Leopard Prints and Waterfalls

Trip Start May 25, 2005
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of South Africa  ,
Friday, December 23, 2005

Yes, they are definitely leopard prints.


Well, it was a lovely, lovely, hanging cave.

Let's sleep here!

And so it was decided.

Today was our 'rest day' - which in best hiking terms, doesn't mean you actually get a rest, but just that you try and have more time for using up your energy on activities other than walking.

We had a leisurely start as the forest had kept the early morning sun out for a while - which today was a welcome thing - especially after the nightshifts of the previous hours.

Just as we were packing up, a snake fell from the tree between me and Riaan, and headed straight past my feet to the relative safety of my bag! Great! After some encouragement it slithered away into the bushes. I think it was a sand snake based on it's thin, even brown appearance.

Our first task was to get some fresh drinking water, as we were completely out, so we headed up past the village and camping resort. Just as we had finished filling up our water bottles from the stand tap, a chap from Durban told us not to drink it. So he gave us some fresh water to share, and off we went.

Passing a large Chinese exploded shipwreck we started to climb up the coast. The landscape was now more mountainous, but the point was to try and see one of the tallest free-falling waterfalls along the African coast. And it was pretty spectacular. We stopped and had some lunch and watched the water pour to the depths below. After a while it almost seemed that the water was stationary and the rocks were moving, and at this point we decided it was time to move on.

By 2:30pm we had found our spot for the night. Initially trying to cross the smaller waterfall with the large backpacks on sent me falling down to the river, clinging on while others helped haul me up to the top. Again, it would sometimes really help to be a bit taller.

We scrambled up the scree to the cave, saw the leopard prints, but decided it had all the winning ingredients for a good night's camp; fresh running water, shelter, dry rocks, fish to catch and a stunning view. Sold!

As I had a tiny tent, I could squeeze in at the end. Beforehand I borrowed Casper's walking stick and removed all the dead vegetation - which seemed like a great place for nasties to hang out. Then, with tent sorted, it was time to do some washing. The whole riverside became littered with colourful shirts and underwear of 13 different shapes and sizes. It seemed like no one wanted to wear damp dirty clothes anymore?

Then it was time for a swim and my first proper bathe in five days! Yikes! Boy, did it feel good, although with no sun to warm the water it was a little on the breath-catching side. The poor fish were almost jumping out of the pool at the sight of 13 bodies entering their little paradise!

Good - they're too damn tasty to stay in the water anyway.

On with some clean clothes, and I took the opportunity to do a bit of painting. I had brought along a small packet of watercolour pencils and a brush. So I sat and did my 'interpretation' of the waterfall by the camp, but when I look at it now it certainly fills me with great memories - and that's the point.

Then, even better news - the 26th had been brought forward 3 days, so it was goodbye to the pasta shells, pepper, and onion. Hooray! Those damn shells! They did taste yummy though.

The cave was perfect for the quiet is afforded us. It was so nice to be able to sit and eat together and chat without worrying about the weather. I felt I got to know the group during day four so much better than on many of the days before. Everyone was relaxed and joking. It was lovely.

A perfect spot in time.
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