Thursday, January 3, 2013

Beautiful South African Scenes

While on holiday in South Africa last month, we traveled from our home in the Free State to the Kwa-Zulu Natal Drakensberg to spend a night with John, Debbie and children. Driving back home after a wonderful reunion with the family (which I posted about in December), I managed to snap a few photos from the car. Below is a typical African scene of washing on the wire fence, with the magnificent mountains as a backdrop.
An idyllic and typical African scene ...
...of bright washing...
...draped over the wire fence surrounding a small Africa settlement

A few kilometers ahead I managed to capture the Sentinel Peak one of the highest free-standing peaks of the range (3166m or 10386ft).  It was also the first major peak to be climbed via a rock climbing route. This was in 1910 by W. Wybergh and Lt. N.M. McLeod.  
The Sentinel Peak, 3166m

John and Debbie have hiked the Drakensberg mountains since they were very young; John had his first taste of the 'Berg when he was 13 and Debbie can recall hiking from six years old! Their own children have also grown up in the Drakensberg and to date, the youngest "hiker" (carried on his dad or mum's back) is little Israel from the age of three months! His older siblings, Eryn (9 3//4), Joshua (6 1/2), Bethany (3 3/4) and Elijah (2 1/2) are all intrepid little hikers in their own right already!
Another typical and serene African scene with the Sentinel Peak towering over the huts

As we left the Drakensberg behind us and traveled up the pass towards the Free State border, we came across a troop of baboons that have inhabited these parts since forever. Normally these primates sit casually on the side of the road eating bits from take-away containers that motorists toss from their vehicles. (yes, this happens in SA; littering is not a punishable offense, more's the pity!) However, the road across these hills has been left to fall into great disrepair and very little traffic passes this way these days. This is a good thing when you consider that when the baboons heard our vehicle approaching, they turned tail and literally took off showing only their pink heels. I managed to get a fuzzy photo but we were thrilled that these animals are not being being spoiled by humans any longer!
The once tame baboons now run away from the sound of humans and their vehicles

At the top of the mountain pass, is Sterkfontein Dam which supplies Gauteng with water.  Apart from its practical  purpose, I just LOVE this massive body of water for the photo opportunities it provides. Not that we've ever often stopped for long enough for me to photograph it at length, but I have taken quite a number of photos from the back of the motorbike. This time I thought I would take my chances from a moving vehicle. Was I pleasantly surprised when I downloaded the photos...
Not only is this a massive expanse of water; on a calm day like it was that day, the water is a deep blue too


Driving home through the Golden Gate Highlands National Park    which I've posted about many times before, we stopped at the SANParks camp and cafe to buy a bottle of water. The name is derived from the sun which reflects off the sandstone cliffs, especially the imposing Brandwag (Sentinel - not to be confused with the Sentinel Peak I posted about above) which stands guard to the area. 
 The majestic Brandwag/Sentinel stands guard at  the Golden Gate Highlands National Park

A kilometer ahead is another specifically shaped mountain/rock formation: Gladstone's Nose. If you click here, you can read my post about how this rock got its name. 

 Gladstone's Nose 

Once again, I've endeavored to show readers a little more of my beautiful country: this time, Kwa Zulu Natal Drakensberg and Golden Gate Highlands National Park.   

I hope you're all having a wonderful week.



 

7 comments:

Gaelyn said...

Thanks for the preview of Golden Gate, one of many places I plan to visit. Seems your SA home isn't too far west of there.

eileeninmd said...

Jo, thanks for sharing your African scenes. Very pretty country! Love the baboons running up the road. Have a great day!

Donna said...

Oh wow! Gorgeous photos Jo!!
hughugs

Joyful said...

Fantastic scenery, Jo. I'm sure there is so much to see throughout your beautiful country. Hugs. xx

diane b said...

Thank you for your virtual tour of the Drakensberg and GGHNPark. It sure is a beautiful country. Your grand children are close together. Mum and Dad must be special people to be taking them all hiking.

Pat said...

You do have a beautiful country. The rural scenes are definitely peaceful and tranquil-looking. My favorite shots are the two of the lake formed by the Sterkfontein Dam...so gorgeous! Happy New Year, Jo!

Margaret said...

Thanks for the nice tour.
It brings back wonderful memories of my visit in the area.