Driving through the Transkei

Driving through the Transkei

Hubby and I have never been to the Transkei .. shocking I know !!   I went as a small child with my family to Kei Mouth, but remember very little.

What a beautiful part of South Africa!!  Our destination was Umngazi River Bungalows and Spa for 4 days which was part of a 10 day holiday to Ramsgate, staying with my cousin Barry, then onto this magical place called Umngazi :), back to Ramsgate for a night … onto the Midlands for another night … then finally the Drakensberg for two nights.  Our Umngazi/Midlands/Drakensberg holiday 🙂

I wasn’t going to take any photos en route through the Transkei, but sit back, relax and enjoy the scenery, but then I thought of my blog and naturally needed some photos 😉

The photographs don’t do justice to the colours of the rolling hills dotted with villages and coloured houses as well as natural forests.  Our country has been in a grip of a drought so we were surprised to see how green everything was.  Rains have finally come, better late than never, and in fact we had a shower or two in Ramsgate and travelled through mist, heavy at times, and drizzle in the Transkei


Hubby debated as to which route to take as the main road down the coast, R61, has about 56 kms of road works from Port Edward to the other side of Bizana with 7 stop-go’s …. with long, long queues of vehicles.  From Ramsgate to Umngazi it’s about 220 kms which should take about two and a half hours.  It took us 5 hours!  With the road works, heavy mist in many parts, getting caught up with a protest action against poor service deliveries in Flagstaff, avoiding boulders and a couple of unbolted Armco barriers lying on road, (from the protestors) which were difficult to spot in the mist until we were close, as well as the livestock that wander across the road !  Cows, goats, donkeys, chickens, pigs, and dogs!!!

One of the shorter stop-go’s and a perfect opportunity for banana sellers!  People in the vehicle ahead of us bought a bunch and as we followed them, banana peels were flung out the window one by one 🙂





One of the long stop-go’s in the mist ..


Children walking to school ..

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We were advised not to stop anywhere along the route except at specified garages for a loo stop, but even then only if we’re desperate!!!  We didn’t stop at all .. not for anything !!   I would think, in their heyday, the towns were quite pleasant

Bizana ..

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Flagstaff :  …. where the gathering of protestors held up the traffic for quite a while ..


Took this through the closed passenger window ..


Chicken coops for storing chickens for sale ..

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Transkei is the home of Nelson Mandela, affectionately known as Madiba ..


Trying to capture odd and humorous signs was tricky through the windscreen with the windscreen wipers going or through my side window.  There were so many B&B’s with peculiar names which I couldn’t capture at all .. one I recall, nailed to a tree, was “Cosy Posy B&B”  🙂

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Six large rumble strips together a couple of hundred metres apart .. any many of them .. certainly slows down the traffic!!  Good idea though, as they were all situated near schools  ..


From Lusikisiki to Port St Johns the road zigzagged it’s way along mountain top to mountain top .. quite incredible!  We only realised how stunning the view was on our return trip .. without the mist.  Descending down to sea level, the road twisted and turned, kilometre after kilometre.  A sign at the top read “133 bends before the next Spar”  (which was on the outskirts of Port St Johns) !!  It was a good road thank heavens, with no potholes, although hubby had to be cautious of livestock, mainly goats on the road, usually on a bend!!! The scenery was spectacular .. difficult to capture with me swaying left and right, camera in hand !!  It was incredible !!!!   A bikers paradise, of that I am sure 🙂


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Sunshine and extremely hot on our way back from Umngazi to Ramsgate …


Making our way back up and up, twisting and turning around the 133 bends …



Through Lusikisi again ..



There had been further unrest around Flagstaff while we were at Umngazi as there were more Armco barriers pulled off and partly in the road, boulders and burning tyres.  Fortunately those that were still burning were on the side.  But there were no problems in the town when we drove through ..

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It took us 4 hours on the return trip from Umngazi to Ramsgate.

To follow :  Umngazi River Bungalows and Spa

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