uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park

This weekend, we took a short trip up to the uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park, which encompasses the mountain range right next to Lesotho (to be fair, the same mountain range makes up the geography of Lesotho as well). The name of the park reflects both the isiZulu and Afrikaans names for the mountains (“uKhahlamba” means “barrier of spears” and “Drakensberg” means “dragon mountain”) in yet another attempt to reconcile South Africa’s different heritages.

The park itself is a World Heritage site, and upon arrival it’s easy to see why. Beautiful vistas greet you from every direction and on a clear day (such as we’ve been blessed with) you can see for miles. We took a short hike up to the Sphinx (a rock that looks something like it’s Egyptian namesake) and ate lunch before heading back to Inkosana Lodge, near Monk’s Cowl State Forest. We didn’t get to see any of the San rock art…guess we should have hiked farther. We did find a beautiful water fall though. It wasn’t particularly tall, but the water was cold and sparkling clear. Crystal Falls indeed.

This morning, Olly woke me up to go running at around 6:30. I ended up doing a couple of sprints up the hill before deciding to sit tight and watch the sunrise. Managed to get a lot of lovely photos. 🙂

More importantly though, I got to see the kinds of places where most of “my” patients are from. Although a few are from Ladysmith, most are from rural areas and have to get up before the sun to catch one of the minibus taxis which start running at four in the morning.

The towns they live in are composed of a mix of traditional mud-and-thatch Zulu houses, corrugated tin shacks, and cement brick buildings. Cattle

and goats more or less run free and each house as at least a few chickens. I think my favorite sight is the clotheslines festooned with multi-colored garments. And of course, the packs of ragamuffin kids playing soccer.

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