Driving in Africa is always an adventure. You never know what you are going to run into. Whether its drunk drivers, crazy minibuses or animals hogging the street, you are always in for something memorable. This was the case for my buddy Mike and I as we drove through the lovely country of Lesotho (pronounced Lih-Su-Tu). The unusual part is what we encountered on the highway.
We had left Maseru, the capital of Lesotho, early in the morning heading toward the Drakensburg Mountain Range. Lesotho is a small, poor country wholly within South Africa – its claim to fame. As I was flying down the highway, nobody around, cruising toward the eastern border, I noticed something on the road.
We slowed down and stopped. The “something” was a man, we weren’t sure if he was dead or alive. Neither of us knew what to do. He could have been dead. Who would be sleeping in the middle of the only highway in Lesotho? But this is Africa, you never know. I honked the horn quickly – nothing. I looked at Mike, held down the horn for several seconds. The man moved a bit, sluggishly, but he moved. Then he rolled over, stretching and yawning as he eyed our car. We were in shock. This man had indeed been sleeping on the highway. If it were night, he would have been flattened.
It appeared as though he was angry we had interrupted his slumber. He started dragging his body toward the shoulder (if you can call it that) of the road. He then turned over, went back to sleep with his feet still on the road. We sat there stunned. What to make of this? So we started laughing, saying, “This is Africa”.
“This is Africa” is basically the theme of any trip to that continent. You need to expect the unexpected and roll with the punches. While you would more than likely not see a person sleeping on a highway in the U.S., these types of things happen in Africa. An occurrence like this is why I love Africa. It is my favorite continent because it is exciting, different, raw.
This story is one of my favorite Africa mishap tales. I don’t remember much about Lesotho other than some nice scenery through the mountains. This experience will stay with me always.