Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Drakensberg Mountains


My most anticipated stop on the route from Cape Town to Johannesburg, the Drakensberg Mountains. Our home for these 3 nights was the highly recommended Amphitheatre Lodge. It was beautiful but not in the mountains but at the base instead. The first tour involved going to the small but highest country in the world, Lesotho. It is the highest country because its lowest elevation is 1000 meters (3200 feet). It is completely surrounded by South Africa. We drove up to the border, got our visa stamp and headed to a local school to meet the teachers and children. Afterwards we hiked for 1.5 hours up to view the back of the Amphitheatre Mountain and surrounding valleys. Then we hiked down to a local village where we drank the local beer that had been fermented for 5 days. Okay. Then we visited a local medicine man and had some local food. Enjoyable day.

The next tour involved hiking to the highest waterfall in Africa , the Tugela Falls which fall for 3100 feet, claimed to be second highest in the world. We began our day of hiking in the rain and it rain, not hard but constant, for the entire 5 hrs. We finally made it to our summit of 3121 meters or about 10,000 feet and were able to stand near the top of the falls. Unfortunately we were not able to see but a few hundred feet of the falls. The highlight or lowlight of the trip was when we had to climb down 2 steel ladders in the rain on the edge of a cliff. The first one was about 25 feet and while scary, it was not too imposing. However, the second one was 75 feet long on the side of a very steep cliff. The only other way to get back down was to go all the way back by yourself. Not really sure how I did it but concentrated on the moment and making sure my feet and hands were secure at all times. Did I mention it was still raining.  


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