Exploring Southern Africa
We are travelling Southern Africa in 1988 and have reached Cape Town.
And Cape Town, with its backdrop of Table Mountain, is a spectacular city.
With views of the Atlantic Ocean now ascending the famous cable car.
Returning eastwards we view, once more, the Knysna-George line.
And how about this for a character bridge.
....................As the daily mixed powers through!
Another view of this character train, this time out in the bush.
And a final view of the Kaaimans River bridge, a truly spectacular spot
and another prominent photo from the Ledbury Station gallery.
And so to Port Elizabeth where the 2ft narrow gauge and the 3ft 6ins
Southern African standard gauge, combine at the docks.
But sadly the Port Elizabeth area narrow gauge services are approaching the end of their commercial lives
although we still have steam on the Loerie to Patensie branch.
As the empty carriage of the narrow gauge mixed from Patensie goes by.
Pretty much the end now of the narrow gauge mixed worldwide. Farewell!
We reach Grahamstown.
Where the old bells are in need of a restoration project.
..............................And Grahamstown station is in need of trains.
Until recently Grahamstown was on a noted steam worked branch to Port Alfred and the sea
Sadly we are just too late!
So we return to Johannesburg from nearby Alicedale and at Cradock
watch 3 sheep being towed to the guards van to join our train.
Johannesburg is, of course, a gold mining area and one gold company, Randfontein Estates,
still operates steam with smart main line locomotives as their GMAM Garrett passes by.
At Kinross mine, we are given a full tour.
Which includes a spectacular gold pour.
An earlier bar is available for inspection.
If you lift it with one hand you can keep it, we were told!
Northern Transvaal is another spectacular area.
As we reach the Kruger National Park and go seeking wildlife.
We find warthog.
And Giraffes................but elephants proved elusive.
But then came a tell tale sign of fresh elephant dung.
And then, by the next turning, several large elephants.
One needs to be wary in this situations as your car roof only comes up to the elephants knees
in a picture taken with one foot hovering above the accelerator pedal.
And so to Bulawayo once more, as we await the departure of a really classic train,
the Overnight Mail to Victoria Falls.
It begins routinely enough with diesel haulage to Thompson Junction but then steam takes over as a 15th Class Garrett
shunts onto the front and where I, armed with my footplate pass, am able to climb into the cab and join the crew.
And this, with the sun coming up, was a truly incredible ride.
"There are lions about" commented the driver, who wasn't keen on walking ahead to a phone in event of a problem.
As the driver peers ahead.
And it's hard work for the firemen too as these are big engines.
But the crew seemed happy to have me aboard and this was, I think, an enjoyable trip for us all.
Victoria Falls themselves are absolutely stunning.
And we view them by foot and by bike, as we ride across the bridge to the Zambian side.
Road signs warn of the local hazards to which maybe a crocodile sign could perhaps also be added.
And from amazing Victoria Falls we return to Herefordshire
and a stylish start to the journey home it is!
The Ledbury Station Photo Gallery Home Page
Southern Africa Part 1
Ledbury Station Home Page