Our second car breakdown in Harrismith, when co-incidence is not cool

Acacia coped well with the car park blues
Acacia coped well with the car park blues

Glancing at the travel tab here on Skimming Stones you will see that we love exploring South Africa extensively. We travel hundreds of kilometres on dirt roads. We have visited isolated places like Die Hell and Tankwa Karoo National Park. We have only had car break downs twice, and both flipping times have been in Harrismith. That kind of syncronicity does not fill me with joy at the poetry of life. 8 Year old Fjord is insistent that we never pass through Harrismith again.

After a wonderful trip to Hluhluwe/Imfolozi Game Park staying at Hilltop Camp and Mpila, we spent precious time with family in Umdloti and Ballito before heading home. The Midlands are made for meandering. We stopped to buy honey. We stocked up on flavoured coffee beans at The Wine Cellar. We stopped to taste and buy cheese at Swissland Cheese. We relished coffee and cake at The Little Church Tea Garden. In short, we took the long road home. Then disaster struck, approaching a petrol station complex outside Harrismith, the Kia’s temperature gauge shot into the red. We stopped and could not start again.

Thanks to Alexander Forbes Insurance we were towed to Mountain View Inn where insurance covered R500 toward our night’s accommodation. The diagnosis was bleak, the head gasket had blown. Our fun factor hit minus figures. We were looking forward to being home. We had no clean clothes (thanks to water cuts in Umdloti). We were missing our dogs.


Mountain View Inn was clean and acceptable, the staff were very friendly and helpful, but they don’t have WiFi and generally it just wasn’t as nice as Harrismith Inn where we stayed when the alternator of our other car packed in last July.

Staying at Harrismith Inn had almost felt like an extension of our holiday. Being Acacia’s birthday we made the most of the situation and remained in relatively good spirits. This time we felt stressed and frustrated Without WiFi for the laptop, Cliff battled on his phone to find information regarding mechanics and car related stuff.

The following day, the morning was consumed with trying to find the best solution for our car, and how to get home. In the end my wonderful daughter Domi made the 6 hour round trip to collect us.

 I'm giving Domi this special Proudly Made in SA Oh Voila bracelet as a little thank you

I’m giving Domi this special Proudly Made in SA Oh Voila bracelet as a little thank you

Almost 3 weeks later our repaired Kia rejoined our family today. Still, gratitude is important. I’m grateful that Alexander Forbes Insurance were there for us. I’m grateful that we weren’t in an accident. I’m grateful to have a daughter who was willing to inconvenience herself to help us. I’m grateful to have very special friends, 2 of them offered to do that 6 hour round trip to rescue us.

Silver linings view from the car window, while Domi drove us home
Silver linings view from the car window, while Domi drove us home


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  1. That is awful but as you say there were lots of thankful’s to be grateful for and a wonderful daughter – glad all is sorted

  2. Ai Sula – although there are lots to be thankful for, what an unpleasant experience I agree – Harrismith is off limits – drive around it

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