Monthly Archives: June 2013

Tugela Gorge Trail – Drakensberg

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From Tsitsikamma, we drove back to George for the flight to Durban and the road trip in to the Drakensberg. We stayed at the fabulous Montusi Mountain Lodge, cradled in the arms of the famous and magnificent Amphitheatre. The warm welcome we received from Carolyn and staff made us feel immediately at home. After the days travelling and an excellent meal, it was early to bed for all of us.

The next day we were collected by our Cheolock, our local mountain guide, for the short journeny in to the Royal Natal National Park and the day trek up the Tugela Gorge. This was new territory for me, having only been there once before, many years ago. The path is well defined and there is a gradual upward gradient in to the Gorge. What an inspiring setting – every turn reveals a new opportunity to take a photograph of the magnigicent towering cliffs above and valley below. The mountains are truely awesome and the Tugela Falls, at 948 metres, the second highest waterfall in the world, quite amazing. Although we did not get too close to the falls themselves, just seeing them cascading down the shear drop makes you wonder where all the water can come from. This has definitely inspired me to explore more Drakensberg hiking.

The mainly downhill walk back seemed a lot quicker, than the walk out, but we were probably taking fewer photographs. The warm atmosphere at the lodge, together with the cold beer completed a very satisfying day. Everyone agreed that it would have been nice to spend a bit more time here.

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Tsitsikamma National Park hiking

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Tsitsikamma National Park, a set on Flickr.

A visit to the Tsitsikamma National Park is an essential part any Garden Route tour. It is the start of the iconic Otter Trail and the more luxury, slackpacking style alternative, the Dolphin Trail. With the Wilderness Travel group,we were staying at the Fernery, the final overnight stop on the Dolphin Trail. Starting with an easy walk, we took the opportunity to visit the 1000 year old yellowwood tree in the Tsitsikamma forest, before walking over the suspension bridge at the Storm River mouth. The next day we hiked to the waterfall on the Otter Trail. This is as far as you are allowed to walk if not part of an overnight group on this trail. It is not easy walking, with plenty of rock scrambling, boulder hopping and uneven ground. There are some sections of good path, but it cannot be rushed and takes a bit longer to do the 5 km there and back, than one would necessarilly anticipate. A ggod moring’s hike before we headed up to the Drakensberg the next day.

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Lion verses lionness

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Lion verses lionness, a set on Flickr.

This series was taken on safari with clients at Tanda Tula Private Reserve – Timbavati. For a better sequence taken by Patrick, our safari guide, follow this link the the Tanda Tula blog.

This was mainly a safari tour for Wilderness Travel, but we did a bit of walking through the bushveld with Patrick as well. Wonderful experience to be out there with really knowledgable and passionate guides. More about the walking later.

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