Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Crossing the Kei River by pont

Most South African travelers and road trippers have probably heard of the car pontoon at Malgas in the Overberg, but I wonder how many actually know that there is one across the Kei River in the Eastern Cape as well.  In years gone by the Great Kei River was the border between South Africa and the homeland of Transkei.  Today crossing over means leaving behind what you know and heading to a land of country side villages, friendly people, beautiful scenery, rugged and unspoiled coastline, relaxing family hotels and resorts; and, unfortunately, rough dirt roads.  The land of the Wild Coast. 

Earlier this year I had the opportunity to head down to Kei Mouth for the first time on a trip to Trennerys Hotel.  To get to it we had to cross the pont and suddenly yet another experience to tick off my South African travel bucket list was waiting for me.  Unlike the Malgas pont the Kei Pont is mechanical and uses an engine to get to the other side.  With incoming and outgoing tides it may have been tough to cross the wide Kei River by pulling a rope and it goes slightly quicker so you don't have a long wait if you arrive and the pont is on the other side.  On arrival at first I thought that we may have to wait for the pont to take the taxi in front of us across first.  The pont skipper stepped up though and told the driver to pull forward and space was made for us, the car pulled up and we were on our way.  All to soon the "cruise" was over and we were on the road again to our overnight destination.  The cost to cross? R70 for the car and its two passengers.

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