But I don’t think we’ll ever go back. People seemed friendly enough and we had no problems, but we count ourselves fortunate in that regard. South Africa has become very dangerous for white people and sadly, it’s sinking farther into social chaos all the time. We were riding in a rented Toyota van, the most desirable vehicle as this is what they use for taxis. Hijackings of vehicles by armed gangs are very common – one occurred in broad daylight just down the road from our lodge while we were there! Toward the end of our trip, our guide, Frans, revealed he had personally been hijacked twice and robbed three times, some 25 of his colleagues and friends have been killed over the years, and most of his family had already left the country. Sadly, he’s planning to join them in a year or two. We saw many burned out and abandoned farms and each night the gates to our lodges were locked and guarded. My initial naiveté was exposed early on in Ladybrand, a cute little town that looks a lot like Beaver, Utah. One afternoon I wanted to leave our hotel to explore the shops and take a few photos but Frans quickly stopped me. "Do you see any white women on the streets?" he asked me. "Well, no," says I. Light bulb time! "I’m sorry, it’s just not safe for you" he continued. Sigh. The only time we mingled with locals was once in a supermarket where we stopped for batteries. Was that sullen look on the faces of the loitering young black men we passed really hatred? I prefer not to think so, but I could never speak to one so it may have been.
Ah, if only this crazy world would wake up! Anyway, we’re home safe and sound and looking forward to sharing more with you soon.