21 Oct
Days adrift.  Click here to see our best and worst experiences so far.
Number of flights.  Click here to go to the itinerary page.
Bus, train and taxi rides.  Click here to see all posts relating to transport. (56 posts)
Miles walked.  Click here to see all posts relating to walking and trekking. (43 posts)
Countries visited.  Click here to see what we think of them. (14 posts)
Number of species spotted.  Click here to go to our wildlife page.
Photos taken.  Click here to go to the photo gallery. (94 posts)
Rainy days.  Click here to find posts relating to the weather. (50 posts)
Number of times scammed.  Click here to read all about it!  (2 posts)
Otters spotted.  Click here to go to our website about otters: amblonyx.com
...two travellers in search of the world's wildlife

1 September 2010

Dragon’s teeth

Bloody roadworks. They’re doing a lot of work on the roads in South Africa right now, which is great (though personally I find the potholes fun and challenging at 80mph) but they’ve got an annoying habit of working on 5km of road at a time, which means the traffic lights for the roadworks are typically 15-20 minutes of waiting. So today’s journey which should have been 6 hours for 550km ended up 7.5 hours and we arrived at Grasskop by the Blyde River Canyon just in time to grab a place to stay before dark.

So that’s the first day of our travels with nothing but transit, and also the first day when we haven’t seen a new species of mammal or bird. Five weeks with one or more new animals every day is pretty good going. Looking around Grasskop, it feels like we might be back on the tourist trail again.

Glancing at our galleries you could be forgiven for thinking that South Africa is an untouched wilderness, populated by nothing but animals. This isn’t actually true. We’ve driven through villages and townships, past colourfully dressed ladies carrying massive water buckets on their heads and little kids driving cattle down the road with sticks (whether dutifully or just for fun isn’t clear). We’re just not the types to pull over at the roadside and cry “say cheese!” to the locals. It’s a gap in our photo collection, for sure, as the human landscape is every bit as interesting as the wild one. I’m not sure if there’s a principle at work in our reticence, or whether we are just shy and unwilling to take the risk that someone will take offence and the cheerful smiling faces will turn into suspicious scowls.

Champagne CastleBack finally to the title of the post. The dragon’s teeth refer to the Drakensbergs, a fairly awesome range of mountains we have been hiking in for a couple of days. Like all mountain ranges, these have a character all to themselves. The main string of peaks looks simply like a massive wall of impassable rock, guarding the tiny mountain kingdom of Lesotho against allcomers. Of the two areas we tried – Monk’s Cowl and Cathedral Peak – the latter is more impressive for its mountain scenery and the isolation of the Cathedral Peak Hotel at the head of the valley. For our budget, it was an expensive night, but as part of a holiday it really wouldn’t break the bank and it’s in a truly epic location.

Berg adderOh yeah, and I got ankle-butted by a puffadder who was probably hoping to sink his fangs into me, so that’s one up on Maureen for snake stories!

2 Responses to “Dragon’s teeth”

  1. Nessa says:

    Where are you??? Missing your blogs! x

    • shortclaws says:

      We’ve been in the Kruger, where there isn’t any internet (heathens!). So expect some blog posts soon. But not tonight – we’ve spent the whole day on the road, so it’s early to bed! Hope you’re both well and doing fun stuff. : )

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