uKhahlamba World Heritage Site
27 - 28 April 2013
Report & Photos courtesy of Dave Sclanders (www.bergfree.co.za)
Highmoor Nature Reserve is very central to us, it has a good camping site, and offers a range of walks if one is prepared to go off the path, and hit the valleys and low areas – the problem is, what goes down - must climb back up again. We duly arrived thinking that the campsite would be empty, but it was not, all campsites were booked - luckily I had booked in advance.
We set up camp by putting the tents up, just in case we came back late, grabbed our day packs and set off. The weather was great, the Drakensberg range was clear and crisp, and a sneaky little cool wind kept the temperature down. Crossing the flats was uneventful except for a large group of Blesbuck that ran hither and thither – making the eland group a bit uncomfortable , so they kept moving away from us. The flats were crossed, and the valley dropped away from in front of us. Highmoor looks deceptively flat, but it is cut about by very deep and steep sided river valleys that can make climbing up them in the afternoon a very “unhappy mission” The question is – why go down in the first place – well the rivers are down there, and there are a lot of Sandstone caves to explore, also the climb back does not look that bad from the top looking down.
We went down, did our exploring, and came across a most extraordinary rock carving on the other side of the valley. Amazing indeed, this looks like it must have been carved out of the rock – surely no natural phenomena could have produced this (see pic 29) - and one must wonder – for what purpose? Due to time constraints the one cave we were hoping to explore became a cave too far – so we had to leave it and return home. The home trip was not good to some of us - ??++!!!****
A hot shower, a few drinks, a good braai for supper – for some – (others went to bed early hoping to be stronger in the morning) and a good night’s sleep on a comfortable mattress was well appreciated.
The next day was another exploration day, down into valleys, looking here and there – and again finding something, but not quite what we were looking for. The scenery of valleys, rivers, waterfalls and mountains was again spectacular. An early lunch and we were away home, to stop at a local lunch place to enjoy of all things “a Coke Float”
Another great week end, with special people in our great beautiful back yard.
The Kamberg valley is a beautiful farming valley, and at this time of year the Autumn colours of the trees are beautiful, and the red lands being prepared for winter feed are a stark contrast.
Pics 3 – 4 Autumn Colours
Pic 5 Flowers at Highmoor garden – last of the bright ones.
Pics 6 – 7 Campsite
The day was clear, cool, and crisp. The Giants Castle massive, just over the hill, steep valleys, blue waters – what a way to spend the day.
Across the grasslands, and up the hill, the Drakensberg Blesbuck and Eland look in good condition for the coming winter
Reminders of a lost civilization of extremely cultured people who were the first inhabitants of this area and possibly of the world - lost due to “Civilization advances”
Where there are valleys there must be water, and all around Highmoor there are many streams and waterfalls of various sizes causing the numerous valleys in the area.
Pics 26 , 27 , 28 A beautiful waterfall with lots of water at the moment.
Exploration hiking in the Drakensberg is hard and taxing work , the pay back is that you never know what you might find , and then to try to picture - in that situation – why it should be there. Climbing up a step valley we paused to rest amongst a jumble of rocks on a rock band, and as we look down, there at out feet was this incredible cutting in the rock surface.
One has to wonder – what, when and why was it created, and by whome ?
Surely not a natural phenomenon ???
( If anyone has any ideas about this – please let me know !.
Surely the best part of it all is being able to be, and spend time in this cradle of Nature. We have so much of it , it is so precious , it is so life uplifting –
WHY DON’T WE MAKE TIME TO ENRICH OUR SOULS WITH SOMETHING MEANINGFUL ????
To my hiking companions, thanks guys.