Splashy Fen 2017
This year’s edition of Splashy fen is fast approaching and we thought it would be more than appropriate to share our scenic detour to the festival of music and mountains. Yes it includes some gravel roads and yes you’ll need a passport but don’t get scared off.
Usually you would get into your car, all stocked up on booze and prepped with a borrowed tent and some old army sleeping bag. Festival ready you’d drive toward the camp site in a hurry, not realizing how many places you pass which might not only make your journey feel shorter and more interesting, but also give you a great appreciation for what South Africa has on offer.
Last year we set off to attend the Splashy Fen festival which was under new management and we figured it’s a good opportunity to take an alternative route and tick off some bucket-list sights along the way. Yes you guessed right, the much discussed and allegedly soon to be tarred Sani Pass forms part of this detour and you should probably drive it asap.
Day 1 Pretoria to Sani Top
From Pretoria we hit the tar of the N3 towards Durban but got off towards Frankfurt and eventually Bethlehem. The Caledonspoort border post is just outside of Fouriesburg but you can also swing past Clarens from Bethlehem. (Clarens is a trip on its own though) The border is really a non event and after getting your stamps and paying a R30 toll you’re good to go.
The road is decent and the mountain pass heading to Sani top through Lesotho is already tarred and beautiful. You’ll pass Afriski (also a trip on its own) on the way and won’t have much traffic, unless a truck decides to break on a bend in the mountain pass, but at least the scenery is worth it.
Night 1 was spent at the Sani Top Backpackers camp site. It’s really just the grass veld surrounding the backpackers but at least a warm shower was available.
Be sure to enjoy a beer from the highest pub in Africa and watch the sunset if you made it in time.
Day 2 Sani top to Underberg
Waking up in sub zero temperatures during April was a bit weird but after knocking back a gas heated Aeropress coffee we were on route. We wound our way down to Underberg via the Sani pass. The route was actually much easier than anticipated and we’re sure a rental VW will manage but do note they only allow 4×4 vehicles onto the pass. (Anything with high ground clearance will probably get through, it’s downhill after all)
Dakrak was obviously in his natural environment and we quickly found ourselves at the bottom considering to just go up and down again for giggles.
Insert a quick boring stretch of tar, followed by the terribly dusty gravel road to the festival grounds and you’ve arrived with some great stories even before the party has started.
Day 3-Day 5 Festival life
A blur of queuing for toilets, drinks, food and watching performances in between.
We trust you have this part figured out.
The route back is normally one filled with disgust to return to civilization and we can only recommend a good roadtrip playlist as remedy. (If you have enough leave left, Durban’s beach is only 2 hours away…)
Heading to Splashy this year? Do you think you have the ultimate festival survival guide let us know what your top tips are.