#4 The beautiful mountains of Drakensberg in South Africa

#4 The beautiful mountains of Drakensberg in South Africa

From the 1st to 6th of Decembre”

We leave the ocean and head north to the mountains. The Drakensberg is the highest mountain chain of the country with many peaks above 3000m. It is also a natural border with Lesotho, a landlocked country in South Africa.

The road is not easy, we have more than 400km to go, first on the track and then on mountain roads in the fog.
We are getting closer but it starts to be dark. We find a bivouac just off the main road, on a small track about 10km from the town. The next day we wake up and discover a green plain at the foot of the mountains. We took advantage of the nature reserve next door to go jogging in the company of birds, a small herd of Impalas and a zebra. This zebra was waiting for us near the showers on the way back.

Then, we set off again on board of Uyo to take it to the top of the Sani pass, a mythical pass at 2 hours from here. We are quickly approached by 2 motorcyclists who spotted our European number plate. They are a German couple Joshua and Joana (@Wetzlosweltwaers) and their faces look familiar, indeed we had already seen them in a video of travellers in Kenya. They have been away for more than a year from their village in central Germany. We exchange our contacts and maybe we can meet again later.

We finally arrived at the bottom of the Sani Pass which is also the border to South Africa in the early afternoon.
A scenic winding road leads to the Lesotho border at almost 3000m. We quickly realise that this pass is a no man’s land, probably one of the most beautiful in the world. We have the opportunity to drive it to enjoy the view and turn around before the official entry of Lesotho on the plateau. Yes, that’s right, enjoy the view and turn back. A decision motivated by the Covid tests to be done repeatedly at the entrances and exits for a visit of only a few days.

The road is reserved for 4x4s but the weather conditions are good. We take a series of hairpin bends on a rocky 8km road. Despite the concentration to avoid holes, sharp rocks and crevasses, we enjoy the grandiose landscape offered to us. The mountain range is made up of large green rectangular boulders.

The Drakensberg is vast, we already have a lot to do on the South African side, starting with the Kamberg Reserve. We discover it through a hike that leads to the rock paintings of the indigenous people, who once inhabited the area. We climb the waterfall path to reach the foot of the cliff 10 metres below the summit. The cliff forms a natural shelter, protecting us from bad weather. On one side the walls are covered with natural ochre, yellow and white paint. On the other side, the valley can be seen as far as the eye can see. One’s imagination quickly takes over and one sees oneself living here thousands of years ago, watching for danger or animals to hunt, before drawing them.

We continue on our way to the Giant Castle Reserve, not far from Joshua and Joana’s drop-off point. After another wonderful hike, this time a little higher up, we got to know Joshua and Joana better in a café.

After talking about us to their hosts, they offered us a place in their campsite for a night, or two, or three. The weather will encourage us to stay a few more nights. This was an opportunity to spend time with Joshua and Joana, whom we got to know better, to attend a concert by the valley’s boys’ choir, and to sort out our photos/videos.

All in all, we spent 5 nights in the Drakensberg. We explored some beautiful peaks, and swam under a waterfall on a hot day. During this season, the beginning of summer, the green mountains are full of rivers and waterfalls. The highest peaks, over 3000m, are rocky and host snow in winter.

We leave on a Monday after having stocked up on locally made products: chocolates, cheeses and bread. Our goal is to drive as far as possible towards the Kruger National Park. We want to start our safari the next morning. We will sleep in a small municipal camp site, with our feet in the water, in the company of fishermen. Only 2h30 separate us from the entrance of the park.

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