(another warning; prepare yourself for a billion photos).
So on our final day of the trip we could relax and take it easy… ERRR.. NOT. We got up early in the morning and set off on a 7 hour hike through a valley and across mountains in the Malolotja reserve. A good day, I set off with way too little water an suncream. Luckily our hosts from All out Africa were already a step ahead of us and had with them a massive 5 litre bottle of water to dish out to people when they ran out. It was a blasing hot day with stunning, mountanous scenery (apparently the start of the Drakensburg mountain range). Fifteen minutes into the walk we spotted an Eland further down in the valley which was apparently quite a rare sighting. The eland is one of the largest antilope in the world and an important grazer for maintaining the grassland habitat.
As we continued down the valley and closer to the stream running through it the vegetation changed to a much denser shrub environment. The guide stopped us and told us about a particular plant which the locals use to create houses and brooms from. Bellow us you could se some locals harvesting the vegetation. Not the ugliest job on the world to say it midley, what a view!
We continued on our walk and was met with more stunning scenery. Steph and I ended up a little behind, as we couldn’t resist a photo every five seconds. We started walking down a hillside and at the bottom we stopped for lunch in the shade next to a stream that dropped into a steep waterfall. We were all pretty delighted to get our pale faces out of the sun, but I was struck with the worry that we had so far travelled downwards (and quite a distance at that) and that we must at some point start climbing upwards. Horror.
Photos by Stephany Skipp
Yes, to my horror we started climbing what was basically the steepest hillside I had ever met. 1000 times worse than Stoltzen, and even there I wasn’t happy. Heaving for air I eventually made it to the top and my friends enjoyed taking photos of me whilst I was lying in the grass not caring at all about ticks and bugs at this point. We took a lovely group photo and continued homewards.
Photo by Rebecca Easter.
Photo by Sam Cousins.
About an hour left to go I enjoyed getting closer and closer to that shower, as well as the after sun. We watched as a herd of blesbok ran across one of the hills when they spotted us. A very spectacular sight.
Photo by Rebecca Easter.
Photos by Sam Cousins.
Back at the cabins we enjoyed a drink while watching the sunset. I drank a new African cocktail called Amarulla, very like baileys but with more of a chocolaty after taste. I also devoured a bag of crisps, a swazi fave called simba’s chips with chutney flavour.