It was meant to be an 8 hour drive from Ficksburg to Kathu but, as with most of this trip, things didn't end up as we expected. We are now driving into the Northern Cape. The lush green hills slowly disappear to make way for barren desert. After about 7 hours of driving we stop at a small town to fill up the car. As we pull away, our phone directs us through the town. We expected to be sent back on the highway, instead we were being directed to a long dirt road. There was no way the car was going to be able to do this, we would have to crawl through it and if we were to break down, there probably was very little chance of being picked up.
I checked the map, we were miles off course. We must have taken a wrong turn a couple of hours back, and the phone was desperately trying to get us back on track, even if it meant going through hostile terrain. We decided not to take the dirt road, instead we got back on the highway where we were going to get to the nearest town, Upington. From there we could take a different highway back and get to Kathu. This did mean that it would have added an extra 4½ hours to the journey, but at least it was smooth road the whole way.
The desert road to Upington was unbearably hot, we were both tired and starting to get dehydrated. Eventually, we got to Upington, it felt like an oasis in the middle of the desert. Desperate to get out of the car, we pulled up at a cheap steakhouse and grabbed a bite to eat.
Whilst there, we chatted about what we were going to do next. We had been on the road for over 12 hours, and it looked like there was another 3 hours to the guest house in Kathu. It also meant that we would be driving back on ourselves, not to mention a huge waste in petrol.
We decided to cut our losses and stay in Upington for the night.
We needed to relax. We were going deeper into the desert tomorrow morning.