Thursday, March 9, 2017

Champagne Valley Walking Club - Cayley Lodge Bushman Rock Art

In this tough new life of ours in the mountains, on Tuesday we, once again, went on a hike. 

We met at a time-share complex called Cayley Lodge. This is just across the valley from us and we drove straight there instead of meeting the others further down at the shopping center. 

Driving along at the bottom of John's property, Grant stopped so that I could take photos. 
The hay bales on the open land 
The big house and our rondawel (round thatched-roofed hut) from the bottom of the hill 
The land with bales on the left and our abode on the right

We drove up to Cayley Lodge and parked our vehicle under the huge trees lining the road. When the other hikers arrived, I showed several friends where we lived - they'd been asking for ages and I could never explain it exactly! 
The view of our place a I showed it to my friends

This week's hike's destination was to view Bushman Paintings - about 4km from Cayley Lodge.
We set off up the concrete road - first leg of our hike that day

On the open veld, Driekie stopped to admire a wildflower. I photographed it. 

I'm not sure what this is. I will place it on the Indigenous flower of South Africa Face Book page to get some identification
Although it was only 7am, the sun was already high and hot! 
A rural settlement in the valley
We walked along the path over hills ...
...and down dales
Bell Park Dam is a big tourist attraction in the Drakensberg. 
Trish and Anne are two of our fittest hikers. I like to pace myself on them!
Soon the rest of the group arrived.  Some stopped on right here for breakfast,  which is directly above the Bushman Paintings
The others opted for a rock across a short boulder hop - it was in the shade!
After coffee and sandwiches, Jenny and I slithered down the round rock above to join several other who were viewing the Bushman Paintings

Bushman paintings normal depict rheebuck, eland and stick-like humans
Often domestic cattle are depicted - I saw this painting above as a bovine animal
An almost headless Eland - shaped antelope with a smaller one above the crevice
Cayley Lodge:About 4 km north of Cayley Lodge above the Ama Swazi settlement is an extensive rock ledge where 2 small streams enter the valley below. On the South side of this ledge is a small overhand with some reasonably well preserved paintings comprising of a few Eland some other antelope, human figures and a very faint therianthrope (half human half animal drawing).

To understand the importance of animals in rock art, we must try to understand what they mean to Bushmen in general. Animals are an intrinsic part of the Bushman belief system, so much so that they were believed to offer divine protection to people and the environment.
/Kaggen, their trickster deity, often appears as a mantis in folklore, displaying the power resident in animal forms. Some animals possess more powers than others. For example, the elephant, baboon and antbear are said to have retained certain human attributes from the First Order of Existence. For some Bushman communities killing either of these animals makes one impure and only through certain rituals can a hunter be released from this fate. The!Kung and Nharo choose to distance themselves from such animals because they believe they have a soul much like humans do.
Most Bushmen believe in two orders of existence. During the First Order of Existence, animals were still people. There were no social rules and obligations. The trickster roamed the chaotic world and could assume any guise he wished, depending on his agenda. His actions, as well as the First Order of Existence, are related in many Bushman folktales.
We clambered up the rock again and set off home.  The path leading away from these paintings was long and up a steep incline.
Two beautiful Zulu ladies stopped and called out a greeting to us
Up and up we went...

Back at the parked cars, Jenny Braithewaite gave me the specs of the hike: the distance was 7.8km; we'd taken 10,898 steps and climbed the equivalent of 12 storeys.  
Afterwards we popped into the coffee shop for a refreshing cold drink

Another tough day in the Champagne Valley.


  1. Hello, Jo! What a beautiful hike. The views are just fabulous. This is my kind of day, a great hike and relaxing after. Beautiful landscapes and photos. Enjoy your day and weekend!

  2. every single photo is wonderful, the people and the views they are hiking through. love the four men side by side with their walkig sticks and the view of your home is spectacular. I have one question, what do you do when hiking like that if you have to go potty.. there are no bushes or trees to hide in. do they have rest areas? if not I could not hike that far without going...

  3. That's a beautiful hike - I love getting into the mountains.

  4. What a beautiful area for a hike!

  5. You certainlt do a lot of waking where you livve now and the surrounding countryside looks lovely. great phoots Jo


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