I’m not sure how this is going to go. We’re in a small cabin near the border of Lesotho in the Drakensberg mountains. It’s a spectacular setting and we’re cut off from internet and I find myself a bit relieved. Except that I want to send this blog. That might have to wait till we get to Durban tomorrow.
We left Blantyre on Thursday morning and made the short flight to Johannesburg where I went to pick up the rental car and George went to get some cash. I got the car and George got robbed. Bit of a rough start to the vacation. We made the five hour drive into this national park just after dark, a hair raising ride on tiny roads driving on the left. But we made it and were still speaking to each other, though, in one word sentences. We stopped to get wine on the way, and believe me, that helped get us settled and the nerves calmed. We were so happy to arrive in this place. We couldn’t see until Friday morning how spectacular it is. The resort is designed for ecotourism and the cabins are tucked into the hillside. All have thatched roofs and are barely visible. They each have a wall of windows next to and in front of the bed so we have a full view of the mountains from there. It’s amazing. It’s also hard to find in the dark. I about kissed the ground when I finally got that car parked.
Friday we hiked up to caves where there are 5,000 year old paintings done by the San people who originally inhabited this region. A tribe of peaceful hunters and gatherers. The paintings are astoundingly intact. Eland blood and ostrich eggs apparently make long-lasting paint.
Yesterday we did a long hike (24 kilometers) up one of the passes to the top where South Africa and Lesotho share a border. It was a bit grueling and we didn’t have enough water with us, but crossed a river with a small waterfall and refilled our bottles there. We just made it to the top in time for us to get down before dark. It took us about 10 hours and my legs are sore today. It was breathtakingly beautiful and worth the effort though. It’s summer here and wildflowers were everywhere. We saw dozens of species of orchids and iris.
We are driving up to the northern part of the park today to hike there to Tugela Falls, the second highest waterfall in the world. The highest (only beating this one by 30 meters) is in Venezuela.
I’m realizing without my laptop this is going to be hard to write the way I want. I think I’ll do a bit of an outline of events from the road and fill in the history and details when I get back to Blantyre in January. There’s too much I want to say and it’s hard to type on this phone.
This country is so beautiful and we’ve only seen a fraction of it so far. Tomorrow we’ll drive to Durban for two nights then take four days to get down the coast to Cape Town for Christmas.
Off now to the mountains where everything makes sense. I keep thinking if this gorgeous place could survive it’s past we surely can make things right at home. I’m still praying for a miracle Monday.
Love to all,