South Africa
Lion

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8 travelers at this place

  • Day32

    Royal Natal NP

    August 9, 2019 in South Africa ⋅ ⛅ 14 °C

    Eigentlich wollten wir ein paar Ruhe - und Wandertage in den Drakensbergen einlegen. Leider spielt das Wetter nicht mit. Die Berge sind wolkenverhangen und es soll sich in den nächsten Tagen wohl auch nicht ändern. Also werden wir morgen zur Küste reisen.Read more

  • Day91

    Maloti Drakensberg Park - Day 2

    February 23 in South Africa ⋅ ☁️ 14 °C

    As I got up at around 7am after a reasonably good night's sleep despite the heavy rain, I was very disappointed to find that it was still raining lightly with low heavy clouds that reduced visibility markedly. This was exactly the weather we didn't want for trekking in the mountains and enjoying the views. I got a, thankfully, hot shower as it was very cool with the rain, and joined my fellow travellers under the tarpaulin for a leisurely breakfast of cereal and toast. We managed to keep a good sense of humour and had some fun banter about how Brian was using the Irish rain gods to create the rain, and I was trying to counteract his 'magic' by summoning up some sunshine. So far, Brian was winning hands down. A troop of baboons were mischievously patrolling the campsite looking for free food and were being chased off by various campers, some armed with sticks. Kristen, Brian and I retreated to the relative warmth of the truck to read and write and pass the time while it rained.
    Throughout the morning the drizzly rain occasionally abated, the cloudy sky brightened a little and I became hopeful that we may be able to go for a trek to view the mountain scenery. However, no sooner did I have that thought, than the skies darkened and the rain began to fall again. This happened several times throughout the morning. We decided to go to the park's Visitors Centre about a 15 minute walk down the road. I made a quick sandwich to eat along the way. We left the high fenced campsite and walked down by a very swollen river with all the rain we'd had. The river was actually flowing over the low road bridge. The visitor centre had some helpful information and a 3D model of the impressive Drakensberg mountain amphitheatre which showed potential walks. I was still interested to do one of the walks if the weather cleared but so far it hadn't done so. It also had some information about some ancient rock paintings nearby which sounded like a good alternative activity. My fellow traveller, Kristin, is also interested in rock paintings and so we decided to walk up the road for about 30 minutes to where the path to the paintings began. It continued to rain so that we got pretty wet along the way. There was nowhere obvious as to where we could pay for the guided walk, so we decided to walk up the rocky and slippery path ourselves. After about 30 minutes of climbing we came over a rise into a very attractive valley filled with trees. On our right was a large rock face which had clearly been cut into, damaged, and excavated like a quarry. Further along we found some rather faint, but interesting, rock paintings in red and white pigments. Again, the more you looked, the more you could see. There were some nice renditions of antelope, and a whole series of figures in various poses in white pigment. To the right was a rendition of a buffalo or bull and what looked like a frontal depiction of a giraffe. Then I saw some more vivid and well drawn renditions of antelope high up on the rock that were the best preserved of the paintings. However, we didn't see the impressive animal rock paintings that were in the photo at the visitor centre and then realised by re-reading the information from the centre that most of the better depictions of animals in the rock art had been literally blasted from the rock using dynamite by the British many years ago and were now placed in a museum. This explained the damaged state of the rock face, and we wondered how people could be so ignorant as to blast out rock paintings from such a special and evocative place. We had therefore been unable to see the best images, but I was still pleased to have seen the wonderfully rendered animals that were there. Kristen and I then had the long trek back down the path and along the road back to the campsite. When we reached the bottom of the path we encountered a large troop of baboons including a mother with a small baby clinging to her back and looking at us curiously. There was also another very tame bushbuck antelope feeding amidst the troop of baboons. I reflected that this would possibly be the last time I would see such African animals roaming in the wild and already felt that I would miss this ongoing experience of such animals when I left Africa. Further up the road we saw another tame bushbuck very close to us on the road. We walked back past the visitor centre with the rain still falling. I realised that my hopes to do a trek to see the Drakensberg mountain amphitheatre would be dashed for the rest of the day as the weather wasn't going to lift. This was perhaps the biggest disappointment of the trip on the final day of the trip, but I consoled myself that I had been so lucky to have seen so much on the rest of the trip that at least one such disappointment was to be expected. Kristen and I returned up the path by the swollen river and this time crossed a rickety old wooden suspension bridge over the river to avoid getting our feet wet by crossing the flooded road bridge. When we arrived back at our tents, I retreated to the relative warmth of the truck to rest and dry off. Jemma and Grant returned from doing their clothes washing and we hatched a plan to drive up to a viewing point over to the Amphitheatre the following morning if the weather allowed. It was weather dependent but would give us another opportunity to see this spectacular view of the Drakensberg mountains.
    Kristen, Jemma, Grant and Graham played cards through the afternoon and came into the truck for warmth. I also sat in the truck with Brian and wrote my blog. A couple wearing matching white tops and red shorts arrived at the campsite and spent a long time trying and failing to put up their tent in the rain. Kristen dubbed them Mr. and Mrs, Claus on account of the Christmas colours they both wore, and they provided us with some macabre entertainment as their tent kept collapsing. Then Jemma and Often cooked us a wonderful dinner of soup and cottage pie. Often managed to make a bush oven using hot coals to bake the cheese on top of the cottage pie. It continued to rain and the temperature fell very low so that we could see our breath in the air. I had to put on my fleece for the first time on the trip to keep warm. I opened a bottle of red wine to help keep warm and we all drank some alcohol over dinner, except Often and Brian who don't drink alcohol. The hot soup and cottage pie was delicious and helped keep us warm in the cold night. We reminisced about our long journey now coming to an end and talked about our highlights of the trip. It was a lovely evening of conversation and humorous banter which I knew I would miss when I returned home. I felt fortunate to have travelled with such a friendly and warm group of people throughout this epic journey across Africa and I thought of all the people that I'd met on the trip and the fellow travellers no longer with us. We washed and packed away all our cooking utensils and flapped them dry for the last time on the trip. I stood around the last embers of the burning coals with Brian, Graham and Often and we discussed our journey and how it had seemed so long ago that we started our trip on 26th November 2019. We all then retired to our tents for our last night camping in this unforgettable experience of wild Africa. I slowly fell to sleep with the rain still falling on my tent, the swollen river roaring below and the great continent of Africa stretching thousands of miles to the North, so much of which I had now experienced and seen, and yet so much more of this vast continent I had yet to see and explore. There were many animals prowling and sleeping in the black night that I had now made eye contact with and connected to, and one lion in Antelope park that had somehow managed to open my heart and show me the pure fire of creation.
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  • Day33

