SA’s worst high­way by far

The Wild Coast beckons to all hol­i­day­mak­ers, but avoid the N2 at night, warns AL­WYN VILJOEN

The Witness - Wheels - - EXPLORE -

AF­TER sur­viv­ing two days of sui­ci­dal driv­ers on the an­i­mal feed­lot jok­ingly re­ferred to as the N2 high­way last week, I now wel­come news from the SA Na­tional Roads Agency (San­ral) that the N2 to our scenic Wild Coast road will be tolled in fu­ture.

Be­fore I started my jour­ney, I was also dead set against putting toll booths on this en­try to the Wild Coast, but now I say to any­one still of this think­ing to go drive your­self over what has for many years been South Africa’s most dan­ger­ous road. Then think what a few toll booths could do to keep off this other­wise well-main­tained high­way all those kamikaze driv­ers whose main thrill in life it is to pass a long line of cars on a blind rise on a misty day, with only one park­ing light work­ing. So dan­ger­ous do they make the N2 around Mthatha that this road is on the top five list of places to avoid on the in­ter­na­tional web­site Driv­ing Ex­pe­ri­ences. “The main dan­ger comes not from the road it­self, but from the ve­hi­cles and driv­ers us­ing it, driv­ing with­out due care and at­ten­tion and speed­ing. The road, which cuts through var­i­ous moun­tain­ous ar­eas, has many bar­rier lines for its nu­mer­ous hair­pins, one un­nerv­ingly re­ferred to as ‘Hos­pi­tal Bend’, but many mo­torists just do not ad­here to them,” states the site. The Road Traf­fic Man­age­ment Cor­po­ra­tion also lists six sec­tions of the N2 among the top 25 most dan­ger­ous roads in SA, with on av­er­age three deaths each day of the year, this de­spite the fact that there are far fewer cars on the N2 than the N3.

It is not just the kamikaze Xhosas do­ing their best to cause head-on crashes on the N2, but the pedes­tri­ans of all ages who will look you in the eye be­fore dash­ing, limp­ing or dawdling straight into the on­com­ing traf­fic, which can eas­ily be a truck ca­reen­ing down­hill at 115 km/h.

About the only thing you don’t have to worry about on the N2 is the many goats. Sur­vival of the fittest means there are no goats left that don’t look twice be­fore cross­ing a road. The sheep, don­keys, cows, dogs and horses are not as clever. In fact, the im­age of half a horse smeared across the N2 will haunt me for a long time, and now, also you, if only to con­vince you never to drive on the N2 af­ter dark.

PHOTOS: AL­WYN VILJOEN

‘Aaah, cute!’, right up to the mo­ment of im­pact. This lit­tle don­key is one of many, many an­i­mals that feed next to or on the N2, five of which, in­clud­ing a horse and cow, I saw smashed to bits in a 200 km stretch.

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