South Africa – the Lower Drakensburg Trail

We entered the park and set up camp.  The day was only half way through, so we had time to walk.  We decided to head for the Cave to the north west.  The hike was exhilarating.  Mostly through open scrub with occasional acacia trees, it was like walking across the top of the Cumbrian Moutains.  Then once more something would happen that would bring us right back to Africa.  For example, there was the deep hooting of a troop of baboons.  A large old male sat atop a rocky outcrop, surveying us as we climbed.  His calling was slightly disturbing as we saw that he was gathering his family around him, several small groups of younger baboons crossed out path and went to join him on the outcrop.  You learn pretty fast in Africa that the things you expect to cause you problems, the lions and crocodiles, are in fact minor worries, as you know how to avoid their small numbers and well known habits.  Much more unpredictable are those animals which are more common, like baboons, mosquitoes, ants, termites, and rats.

 Nothing happened, fortunately.  For the most part, the mutual respect that our primate cousins have for us keep them at a healthy distance, and I mean healthy, for if a baboon were to approach too closely and bite you, you could expect a rich soup of obnoxious germs to get injected.

Royal Natal Park Map

Royal Natal Park Map

 The weather was poor again by late afternoon and although the close scenery was good, we never got to see the long distance views for which this region is famous.  After dinner, Kirsty was still cursing about work, and the weather was still pretty oppressive, so I suggested we wandered from the camp to the hotel at the top of the hill.  In a pokey and terribly underutilised bar, we sat on high stools and glared at the TV.  Neither of us were in a particular mood for talking.  Sometimes you just ain’t.  We stared at the TV for a while, and watched.  Of all things, “A Good Man in Africa”.  Although not nearly as good as William  Boyd’s original book, it is well put together, and I always envied the Sean Connery roll.  As a brief visitor to all the places in Africa I had been to, I realised I had never been able to really click into the society and been uncomfortable with myself there without succumbing to the British clubs, social circles or debauchery that could overcome you if you took advantage of the wrong things.  Perhaps one day I would get the overseas posting I sought and would discover my true personality, but these little visits did nothing to give me a true insight into living in someone else’s land.

We watched the movie for quite a while, and Kirsty did learn something about me in that time, and that is a penchant for spirits.  During that evening, I introduced her to every optic in that bar, and we ambled back to our tent very warm and merry.  I snored even more than usual that night, but Kirsty had already decided that she would sleep in the back of the Bucky .

Guinea Fowl in Campsite

Guinea Fowl in Campsite


One thought on “South Africa – the Lower Drakensburg Trail

  1. South Africa – the Lower Drakensburg Trail – String Knife and Paper

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