The Panoramic Beauty of the Drakensbergs

Trip Start Aug 22, 2012
Trip End Jun 16, 2013

Flag of South Africa  , KwaZulu-Natal,
Saturday, May 4, 2013

One might think we'd be trying to cram as many things in as we could before we leave but we are continuing on in our preferred rhythm of taking our time and immersing ourselves in a place. It feels to me that the more we cram, the less exercise we get because we end up being in some form of transportation for hours on end. So, what better place to do good hiking and soak up the scenery of the Drakensberg mountains in South Africa.

A highlight of this week as we located ourselves in the southern, central and the northern regions of the Drakensbergs was the day trip up the Sani Pass into the small country of Lesotho. Our entertaining and knowledgeable guide Matt Chaplin, kept us intrigued throughout the day. His obvious love of the area - its geology, history, scenery and the people - translated immediately to our group as he handled that Land Rover on those, at times, almost vertical gravel roads. Once on 'the roof of Africa’ we explored the snow-kissed wide open terrain, watched angora goats being sheared, tasted some homemade bread from a cast iron pot and the locally made sorghum beer (not good!) as we sat in a rondavel (round house) in a village.

The 8-hour Blindman’s Corner hike we did in the central region was gruelling for me with my hurting knees although the views were incredible. There wasn’t much wildlife other than baboons, a few antelope-type animals and birds. Becoming fatigued, my walking pace slowed down and I always get more wobbly at this stage of our hikes. Jim had travelled on ahead of me when I tripped, tumbling over so that I was clutching onto the long grass with my head pointing down the steep slope. I was so shocked I just made some guttural panic sounds which Jim heard thinking they were perhaps the baboons. Luckily, he recognized my voice somewhere in that crazy sound I was making and came running to my rescue. We had a good chuckle over that scene after my feet were on terra firma!

We continue to be treated to gorgeous sunny days and cool nights. Fall is a fantastic time to be hiking here, never getting overheated yet trusting the nice weather will stay with us. Coming from Halifax, we have never seen a 3-day forecast that predicts '0% precipitation'. It's going to be hard returning to our work lives in Canada, staying indoors most of the day and squeaking in a bit of physical activity if we are lucky. Thankfully it will be springtime, with the promise of warm summer evenings just around the corner.
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Sue Walker on

More beautiful stories and pictures, What a time you both had! I can't wait to talk to you
Love Sue xo

Suzanne Mariner on

Thanks for sharing such vivid descriptions of your amazing travels, Donna! I feel as though I've been receiving the gift of a colorful glimpse at all the places where you've been, over the course of your adventures!!! With love & gratitude, Suzanne

DAVE +Judy on

Loved reading your blog and thanks so much for all your info on Vietnam and for staying with us at Avoca.Love Dave + Judy

Peggy on

Great photos (again) of one of our special places--Lesotho! I remember hitchiking up to Sani Pass, in the back of an aid truck, on top of 50# bags of food stuff--clearly labeled "gift from the people of Canada", with the red maple leaf. Canadians right at home up there at thin altitude!
Thank you.

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