After we decided to give our plan a chance we needed to visit some villages to chick if we can see ourselves live there. Back in the Netherlands we already selected some places: Malelane, Phalaborwa and Hoedspruit. Others were on a sort of back-up-list, but those did not make it to the top three based on information we could find back home.
We started in the south-east part below the Greater Kruger National Park in Malelane. There are gorgeous homes for sale and the Malelane Gate is only two kilometers away. We diced to stay for two days to check everyting out.
When we arrived the surroundings were beautiful, but the road towards Malelane was very busy with trucks. This road is the only road (without having to cross the Greater Kruger National Park) to cross the border with Mozambique. When we arrived it turned out to be a very small village, but with an enormous Spar: A Super Spar. Well indeed this is a super store. We do not have supermarkets like that in the Netherlands.This was a nice surprise, because we didn’t know anything about supermarkets in South Africa. They have everything and more (except for hagelslag… 🙁 ).
A little bit outside Malelane was our cottage. It was nice, quiet and peaceful…. when you just looked left and straight forward. Because if you looked to the right you saw a wide view with an massive industry/mine kinda thing with dark thick smoke. It looked like Lord of the Rings Mordor. Let’s be clear: we do not want to live in Mordor.
At that moment Malelane was off the table. Too busy and too much industry. We’ll miss the Super Spar though. However we still had one whole day left and we decided not to waste it in Malelane but to go an extra day to the Greater Kruger National Park. Before we could go we needed some groceries and we desperately needed to find an ATM. When we did (and believe us this was definitely not the best moment of the trip) we got robbed. Well it was not completely unexpected because we were obviously searching around which made it very easy to see that we were tourists and the ATM works a little different than in the Netherlands. Wiebe used a wrong code and the machine gave immediately his card back with a receipt with a message that it went wrong. In the Netherlands you have 3 tries and no receipt. We looked confused and within the second someone really ‘helpful’ showed up to ‘help’ us. He did (in criminal terms) a great job, because at first we were almost happy with him, but of course he took our card and pretended to put it back in the machine. He left as soon as he came and we were waiting in front of the machine to give our card back, which never happened of course. The good thing is that Wiebe used the wrong code multiple times so the ‘helpful’ man thought he knew the code, but he did not. We blocked the account and we did not lost any money. In a way we want to say thank you to this unknown ‘helpful’ man, because we learned a serious lesson for free.
When you look for a new hometown and you get robbed well that is not the best start. That in combination with the traffic, the industry and the fact that it is really close to the Mozambican border made us decided that Malelane will definitely not be our new hometown.
To feel better we wantes to go even more to the Greater Kruger National Park and that indeed made everything better. We were submerged in great sightings of impala, elephant, giraffe, warthog and many more. We were ready to experience the park and forget all about Malelane.
Wiebe & Melanie