Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Camping in the Mountains

These cute Jack Russell puppies are at the base where our son and daughter-in-law have just completed a discipleship course

My husband and I had our birthdays back-to-back(Friday and Monday) in the middle of February, so we spent the weekend with our older son, John, daughter-in-law, Debbie and grandchildren in Kwa Zulu Natal. We slept over on Friday night at the base where John and Debbie have been on a discipleship course. Next morning we relaxed on the farm while John completed various tasks. I walked around, camera in hand, snapping the children at play as well as the cutest puppies I’ve ever seen. I also took a close-up picture of one of the horses in a paddock beyond the garden. Now this last bit of information may not seem important to most people, but for me it was groundbreaking stuff. You see, as much as I love animals, I am petrified of horses. I even managed to hold out a few M&M’s on the palm of my hand to tempt the horse nearer. I’ve never been able to do this; my fingers always inadvertently curled as the horse’s lips came near!

A horse at the farm chewing M&M's while I take his photo

The horse poses sedately for me

One of the many beautiful scenes on the trip into the mountains

The huge square edifice is called Cathkin Peak. This majestic mountain (3149 m/1968 ft) is guarded on each side by precipitous cliffs which defied all attempts to climb her until 1912 when George Amphlett and party reached the summit via the South Gully. I took this photo from our campsite

By mid-morning on our family was on the way to the mountains. We all love the Drakensberg. This huge range of mountains was thus named by early pioneers because it's shaped like a dragon’s back. There are many places to visit in the Drakensberg, but we as a family love to camp in the Central ‘berg. This specific weekend we drove to a favourite campsite in the Monk’s Cowl area.

In the days before they had children, John, Debbie, my husband and I regularly hiked high up into these mountains to spend the night “at the top”. Nowadays a visit to the ‘berg simply means camping overnight in the valley and doing day hikes along the contour paths. Not half as strenuous or challenging, but very precious because we having the little ones with us adds a totally new dimension to the walks. My son carries his 2 ½ year- old son in a framed backpack while our [almost] 6 year-old granddaughter, bursting with energy, runs on ahead of us. On this trip, we waded through icy mountain streams and tried to see who could spot the robins in the undergrowth and the boulder chats and various grass birds in the open areas.

At night, we enjoyed a spot of stargazing while eating a light meal of pork sausages and bread grilled on the fire. This was washed down with delicious camp tea.
The next morning we broke camp and drove to a neighbouring resort where we attended an open-air church. This service is held every week in a thatched building in the middle of a dam with mountains soaring up above it.
The family and others off to church in the middle of the dam

Afterwards we enjoyed a final cup of tea with our precious family, said goodbye and came home. What a blessed and wonderful way to relax , spend time with loved ones and enjoy the outdoors.


  1. It looks like you had a wonderful time, Jo. I love the Church out on the water ! I know you are scared of horses & how brave you are to have overcome your fear so that you could get a photo. (It's amazing what blogging does to us, 'eh ?!) Looking at your lovely photo's makes me nostalgic to visit the 'berg again. I haven't been for years & I really love it there - well, I am always drawn to mountains ! (P.S. Also loved the puppy pics - soooo cute !)

  2. What a wonderful place to go with your family! Tabita would love running through that greenness, not to speak about what Sheba would do if she got to hunt by that creek! Did Angie at home, or does she go with you these days?

  3. Lynda, I was so thrilled when I saw a photo of this building (which also doubles as a church and reception for weddings on Saturdays)in a travel book we bought recently. I don't have that exact photo on the blog, the one I have (that is exactly like the one in the book) has canoeists on the water and people on pony rides on the far bank. LOL at your comment about doing ANYTHING to have material for blogging - yes I even fed a horse M&M's AND patted it although that is hubby's hand in the photo on my post. The 'berg gets under your skin - I actually prefer going to the mountains than being at the sea. Those pups were TOO adorable. Fortunately we already had adopted Eddy else who knows... Hugs Jo xxx

  4. Yes Esther, there were actually quite a few parents and little ones along this path. Ooh, imagine Angie gambolling along here. And loving the water. Only thing is, domestic pets are not allowed in the mountains. Angie only goes for short trips with us to town or to the vet for her innoculations. Otherwise we leave her at home to guard the house and kitties! Hugs Jo


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