The flight over goes without a hitch.  It’s a huge relief for me as the last three out of four times that I’ve done the trip there has been some issue and I’ve ended up having to stay overnight. It’s good to be back in Africa! We spend a couple of days with my aunt and uncle who live on a beautiful little farm on the outskirts of Joberg. It is a little oasis in the busy, dirty sprawl of Joberg.

We then set off for Durban via the Drakensberg. It is rather scary trying to find our way out of Joberg. The city covers a huge area and the only means of transport is via big highways. They are busy, badly signposted, and many of then are recently renamed. Public transport is by “Taxis”, small busses or vans, which are notoriously reckless as well as often being very unroadworthy. We are relieved when we find ourselves outside city limits and heading in the right direction.

After a couple hours drive we start to see glimpses of the mountains on the horizon. The Drakensberg (Dragon mountains) range, or the ‘Berg as it is know locally is a huge range running over 200km down the length of the eastern Lesotho border. In zulu it is called uKahlamba, “The barrier of spears”. The rolling foothills rise up sharply to a vertical wall of jagged rocks. The weather is overcast and as we drive towards it, it looks particularly ominous with the peaks shrouded in a dense layer of cloud. I have never hiked in such a huge range. The area they cover is huge, and the peaks rise up to over 3000m, high enough to cause altitude sickness. The higher areas get snow in winter, but I am told that cold fronts can cause it to snow at any time of the year. Its mid summer now, but there is a cold front coming coming through. I have my fingers crossed.

Eventually we arrive at our first stop, The Royal Natal National Park. The scenery is spectacular, we camp the night. I am really keen to get up amongst the mountains, but as the area is under a cold front, its recommended that we just do a day walk up the Tugela river gorge. Although it is overcast, the views are amazing. We are surrounded by seemingly high hills, but every once in a while there is a break in the clouds revealing the highest peaks and the wall of the Amphitheatre. We look up in awe at them as they absolutely tower over us and the hills we are walking along. Towards the end of the trail we end up in the river bed itself. There is an amazing variety of colours and patterns in the rocks and pebbles that make up the riverbed.

The next day I take a short walk into the hills above the campsite to “Lookout Point”. This is about halfway up into the lower hills (called the Little ‘Berg). The views are amazing, but I am just dying to get up onto the hills!