Weekend getaway to Drakensburg

Mohan and I work and breed in the plateau of South Africa. We needed a different landscape to refresh our souls and test how physically fit we were, thus went on a weekend getaway to Drakensburg. I have not seen the burgs (berge – mountains) since my fifth grade. It was a memorable but tiring trip. I was so drained at the end of the trip.

It is one of those ‘taste of Africa’ weekends. Reached some high peaks with awesome views, rolled down some steep rocks, splashed and snapped some photos of waterfalls and observed some bushman paintings on caves with great depth. It was a fulfilling trip. My hotel room had a beautiful view overlooking the Cathedral peaks. I stayed in the Cathedral Peak resort.

In the fifth grade, staying in a dormitory with ten to twelve girls sharing the room and sleeping on wooden bunk beds is so different to hotels. My first Drakensburg trip memories are filled with 60 girls in a bus, travelling away in the hot sun to the camp. Getting bitten by spiders – a totally different atmosphere in comparison to travelling with my husband. Both are good in certain levels.

My husband bought a new camera just for this trip. Our drive was filled with beautiful sceneries, we managed to take some lovely photos. My husband (Mohan) also tried his hand out on Macro photography.

Link to the Macro photography:

http://pradeepamohan.net/blog/2012/11/19/drakensburg-macro-photography/

Now, focusing on ISO 100 zooming in on some more photos of the activities that took place during our trip.

Hoping on the rocks to the other side of the waterfalls (Belinda Falls). Mohan and I did this walk on our own. It was refreshing but never to know what was waiting on the following day for us.

Our view from our Hotel stoep (Cathedral Peak Hotel). I recommend this hotel to everyone.

A serene atmosphere, with deep gorges and valleys.  Water-filled river run though the valleys. I will pay to have a home in an area like this. The smell of fresh land brought a lot of calmness to the mind. We became one with nature.

Reaching some mini peaks on our own, giant ones yet to come.

Our devastating group hike began here. I have only two words to say about this experience EXHAUSTING and EYE-OPENING. We went on this hike with a care free expectation and we were given surprises by other group members.

They were nearly thirty hikes available, offered by our hotel. We managed to do three and one on our own. Each hike had a grade attached to it. Starting at Grade A to D. Grade A being the gentle hikes for the whole family and as the grades progress to D, it gets steeper and more dangerous. C and D are for hikers who are well equipped.

My group were filled with foreigners from Germany, Switzerland, Canada, England and USA. We started off on Grade A (Visiting Doreen Falls) thinking it would be an easy walk and ended up on Grade C (Bushman paintings – up on a mountain in a cave)

A couple who climbed the Alpes were part of our group. Apparently it was their last day in Drakensburg and they pleaded to visit the Bushman painting (Group C). Hey, it was my first real day! The rest of our team members were ‘OK’ to visit this bushman painting including Mohan. Well, I couldn’t exactly say NO. I ended up nodding yes. I couldn’t imagine what was in stall for me.

These bushman couldn’t find a low ground to do their paintings? We were told by our guide that these Bushman paintings were six minutes away from Doreen falls which we were visiting initially. Our guide also said that the walk to the Bushman paintings were a ‘little’ more tough of walk but it is ‘only’ six minutes away. Should’ve understated that a bit more! It ended up being sixty minutes away. Since the whole group slowed down those steep climb (slopes).

Maybe, it was six minutes for those bushman who climbed like primates. Bushman (San man) used their hands and legs to climb these mountains. Their average speed of walking was 40 km/h, according to our guide.

This photo was taken from the ground. It may look like an easy walk from the bottom to top, but it was the worst nightmare for me. Lucky I took two bottles of Energade and whole load of water to keep me going. I thought climbing to the top would be difficult but I was proven wrong. I nearly had an heart attack looking down from the top.These questions were running through my head:

How am I going to get down? Did I not note down the helicopter number? 😀 Mother nature decided to slap me on my face and punch me on my back. 

When I type away this blog, I feel my hands shaking once more.

I was literally shaking on that day of my hike… My legs and hands were shaking like the rattler on a rattle snake. I realised I wasn’t as fit as many others in our group but I have to admit it was an experience of a life time, well atleast for me.

Crosssing some mild rivers. Thanks to a kind lady from Switzerland who borrowed me a trekking pole (the stick am holding).

We reached our target number one within thirty minutes. A fresh water falls.  Just enjoyed the sounds of the birds and whoosh of water falling into a pool. I sat there and thought to myself  ‘wow, how beautiful’.

 

A refreshing one. I was so mesmerised with the falls, I totally forgot about our pact to the caves.

The mouth of the steep walk. Had to do a lot of catching up to the group 😛

At last reaching the point number two, it was a long walk to bushmans’ freedom. I understood why they chose such a scenic location to draw their paintings. They had a birds eye view of their land.

Opposite was the ribbon waterfall that Mohan took a hike on the following day. I didn’t accompany him to the Ribbon waterfalls since I was so stiff from our lovely, surprising previous day hike.

The happiness in my face reaching those peaks. It was an exhausting walk but worth it.

These painting were drawn with animal blood. Twigs were used as paint brushes. As it was covered away in the deep gorges of rocks, the paintings weren’t affected by the wind, sun and rain.  Seen above is a lady. All the paintings with the big buttocks were women.

The bushman’s art skills were good. I would give them A+ for this subject. They loved their herd of cattles.

Hunting with spears.

These paintings are 2000 + years old. All were drawn with animal blood.

After being burnt by the sun from the hot hike, it was time to chill off with a cool swim and rest with a stunning view.

Like to end of this post with macro photographs taken by Mohan.

Keep reading my blog 🙂

Prad

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4 comments

  1. That was fantastic!! The description and the pictures says it all!! Looks like you enjoyed though it was tiring reaching there!

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