MHC - Mt Gilboa
KZN Midlands
Day walk
15 March 2015

Report and photos by Dave Sclanders
[CLICK ON PHOTOS TO VIEW FULLSIZE - or view pics in accompanying SIMPLEVIEWER Presentation]

Mt Gilboa is the highest point on the end of a long range of high hills in the Karkloof area. The valley floor forms part of the very rich Karkloof farming area. For many years this high vantage point has been home to many forms of radio relay stations. One can walk up from the bottom , which is a serious hike in itself, or drive a long way round, through private forested areas to get to the top. From there one can enjoy long easy walks over rolling plateaus of wetland areas. The views from the top are magnificent, one could easily say that to the “East you could see the coast, and to the West the Drakensberg”

Nine of us made up the party that would spend a great day hiking in this area. The sun was warm , a cool breeze kept us comfortable, and as already mentioned the views were absolutely superb. There was no rush and an easy, sightseeing pace was set.

Pic – 2-3 – Cliff edge views
Pic – 4 - The remains of a once cherished ablution block for the guardians of the radios.
Pic – 5 – Flower filled wetland valleys.

One of the many interesting features seen over the course of the day was the unusual rock formations of this area. The rocks look as if under some great earthly upheaval in times gone by, they were “pushed up to point at the sky”, then stuck in that position. All over the rocky areas, these “pointers to the sky” were visible. In many cases the rocks had very sharp and precise sides, and on some, one could easily cut oneself badly.

Pics – 6 – 11 – The upstanding rocks
Pic – 8 - Use your imagination !!!
Pic – 9 - A chair – “My country for a chair” in nowhere land !
Pic – 10 - Sharp sided rocks
Pic – 11 – “Shady rock”

As we walked , the path would swing away from the edge of the plateau, then cut back again, and all the time we had a changing view of the vast country below and far away from us. The grasses were starting to morph into their Autumn colours, and the white everlastings were in brilliant white all around us, and amongst the rocks. Here and there a protea showed a flower head or two, and on an old fire break a sort of creeper flower showed it’s very bright dressage of colour.

Pics – 12-17 – Colours of the veld

On the way to our lunch spot, we passed an old abandoned EKZN Wildlife Rangers Outpost. Isolated, and in the middle of nowhere, far from senior management and office problems, it could have been a paradise for some, and a hell for others. The views from the doorways and windows of the buildings were very restfull, peaceful and beautiful. Now, the whole housing area was covered in a thorny bramble bush making it a very “NO GO AREA” . Sadly this bush has delicious black berries when in season, loved by birds, and spread by bird droppings. Action needs to be done to get rid of this invasive plant before it spreads far and wide and ruins the area.

Pics – Pics – 18-20 – The Abandoned Wildlife Rangers Outpost.

Looking from afar, we wondered where this outpost got it’s water from, as the area looked very dry and lacking in any visible stream. Yet just a few meters away from the buildings, we saw this fantastic spring that ran out of the hillside, into a small home made dam where it would have been pumped to the buildings. Beautiful, clan, fresh water all year round. Nature has it’s way of providing for her creatures, where ever she may put them.

Pic – 21 – The start of the spring.

Lunch was taken on the edge of a high hill. A privileged place to sit, rest, eat, and discuss the wonders of the world around. The views were incredible, the flowers beautiful amongst the rocks, and a cool breeze to keep us cool.

Pics - 22-25 – Great lunch spot

After our “rest and chat period”, we split up into single parties, moved away from one another, and enjoyed a great moment of “my time”. That time of quiet, “self time” was greatly enjoyed by all. How many of us can remember when we last had our own “quiet self time????????????” I would say , not enough of us, we are to busy with “everyone else’s noisy time”

Pic – 26 - “Self Time”

On the way back to the cars, we enjoyed the “time to still have a look into the far distance. Then finally, the “little pull” up the last valley to our cars.

Pic - 27 – 28 – Just finishing off a great day in an incredibly beautiful, quite area.

Probably one of the most important points that came out of today’s walk was that we ALL need some quiet time, to give ourselves a chance to re-appreciate ourselves, and what is around us. Give ourselves a chance for – ME TIME – grab these opportunities with both hands, once past, they are gone forever.