actually suggest building in a day as a buffer, both going down, and coming back. Take the scenic route down - 5 hours or so - weather permitting - and then take the N3 back, and spend a night in a resort close to the Drakensburg. The Midlands Meander can actually be quite pleasant for a day or so, then tackle the few hours back to Johannesburg.

On the N3, there are tolls to be paid - I cannot remember if foreign cards are accepted - I know on the route to Maputo, they do not take cards other than SA cards - so, cash only, and tolls are pricey - by our standards.

The highway out of Johannesburg - N3 - is a nightmare - also coming back in. It serves the large inland port, so trucks and containers are a mission on the road, and while well policed in Natal - mainly for speed, the cops do make their presence known closer to JHB since there are many accidents every month involving HDV's - this is also due to the hours that the drivers have to keep awake and the incentives to get to JHB ASAP.

So, think about the time that you want to leave JHB, remember that you are driving (sort of) East - into the sun, so you may delay your departure until, say, 9am and that will give you a chance to minimise the traffic mayhem and have a decent drive down. And, on the return, also remember, that you will be driving into the sun in the afternoon, so again, do not leave too late - from the Midlands, I would say, by 11am at the latest, and again, depending on where you hotel is, you may be going against traffic leaving the city.

As for food offerings on the road - on the N3 there are some service stations with generic fast food outlets. Depending on your needs, I would rather prepare a picnic type of thing before I leave - depending on your hotel placement, stores like Woolworths (NOT like the cheap version found in the UK), or Pick & Pay will have options to make up a decent ration basket and avoid overpriced FF rubbish. In fact, Woolies sells cooler bags at the checkout tills that are cheap enough so you can load up the day before and have enough food for the route down.
I hope that this gives you some sort of guidance - any more advice that I can dispense, please do ask and I will try and assist.
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Old Feb 21, 18, 12:44 am
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Originally Posted by roadwarrier View Post
On the N3, there are tolls to be paid - I cannot remember if foreign cards are accepted - I know on the route to Maputo, they do not take cards other than SA cards - so, cash only, and tolls are pricey - by our standards..

On the toll roads I've driven on (N2/N3) the signs say no foreign cards. So far the most I've paid is R48 and along the north coast R10-12 but many booths.
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Old Feb 21, 18, 2:37 am
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Wow.... thanks very much! I'll digest that....and look at the maps again.....with those hints in mind....

Next question..... The competition is in Polokwane..... would it be best/safest/most sensible to head back to Johannesburg from Rorkes Drift then north through Pretoria..OR...would it be OK to "cut the corner" and head more directly north up through Ermelo...then on to the 11 up to Mokopane?
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Old Feb 21, 18, 1:05 pm
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Originally Posted by trooper View Post
Wow.... thanks very much! I'll digest that....and look at the maps again.....with those hints in mind....

Next question..... The competition is in Polokwane..... would it be best/safest/most sensible to head back to Johannesburg from Rorkes Drift then north through Pretoria..OR...would it be OK to "cut the corner" and head more directly north up through Ermelo...then on to the 11 up to Mokopane?
Okay - you caught me there. I do not have an experienced answer. But from what I see, the N 17 looks pretty straightforward. In fact, it may be better than going via JHB and avoid all the trucks and crappy traffic - I cannot vouch for the road conditions on that route, but then again, common sense rules, and add an extra hour or two in case of unexpected hiccups.
Just remember though, the routes to Polokwane on any given weekend and especially a holiday period is a nightmare. It is the main stopover point for folks off to Zimbabwe, so that can also add extra time to your travels.
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Old Jun 20, 18, 2:56 am
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Again...many thanks!!! Fly out of SYD 4 July...its all getting very real!
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Old Sep 9, 18, 8:49 pm
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Just for closure... lol
Drove from Polokwane to Rorkes Drift through Ermelo, Volksrust and Dundee..... all dirt from shortly after Dundee but generally in good condition.
Stopped overnight in Volksrust...a very good idea after a tiring multi day competition.
Stayed at Fugitives Drift Lodge and thoroughly enjoyed the stay. The Isandhlwana tour was particularly good.

General comment on driving in South Africa... Was amazed by the consideration drivers showed (car, truck, whatever) Many one lane each way highways - but with generous tar shoulders - and folks would move onto the shoulder to let you past if you came up behind them going faster. Just brilliant. Flash your hazards to say "thanks"...they would flash their headlights to say "Youre welcome"...
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Old Sep 10, 18, 9:07 am
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Glad to hear that all went well. Was this perhaps an equestrian event that you attended?
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Old Sep 11, 18, 12:20 am
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LOL.. No... it was a very large Pistol shooting competition!
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