South Africa is a hiker’s paradise. Today I hiked the Highmoor Drakensberg Park for almost the entire morning, from sunrise to just before noon. I was the only hiker here at the top of the little Berg.
One of the great treats of mountain hiking is so many wild flowers, even now in the late fall. Most are quite small, but they are of every color imaginable. I even found a spiny leaf whose underside was blue!
The drive to the trailhead wasn’t easy. It was a single-lane asphalt road with lots of potholes and some treacherous cliff-hanging edges. But it was only about 5 miles long, starting at the end of a good gravel road from the Kamberg Valley.
There I found an absolutely wonderful trailhead, replete with camping sites and camping huts, toilets and showers, braais and a lot of staff who hadn’t quite waken up by the time I arrived.
From the trailhead at around 8000′ there were several well cut and maintained trails. I took the one to the Aas Waterfalls. It was a beautiful hike. I saw eland and blesbok in the far distance on a mountainside and a couple high altitude birds like the mountain chat and rarer bearded vulture.
But the treat was simply having so much of Mother Earth to myself on an absolutely glorious morning. The visitor’s book suggested there had only been 3 other parties this entire week. It has been stormy, so perhaps that’s why, although this morning was remarkably sunny and totally clear.
Trails like these exist throughout the entire country. Clearly by the amount of staff at this very remote highland trail, the government system provides needed employment. But for visitors like myself the discovery of little trails like these is a precious find in a world that seems too well known, a real gem in a special holiday.
Monday I’ll be working, again! Guiding several close friends on a compact trip of Namibia. Stay tuned!