    Tugela Falls Trip

    February 4, 2019 in South Africa ⋅ ⛅ 28 °C

    Wow. Was für ein Tag. Es war mein bisher bestes Erlebnis hier.
    Früh morgens um 7:00 wurden wir abgeholt. Nach 2 Stunden fahrt waren wir am Startpunkt angekommenen. Wir starteten bei 2500m über dem Meer. Unser Zielpunkt liegt bei 3100m.
    Es war ziemlich frisch so weit oben, aber das Wetter sah gut aus.
    Wir starteten voller Motivation los. Der Ausblick war jetzt schon Atemberaubend schön.
    Nach der ersten Stunde, wir waren schon ziemlich außer Atem, sagte uns der Guide, dass das bisher „easy, peasy, lemonsqueezy“ war.
    Um auf die 3100m zu kommen müssen wir nun klettern. 250m hoch. Ohne Sicherung oder sonst was. Jeder durfte sein eigenes Tempo wählen. Unser Guide ging als letztes hoch. Es war anstrengend und ab und zu purzelten auch ein paar kleine Steine. Oben ist dann unsere Lunchpause. Nach mehreren kleinen Pausen, in der ich die Aussicht genossen hab oder von dem frischen Wasser gekostet habe, bin ich endlich oben angekommen. Es war das anstrengendste was ich je gemacht habe.
    Während wir gegessen haben, haben uns leider die Wolken die Aussicht genommen. Aber dann öffneten sich die Wolken und die ganzen Strapazen hatten sich gelohnt! Es war unglaublich was uns da offenbart wurde. So wunderschön. Wir haben Fotos gemacht und die Aussicht genossen. Die Fotos zeigen nicht annähernd wie schön es in Wirklichkeit aussieht.
    Wir sind dann oben weiter gelaufen, Richtung Wasserfall. Der Tugela Wasserfall. Der zweithöchste der Welt. Immer wieder staunten wir über den Ausblick und spielten mit dem Echo. Beim Wasserfall angekommen durften wir darin baden oder uns einfach sonnen. Das Wasser war gar nicht so kalt wie gedacht. Auch diese Pause haben wir genossen. Die Aussicht wurde einfach nicht langweilig. Der Rückweg ging über Leitern runter. Es gab zwei zur Auswahl. Eine, die wackelt wenn man runter geht und eine, die Fest am Felsen ist. Wir wählten alle die feste. Und auch die war nicht ganz ohne. Auf dem Weg zurück zum Bus kamen wir immer noch nicht ganz klar drauf was wir gerade gemacht haben.
    Diese Wanderung werde ich sicher niemals vergessen. Ich bin immer noch überwältigt.
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