Thursday, June 8, 2017

CWC Van Damm's Cascades and Blue Grotto

On Tuesday the Champagne Valley Walking Club met at the Drakensberg Sun hotel parking lot. Piling onto the back of Alan Leggit's Toyota pick-up, he drove us up the hill to Bergview. Here we got off and started to walk all the way across the base of Stylberg. 

 An awesome sight: a herd of zebra and their young with the mountains as backdrop
 The first short steep climb 
 Overlooking the valley below
 Trish and moi  

Continuing, we take the contour path where we pass Elephant Rock. 
 Friend Anthony stepping it up along the path  
We break the fast just before Van Damm's Cascades

 Focusing across the top of the direction rock,
 you can see Elephant Rock in the distance 
Elephant Rock bears an uncanny likeness to a real pachyderm - even to the texture of its skin

After breakfast we turned right and headed down the grassy slopes. Most of the time we were bushwacking looking for the path.
 Using one or two walking sticks 
helps negotiate the overgrown indistinct paths 
 You had to watch where you were going and many times we slithered down steep places on our butts 
 The dried nettles were unpleasant to negotiate although we didn't have to deal with a lot of this type of vegetation 
 Ann, Neil and Lynette point downwards to the path 
 Looking back I saw Ant valiantly coming down the slope
 One of the hills was covered with colored grasses 

 I try to stop and smell the roses wildflowers as well. Leonotis leonurus are in full bloom in the mountains at the moment
 Neil, Craig and the rest of the group stop to admire the view 

Then it was a steep and grassy decent to the Blue Grotto.

 The drop to the right of us was sheer 

I stopped to take the above photo and my stick slithered down the slope. Ergh. I started sliding down the bank but the others shouted that I should leave it. Then Craig kindly clambered down carefully, felt around in the grass where I had indicated seeing it slip, and brought up my stick. Thanks Craig! 
Craig manfully retrieves my stick and hands it back to me! 

Soon after this we sank to a lower level and came across this beautiful jewel in the mountains. 

 The Blue Grotto. an idyllic scene in the mountains 

We sat and enjoyed the beauty of the waterfall and grotto and then set off on a 2km walk towards the hotel. 

The forest walk is absolutely beautiful. The huge trees are moss covered and monkey ropes, toadstools and ferns create a fairy tale scene. 
 Trish points to this peculiar tree with two trunks. It turned out to be one of the many Lemonwoods in the forest
 Lynette set me in the strange bole of this Lemonwood 

Around the next corner, Trish motioned for us to be quiet. There in the dappled sunlight, was a buck (deer) It seemed to be quite tame and Lynette and I took several photos of it before we moved off leaving an unfazed buck still watching us. 

Because I wear a peak when I hike, I often don't see low hanging branches and have been known to hit my head on these. Passing a very large tree which was hanging over the path, Neil called back to me: "Jo, mind your head. " I managed to avoid banging my head but when Lynette asked me to pose but peering under the tree, yes,  you guessed it, I hit my head!  
Posing for Lynette's photo I managed to hit my head on the huge overhanging tree trunk 
Crossing a bridge in the hotel's gardens, I stopped to do a model's pose for Lynette (Jenny and Ant behind me)

On the last 10 meters before the hotel, Lynette wanted to photograph us coming up the path with the mountains in the background. When we saw her lie down on her back to get the perfect shot, Ant, Jenny and I decided to show how exhausted we were, LOL ! 
Ant, Jenny and I showing the effects of the hike 

After all this tomfoolery, Lynette suggested we enjoy a refreshing drink at the hotel. The other hikers had already left, so we felt sad for them that they'd missed out on the fun! 
Some of us know how to end a hike in style: Jo, Ant, Lynette and Jenny clink glasses on a wonderful day's walk

While we sat and replenished our fluids, Jenny gave me the hiking stats: we covered a distance of 11,4 km; did 16,651 steps and climbed the equivalent of ten storeys. 

Another wonderful hike in our beautiful Drakensberg mountains. 


  1. All I can say is...Just Wow!!!
    Beautiful country Jo!

  2. Wow.
    Love the zebras and the deer - and am in awe at your stamina.

  3. Ft hat was a hard hike. You look so fit. Well done. The scenery is breathtaking.

  4. Hello Jo, cute photos of you and your friends. The hike looks awesome, I love the waterfall, zebras and the beautiful views. The flowers are pretty too. Happy Friday, enjoy your day and weekend!

  5. What a fabulous landscape for a hike, and how wonderful to be with a group of friends together. I have enjoyed watching your photos Jo.

  6. todays post is the best one yet. I loved every moment of the hike, he views are just spectacular, the mountains and paths are amazing and I love those last few pics of you all posing and you in the lemon tree... thanks for showing me an Africa that has never been in my mind. loved every moment of this post

  7. A fabulous walk in a beautiful place. Diane

  8. Well done Jo. You and your friends are an impressive group of hikers. Beautiful scenery and challenging terrain, thanks for sharing the hike with us.
    Have a wonderful weekend!

  9. Always enjoy seeing all the beautiful scenery and the intrepid hikers. Enjoy your weekend!

  10. You were all very brave to do such a long hike and it doesn't look very easy. The landscapes are wonderful and that's the first time I see Zebras on your blog ! I only know them from a zoo !


Thank you for visiting my blog and taking the time to leave a comment. I appreciate your feedback. Jo