SA’s worst highway by far
The Wild Coast beckons to all holidaymakers, but avoid the N2 at night, warns ALWYN VILJOEN
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.
‘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.