A blog about what I love….photography and bicycles!

Becoming amphibious in the Drakensberg!!

This New Year we decided to go to Highmoor in the Ukhahlamba Drakensberg with our friends, the Elmer-English’s. Neither of our families had ever been to Highmoor before, so we were all very exited at the prospect of a new place in the ‘berg, and only an hours drive from Howick.  Highmoor is situated just south of Giants Castle. We left on New Years Eve. The Ex2’s loaded up to the gunnels and ourselves in the Colt with a trailer bursting. 
It was a short drive, only an hour, but the last 10kms were breathtaking, driving up into the Highmoor area along steep passes.
 

Photograph up toward Highmoor from half way up the road from Cleopatras.

We arrived at our camp site and noticed immediately that the clouds were gathering. No sooner had we set up camp and started our fire, than the rain started. Craig tried very hard to keep the fire going by standing over it with an umbrella, but it was all in vain, with 100mm falling in about 6 hours during a fairly spectacular thunderstorm. We turned in early and were woken to the sounds of Auld lang syne and partying at midnight as other, braver campers celebtrated the New Year.

We were woken by the sound of a waterfall some 1000m away!! says a lot for the amount of rain that had fallen. In the morning it was gloomy and very windy, but the day did brighten significantly. Craig and I decided to ride to Cleopatra Country House and back.  Getting there was easy but the 450m climb back in 6 kms is quite character building. That night was good with little rain. The next day things were different. I was able to head out early and take some pictures. A few of the early morning ones are below…

View toward Nottingham Road from Highmoor

 

Giants Castle from above Highmoor camp site

and then we went down the road and the girls swam in natural pools in the river.  I was able to photograph a number of plants and insects.  Some of them are below…

Z microsiphon

Allocnemis leucosticta, The Goldtail, a damsel fly found along the rivers in the area.

 

 

Protea drocomontanum, the Drakenberg Sugar Bush

 Soon, however, we noticed the clouds coming in again and had to retreat back up the hill to our camp. It was serious as a massive storm started and we sat in our car for two and a half hours while it banged away (we later heard that six people were killed by lightning in the nearby region!!).  This is what it looked like before it all started.

The quiet before (all hell broke loose)

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2 responses

  1. We camped at Mahai in the Royal Natal National Park for 10 days and had rain for about 7 of it, including the biggest thunderstorm I have ever experienced. The low water bridge outside the camp flooded and it was closed which means that we couldn’t get out the day we were supposed to leave. I’m smiling at your post cause we also experienced it.

    January 19, 2011 at 8:40 am

    • Ha, so you had the rain too. A very wet time was had by all. Three little girls in a tent in the wet Drakenberg can be character building!! After two days I had had my character built enough!!. It was great though and we were high so the roads were all passable. Trust that you have finally fried out.

      Regards

      Simon

      January 19, 2011 at 9:19 am

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