Friday, April 21, 2017

Champagne Valley Walking Club - Drakensville Painted Caves

Apologies for not being on Blogger this whole week. I'm back now and hope to be posting and visiting regularly again.

Last week we had the most interesting hike since we've joined the CWC. At a pre-arranged meeting point, eight of us hikers hopped into two cars and motored to our destination about 50km from home. We were off to see the Painted Caves starting at Drakensville Holiday Resort .

I, as a South African, have seen many Bushman paintings in my life. I find them fascinating but won't go out of my way to view any more. However,  these paintings were in a cave which was at the top of a grueling hike and also not open to the public. On this hike we also had a Park Ranger guide who would tell us all about the paintings. 
 The palm trees in the resort have ferns growing up the stems
 Waiting to start the hike 
 And we're off 
The steady incline - challenging to most of us
A flat part of the hike which lulls you into a false sense of security! 
The views as we gained elevation
The hike takes place on private property so the cows shared their space with us as we passed
Kwa-Zulu Natal at its autumnal best! 
Walking up and up the track to the top

The first four and half kilometers was on a wide path and although not too difficult, kept on going up and up. I found the uphill pull quite challenging and with a few other hikers, stopped several times to catch my breath.  
The steep and rocky descent to the cave
Fellow hiker, Trish negotiating the tricky bits on the downward path

Lynette caught the other two ladies in the group clambering down the steep rocky path
The cave overhang on the left with a crevice into the bush below on the right

Then the last 200 meters as the guide had warned us, was a steep path descending onto a wide ledge with a crevice on our left and the cave overhang on our right. 

Lynette, the other hiker who takes photos, asked me and Trish to stand right there...
...which is what we did! 
Because we're always behind the camera, I normally take a photo of Lynette with her Smartphone and then she takes one of me with my Canon camera (note the steep crevice on my right!) 
While waiting for Johan, the guide to start his lecture, I took photos of the view below
Johan about to start explaining the Bushman Paintings to us
I swung around again and photographed the waterfall cascading over the cliff above
Johan, who's been in this camp for 17 years, proved to be a dedicated conservationist and most knowledgeable about his subject

Please click here for an interesting and in-depth explanation of Bushman art and culture. Do read up about it to better understand the captions under my photos. 
Hunters with arrows following the shaman (holy man) 
The shaman has various accouterments of his trade attached to his person: feathers, bones, pieces of horns, animal hides etc

The San people dancing
A group of men fishing

A shallow cave which boggles the mind as to how people lived in there
Another dwelling cave/cave dwelling 
An overview of the group by Lynette 
The view below framed by the rocky overhang
Moi, Grant and Trish 

Then the talk was over and it was time climb out and have tea above the caves.
I turned around and managed to photograph Grant climbing up the steep, narrow path to the top
Grant relaxing before we enjoy our coffee and sandwiches 
Ant holding court
The way down
Our group of hikers last Tuesday

Another great day was had by all! 



  1. Hello, what a great hike. The hike has beautiful scenery and views. The Painted Caves are interesting I enjoyed see the Bushman art. It is always nice to see you and Grant and all your friends. Great post and photos. Happy Friday, enjoy your weekend!

  2. spectacular views, and a place to remember. sadly I could not do a climb like that. I might be able to a little of the slight slope but none of the climbing and I would never stand on that crevice even if you held a gun to me.. I was frightened you would fall off just looking at the photos. good job for all of you the climb and the heights and surviving it. they have similar paintings here out in the west but I have never seen them.

  3. Extraordinary! What views...and the art, some world history we all got to experience thanks to you. (I don't think I can clinb)

  4. What a wonderful hike, great photos and lots of info. Thanks for leading the way on this hike, I thoroughly enjoyed it.
    Have a great weekend!

  5. Wow ! what a beautiful landscape and interesting paintings ! But what a walk ! so difficult it's amazing that nobody fell !

  6. Spectacular shots, Jo. Thank you.

  7. Quite the challenge but great rock art.


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