Driving along the scenic routes to any destination is what makes the beginning of a trip special, especially if the destination is a new and intriguing one, with an air of mystique.
En route to the central Southern African plateau, in South Africa, where you will find the great peaks of the Drakensberg mountains is where the escarpment reaches magnificent heights of between two thousand and three thousand, four hundred and eighty-two meters. This is where my imagination has taken me today.
In all these years, here on earth, I have never once been to the Drakensberg in person, but have enjoyed the epic stories told to me by my parents, about their many journeys to this beautiful destination, right through my childhood.
The favourite stop over in my opinion would have to be Giants Castle, situated in the Ukhahlamba Drakensberg Park World Heritage Site. Here you will admire the vast, deep and rocky sights gazing over the intense valleys below – breathtakingly beautiful!
Awaking in the early hours of the morning to embark on a brisk walk in the fresh, crispy, clean air before enjoying a scrumptious, homely, yet perfectly prepared continental breakfast. Literally being able to taste the sizzling marinated bacon on my lips, while the aroma blends with the mountainous air, breezing its way through the dining area. I look around, perceiving the fellow guests as happy, relaxed and overwhelmed by the combination of their surroundings, lovely company and great food.
Giants Castle is a very well-known and beloved game reserve due to its popular Eland antelopes and of course, the extremely rare Bearded Vultures. I often visualize myself walking along the grassy paths to the Vulture Restaurant where I am able to watch the exciting act of these birds being fed, while the rangers depict the stories, the history and the character of these fabulous birds.
My parents told me about the history of the San people and how this land was their home. How envious I feel towards the life of this picturesque view, streaming of fantastic mountains and lushes’ green valleys. Oh, how exhilarating to even nowadays to be able to go for hikes and picnics among this terrain. I would definitely visit the Main Caves Museum for a curious look into the past lives of the San people.
My absolute favourite experience will have to be the moment that I would come to indulge in the extremely impressive San rock art that has stood the time and can still, to this day, be seen in this very special place, and then to end the adventure with evening barbeques at sunset while enjoying a sundowner and allowing my imagination to take me through time while listening to untold stories about Giants Castle, long into the night…
Imagine it! Breathtaking views, stillness and peacefulness in temperament and charm and all the while, the scenery blending it all together, uniquely befitting to its characterization… The Drakensberg! Oh, wouldn’t you just love to experience it, if even for just one mere day or imaginative thought!