Hiking in the Drakensberge

cathedral peak Travel Blog

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No shows at Falcon Ridge today, because of bad weather.

Today we can sleep late! We do not have to get up until 7.45. Trudy is out of bed much earlier and at 8 I hear the sound of the front door. She has already done the laundry and has gone out for a stroll. Because of the noisyness of the door she didn’t want to come back in any sooner, she was afraid she’d wake everyone up.

At 9.30 am right after breakfast, we go by bus to Monk’s Cowl, but first Johan has a little surprise (verrassinkjie) for us. We make an extra stop at Falcon Ridge, a centre that breeds birds of prey. You can also see falconers give hunting demonstrations there, but we are unlucky, it is too cloudy and all shows are cancelled today.

Stairway to Heaven??
Just a quick look at the birds in their cages and off we go again. I’m looking forward to do some hiking, these last couple of weeks we’ve done a significant amount of sitting and my body yearns for some action.

On the parking lot of Monk’s Cowl Johan wants to know who wants to go hiking and who would rather go shopping (because of the very low clouds and therefore limited views). Everyone goes shopping, except for Annette, Barbara, Trudy and myself. So we get off the bus and all the others stay on.

Barbara and Annette opt for the hike to Crystal Falls and Sfinx, which should take about two hours. Trudy and I want to go to Nandi Falls, a three hour walk.

Nandi Falls are definately worth the walk.
After signing the Rescue Register, we set off at 10.45 am. It’s a beautiful walk, mostly going uphill, but every now and then there’s time to relax and enjoy the views when there’s a little flat or even some downhill track. The clouds are thick and the air is very moist, soon it feels like we are having a fever, everything is wet from the mist and our own perspiration. It’s noon when we reach Nandi Falls, a waterfall that’s approximately 30 metres high and about 5 metres wide. Two people, that are leaving when we arrive, tell us that it is possible to get behind the falls. A challenge we have to face. We have to cross a stream by jumping from rock to rock. And then there is still a steep, four metre high, slippery slope we have to climb. Fortunately Tarzan was here and he has left some lianas we can use. Strange things, lianas: they look like long up to 8 cm thick sticks that reach for the skies, but when you take hold of them, they are surprisingly flexible, like a thick rope.
We couldn't have thought of a better place to have lunch.
Anyway, we manage to get up the slope and we reach a path that leads us behind the falls. Sitting behind this curtain of drops of water plummeting into the deep, we eat our lunch and we feel very privileged, since we are the only ones of our group who chose to do this hike. After sitting here for about half an hour, we start our descent. Luckily the clouds start to dissolve a little, so the views get a bit better. The walk down goes faster than the way up. A little past 1.30 pm we meet Annette and Barbara at the end of their walk and they tell us it was very beautiful. We would like to do their hike as well, and according to my calculation we have still got two hours (pick up time is 3.30 pm I believe). Annette and Barbara think the bus will be here at 2.30 pm, but I do not want to believe that and Trudy and I begin the second walk while the two ladies go down to the parking lot.

This path is quite a bit steeper than the other one, and it is a constant climb.

The first part of the walk to Crystal Falls has the vegetation of a tropical rainforest.

Also is it more overgrown, like a tropical rainforest, at the beginning of the walk that is. The higher we get, the less trees there are. When Barbara calls at 2.15 pm, that the bus has arrived, we are pretty close to Crystal Falls and we can’t stand the thought of having come this far and not having seen the falls. So instead of going down right away, we climb for another ten minutes, take a quick look (this waterfall is smaller than Nandi Falls, but it has been “designed” more creatively) and then we head back for the bus. We go down faster than we normally do, although every then and again I stop to enjoy the view, we are seated in the coach within half an hour.

Back at the lodge, first we take a shower and then we take a plunge in the pool, which is rather chilly, so we don’t last longer than five or so minutes. We show some pictures we’ve taken to members of our group and they immediately regret going shopping.

Dinner consists of braaivleis (barbequed meat), potatoes with mushrooms and garlic, with a salad on the side. For desert cooking pears are served.

After dinner we play some games of pool and at 10.30 pm I go to bed.

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No shows at Falcon Ridge today, be…
No shows at Falcon Ridge today, b…
Stairway to Heaven??
Stairway to Heaven??
Nandi Falls are definately worth t…
Nandi Falls are definately worth …
We couldnt have thought of a bett…
We couldn't have thought of a bet…
The first part of the walk to Crys…
The first part of the walk to Cry…
Fortunately the clouds lifted a bi…
Fortunately the clouds lifted a b…
God showed off his creativity when…
God showed off his creativity whe…
The later on the day, the farther …
The later on the day, the farther…
The pool looked very alluring, but…
The pool looked very alluring, bu…
One of the stays at the Lilac Lodg…
One of the stays at the Lilac Lod…
cathedral peak
photo by: Stormcrow