Travel Journal

Drakensberg - Ladybrand - February 6-7

(Monday 18 February 2008) by Karin
The tabletop peaks of the Drakensberg range, which form the boundary between South Africa and Lesotho, offer some awe-inspiring landscapes.
Breakfast prepared by the Inn's staff again and box lunches were piled up for us to take on our hike up one of the mountains to see the cave paintings and check out the vulture colony.
Hiking poles and lots of sunscreen (finally a hot and sunny day) were suggested and we started a long steep climb. Giovanna, who'd never hiked a mountain before and I took our time, going slowly, stopping to catch our breath when necessary and to admire the scenery (or was that just an excuse for another stop). We reached the Bushmen's caves and explored their paintings. Then climbed all the way up to the top of the cliffs to see the rare cape vulture colony. Not an easy climb when the path changed to a steep dirt and stone staircase and some big rocks to be climbed over. But well worth the effort. We sat down watching the cape vultures and ate our lunch before descending which took me a while as I just don't like going down the mountain. I much more enjoy the going up part. Carole and I enjoyed an extra bit of a hike with Jonathan on our way down and found the others at the pool afterwards. All of us sunburned and exhausted. I slept well.
Ouch ouch ouch, is all I could say the next morning. My arms hurt from the sunburn and my legs from the hike. I am sooooooo out of shape. Will need to do something about this once I'm back home.
The ride down the mountain in the 4x4 was as bumpy as the ride up a few days ago. We transfered all our belongings back into our vehicle and were soon on our way to the artistic community of Clarens. A short stop at the turquoise waters of Sterkfontein Dam and then on through the Golden Gate National Park, well known for its towering sandstone cliffs. I looked in awe at the sandstone mountains, they were stunning. We then stopped in Clarens. Set to a backdrop of craggy limestone rocks, hunter green hills, spun gold fields and the magnificent Maluti Mountains, this town of whitewashed buildings and quite shady streets is perfect for a little stroll. It is also the home of numerous art galleries and a myriad of boutiques. I enjoyed the stroll and had a great lunch in one of the many restaurants and cafes. Also did some shopping for tonights dinner.
Oldenburg farm, a farm near the town of Ladybrand is our destination for today. It is off the highway along several kilometers of dirt roads. After having unloaded our stuff in the rooms we went to take a look at some cave paintings before getting a drink at the bar and getting back to our 'house' for dinner preparations. Great flashes of lightning and rolls of thunder preceded a downpour. We made it back inside OK but Jonathan got really soaked unloading some of the stuff needed for dinner which we ate at the long dining table.
Massaged my legs a bit before retiring hoping that getting on and off the truck will be less painful in the morning.

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