“Keep close to Nature’s heart…and break clear away, once in a while, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.”
Dr Livenstong, I presume…somewhere in the midst of Drakensberg, I find myself on another type of an adventure in the bush. Dragons Mountain is what the name of this place translates into. More like an Indian Jones style one, hiking into uncharted territory with very positive & optimistic friends with a dash of silliness. This time, I’m in a World Heritage Site that is famous for its beautiful stone mountains & valleys. I decided to take advantage of the opportunity to see a different part of South Africa away from home back in Thanda. Drakensberg is about an eight hour drive from Thanda, all what I know is the N2 & N3 will get you there, basically head south to Durban & then up north. It’s a beautiful drive indeed.
Basically, I’m on another photographer’s workshop. It’s time for me to grow a wee bit more with developing a stronger eye. Practice, practice, practice is the nature of the game right now. It’s all about shooting, playing with composition & falling more in love with beauty around me that is calling me to be a stronger visual storyteller.
I’ve been hiking loads & I’m not use to it, since my days are spent in land rovers scouting for wildlife. The scenery is absolutely stunning in Drakensberg. I’m feeling spoiled at the Didima Camp with a nice mattress, excellent drinking water & “fine dinning” style of a restaurant, just a wee bit of an upgrade from the Ulwazi Lodge. There’s so much lush green around with valleys, rivers & streams, wildlife, flora, fauna, trees, absolutely stunning views all the time. The trail system is quite intensive here, but well worth the hikes. I’ve been hiking to waterfalls, trout hatchers & more waterfalls. My longest trek was about 14km to Rainbow Gorge. The hike to the gorge really wasn’t too too bad, except for the steep incline from the camp to the actual trail, it was a wee bit trick tho with a few rivers to cross & a wire ladder to get up & down from. The rocks were very slippery & I managed to fall in the river bruising my knee. Luckily nothing got broken or damage, especially camera gear. I did end up hiking inside the gorge itself, which was stunning for sure. I did also manage to play with a tripod & my neutral density filters to make images of very silky smooth water flowing down the stream. I was quite please on what I actually did & grateful that I didn’t give up while on the trail. I just took it slow hiking cos I just enjoy the peaceful moment of a mediation. There’s nothing wrong with being overly consciousness.
After two nights at Didima Camp we then headed over to spend our last night at Thendele Camp. My trek was a wee bit 13km to Gudu Falls & Cathedral Falls on a circular loop path with some challenging wee bits. I went snail/turtle speed up the steep inclines & fighting with me, myself & I that I didn’t turn to the “Dark Side of the Force”. I will admit that I have more bruises & scrapes again today from falling loads of time on the trail. Note to self on the next backpacking/gap year adventure, Chris remember to pack regular trainers not your tennis shoes. Oh, well, I did survive & did the best that I could. Again, I enjoyed working with my neutral density filter to get those the silky smooth water shots. It was another successful day of hiking & still falling in love with South Africa.
For a few days, I have been getting sad to say goodbye to Thanda. I’ve found myself crying & just getting sad. For the first time in a long time, I actually felt like I have made a difference, made some new friends with my African Impact family & seeing the world much more wide open. Now, it’s time for me to get busy with my photographic submissions & decide what images that conveys the story that I want to share with others. Crunch time for my last week at Thanda with embracing everything & getting loads of stuff done...