Wepener - The tenth step ... SISA Episode II - CycleBlaze

March 28, 2021

Wepener

Today's ride was quite enjoyable except for a few unexpected patches of relatively heavy traffic.  Leigh resorted to putting her longest digit into play twice (that I know of) but when the traffic was light it was very pleasant. 

From Zastron northwards we are following the border with the Kingdom of Lesotho, often called the Kingdom in the Sky.  Lesotho being the only country in the world that lies entirely above one thousand meters above sea level with more than eighty percent of the country lying above one thousand eight hundred meters.  With a surface area of over thirty thousand square kilometers and two million citizens, it is the largest country completely surrounded by another.

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The Maluti Mountains of Lesotho in the distance to the east with the grasslands of the Free State to the west.
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We found a number of the stick insects along the road as we approached Wepener. I have no idea what genus they fall into let alone what species they may be.
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Bill ShaneyfeltFamily Mantidae.

I can't get ID down any farther... seems there are about 43 genera in S. Africa alone! And many species in each genus. Who knew there were so many?

https://www.ru.ac.za/media/rhodesuniversity/resources/martin/mantidae.html
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2 weeks ago
Jean-Marc StrydomThanks for giving it a go. I wasn't even going to try and get an ID for it.
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2 weeks ago

After Zastron, Wepener seems quite worn around the edges and the approach to our digs, where we encountered a row of burnt down buildings, didn't help soften that impression.  However, the Lord Fraser Guesthouse where we are staying is quite an eye-opener.  It was the austral summer residence of the late Lord Fraser of Lonsdale who donated it to the town of Wepener on his death in 1974.  It was meant to become a college but the municipality eventually sold it to its current owners who have turned it into a hotel.  Ian Fraser, Baron Fraser of Lonsdale C.H. C.B.E, blinded by a sniper's bullet in the battle of the Somme in 1916, served the UK in both Houses of Parliament, was knighted in 1934, becoming a Life Peer in 1958, Governor of the BBC, the list goes on and on.  His father was a South African businessman and, although he was born in Eastbourne in England, he grew up in South Africa.  The small hotel is quite remarkable, not just for the commodious rooms, but also for some of the folk and creatures that seem to inhabit it.  All in all, something interesting for us to stumble upon.

Our enormous bedroom. The adjoining bathroom is almost as big.
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In the hotel bar the heads of two Afrikaaner bulls are mounted above a stuffed sheep. Afrikaaner cattle are one of a number of the South African breeds developed from the indigenous cattle kept by the Khoikhoi. The Khoikhoi cattle were part of the Sanga group of African cattle which resulted from the hybridization of Zebu cattle (Bos taurus indicus) with the indigenous African humpless cattle and can be distinguished from pure Zebu by their having smaller humps located farther forward on the animals.
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Supper was lamb chops which we ate under the watchful eyes of seven dogs of indeterminate parentage. No prizes for guessing what happened to the bones once our plates were cleared.
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Today's ride: 69 km (43 miles)
Total: 819 km (509 miles)

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