HIKING THE DRAKENSBERG
One of my greatest fears, would be without a doubt, heights. Thus the decision to hike the Drakensberg, which is the highest mountain range in South Africa, the highest peak, I think 3 400m, nothing compared to greats like Kili, or Everest, but after it reached the 50m mark, already too high for me. As they say however, to conquer one’s fears, you have to deal with them head on. So we did.
Not as easy as it sounds. We started cycling from Rustenburg towards the Drakensberg, which took a couple of weeks, as we had a record rainfall at that time. So we had enough time to think about our hike, and I had enough time to build up a stinking fear for what lay ahead. It was all reasonably fine, until we saw this majestic range in the distance. Still fine, until we stood at the foot of Witsieshoek, and looked up. Not so fine anymore. I was petrified. In my minds eye, I saw every conceivable worst case scenario, like dogs chasing birds, and flying off the escarpment themselves. I saw Maria, who isn’t afraid of anything, standing on the edge, and falling…, falling, falling, was all I could imagine.
The organization that went into this hike, was serious, and we only had a week in which to do all this. We are ever thankful and grateful to everybody that assisted us in getting the right equipment, clothing, etc., for had it been up to us, we would’ve been in a serious fix, once we were up there. As usual, we didn’t do much research on this route, and trusted what those who’ve done it advised us on doing.
We originally thought we’d take the route up, at Witsieshoek, chainladder, but once we got close, we were told by the Royal Natal Parksboard that we weren’t allowed to go up anywhere within the Park, because we had Dante and Katryn accompanying us, and no dogs were allowed. We both knew that they’re no threat to wildlife, unless ofcourse it’s a rat, then there’s no stopping them. They do tend to chase after things, but so far, that’s as far as it goes, and nevermind that, isn’t a dog classified as an animal? There were no exceptions to this rule, so we had to head around to the Mnweni area, which didn’t form part of the parksboard.