Hiking up a dragon's back
Sitting on a rock and feeling like a conqueror, whilst bellowing out Miley Cyrus’s song "There's always gonna be another mountain, I'm always gonna wanna make it move….. it's the climb" over the valley below. The realization of reaching the top absolutely blew my mind away. I DID IT! I made it to the peaks and the view was worth it!
The Drakensberg Mountains proved to be difficult in parts, yet a breathtakingly beautiful hike that will go down in my book as the most special hike ever.
All my life I was drawn to the mountains and started doing short trails with my dad at the age of 9. But my main passion is travel and friends of mine had casually suggested a trip to South Africa and climbing the Drakensberg Mountains. This excited me and before I knew it, a small group of us had tickets booked and an amazing itinerary in hand.
We arrived in Cape Town and the sight of Table Mountain immediately grabbed my interest - I couldn't wait to tackle that walk!
Arriving at our hotel, we settled for a quick meal and headed out, doing our city walkabout. Cape Town city is vibrant and really colorful. Being centrally based, walking around in the city was easy. We laughingly called this the "dragon's tail" of our journey because it was a short and interesting city hike. From then onwards we labeled each hike we did according to a dragon's body... hence the name of our amazing hiking trip, "Hiking up a dragon's back".
Our second day was spent exploring the Winelands and boy was that a treat! We walked the vineyards and tried lots of delicious Cape wines. The best day ever was filled with fine wines, great food, and spectacular scenery. We headed back to Cape Town and just enjoyed the amazing sunset.
After checking out, we headed along Route 62, meandering to Oudtshoorn for the night. This was a beautiful drive with jaw-dropping vistas. We had lunch at the famous Ronnies Sex Shop (Google it) hahahahahaha! Oudtshoorn was great fun as we visited the Cango Caves and an ostrich farm.
We arrived in Port Elizabeth (Gqeberha) and headed directly to our campsite to set up for the challenging Otto Trail. Stopping at the local grocery store, we stocked up with supplies before heading to the Otto Trail Camp. The Otter Trail is South Africa's oldest and most iconic hiking route. It is named after the shy Cape Clawless Otter which inhabits the many estuaries and streams in the area. The trail runs along the spectacular coastline between Storms River Mouth and Natures Valley, taking place over 5 days and 4 nights. The trail includes breathtaking views, white sand beaches, dramatic cliffs, and an endless coastline. This for us was like hiking up the dragon's back - full of challenges but with great rewards.
On returning to Port Elizabeth Airport, we headed to Durban for the final stretch of our journey. On arrival in the spice city of South Africa, we made our way directly to the Drakensberg, where we stayed for 2 nights. This was the most exciting hike of the trip and ending here was the best idea ever. We wanted to end our stay in a leisurely environment, taking in some spoils. Our last hike was breathtaking and reflective. The bushman paintings were a great highlight of our stay.
Of course, a trip to Africa won't be the same without a safari. We went to a nearby game reserve for a fantastic 2 night BIG 5 safari experience.
This trip was the best hiking & touring experience that we could ever have asked for. South Africa left an imprint on our hearts!