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A month ago, my family and I drove down the N3 from Johannesburg to Howick for a long weekend in KwaZulu-Natal. We had decided to undertake a great adventure: cycling around Midmar Dam (or, rather, cycling along about 5% of the dam’s shoreline — still quite far for short legs).

On our first morning, we approached the dam with half-remembered directions from a local in mind. Was it a left or a right turn at the T-junction? We went left, and soon regretted it. After a short rise, a bleak picture lay before us: the water was largely hidden from view, and instead we drove for a kilometre along a potholed road lined on both sides by mounds of trash metres high and wide. We soon realised the error of our ways. ..

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