Saturday, January 16, 2016

YOLO in Clarens and Drakensberg Dec 2015

We drove out to the Golden Gate Highlands Park, another scenic highlight that no locals had ever heard of.  It was awesome!  These mountain zebras were grazing below us when we stopped for a view and looked over a cliff edge.

Some of the rock formations that started showing up as we drove west.  We were entering the area known for the Drakensberg Range and its mountain formations and scenic beauty.
A nice green scene after the drought we'd seen farther north.

Wide Load signs don't exist here.  In South Africa they are marked "Abnormal".  These huge truck tires certainly qualify.
A rocky peak juts up out of nowhere.
Another dome of rock uplifted by earth movements long, long ago.
A closer look at that outcrop of rock above.
Water in a drought stricken landscape caught our eye.
The remains of a tiny stone house.  The roof is gone, but the walls still stand.
We stopped in front of these cliffs to look for fossils or rocks that interested me.  Police drove up to us and warned us out of the area as it is used as an "initiation site" by tribes and they said we could be attacked and killed.  They asked that we explore inside the perimeter of the park where it would be secure.  Just as we were to leave, a group of 4-5 young men appeared out of nowhere.  The policeman said "Turn around and look.  I told you so." We moved on and they stayed to confront the men.  I kept a wary eye out when wandering in open areas where we thought we were alone from then on.
Great rocks for exploring!
I could roam places like this for a long time.  If I didn't have to worry about being attacked, that is.
We think these are aardvark holes.  They call them ant bears here.  These could be old termite or ant hills that have eroded in rains, but there were fields of them and they were all alike.
More zebra out roaming around in the fields.
They were browsing the grass on a far hillside.
Jason at the cliff's edge, overlooking a pretty valley where we saw the zebras.
Looking down over the edge into the valley.  The cliffs in the background look riddled with cave possibilities.
Jason at the cliff edge looking another direction.  The flat tops of the mountains here is the hard cap that has kept it from eroding.  The softer rock underneath erodes away and leaves caves, overhangs and cool formations.
Karen in front of a rocky scenic backdrop in Golden Gate Highlands Park in central South Africa.
Some of the roads here look like they could be used in car commercials.  I'm sitting on the edge of the cliff.  A long ways down.
These rock formations are popular and common in this area.
Reminds me of the Old West scenery from old western movies.
More rock faces studded with caves.
These mushroom rocks were some of my favorites.
Where there isn't much soil on the rocks, the land seems to slip away often, leaving patches of rock with no growth on them.
Cool overhangs where the softer rock is gone,but the top cap remains.
We found a tiny lake or marsh with reeds growing in it.  And that is a huge oak tree towering over Jason.  We didn't realize they had oak trees in South Africa.  Lots of acorns here but we didn't see any squirrels.
A lovely spot to stop for a few moments.  We enjoyed the view and saw some ducks making this water spot their home.
Another view of the pretty roadside lake just outside of Clarens.
Jason scoping out the beauty with binoculars.
Our room is the one at the top of the stairs.  This is the back side of By The Way Guesthouse, our choice for accommodation this night.  We thought it was fabulous and the owner was so very friendly.  That's our little red rental car that has carried us thousands of kilometers on our trip so far.
An art gallery roof in the town square of Clarens.  This is known as an artists colony or enclave and they have lots of art galleries in this tiny town.  It was a very quaint place.  I'd love to go back and spend some time in this area.  Dinosaur fossils have been found nearby, so looking around in the gorgeous mountain scenery might turn up an ancient discovery, too.
I loved the old car, but the sign in the background talks about the Cherry Festival and it reminded me of Traverse City back in Michigan.
An ibis walking around the park lawn, poking for insects.
Donkeys and horses share a pasture along the road in Clarens.
Our breakfast at By The Way Guesthouse.  Homemade chocloate croissants and chocolate mince tarts, with fresh blueberries, strawberries, grapes and apricots.  Muesli and yogurt with fresh squeezed orange juice, too. And Amy Marx, the owner and baker of goodies included some locally roasted coffee for us to enjoy, too.  Heaven in a basket.
Do More of What Makes You Happy.  A good motto to live by.  Almost like YOLO!  This is our breakfast on the balcony of our B&B.
A view from our door on the back.  Weeping willows always look graceful to me.
Looking the other way from our doorway.  What a view.
Jason enjoying the comforts of a newly remodeled queen suite in the guesthouse.  We had all the comforts of home and then some.  This was one of my favorite places we stayed in our journey.  Too bad it was only for one night as the local brewpub gives samples of its nine brews and we never made it there.

We left Clarens and headed for Lesotho.  This knob of rock just appeared in our view.
The local mothers often carry their babies like papooses on their backs, wrapped in a shawl or scarf.
We were still enjoying the rugged scenery of the Drakensberg formation.
The layers of rock hold many secrets out here.  We surely enjoyed the beauty of the country out here and can see why the entire Drakensberg area is a draw for locals and foreign visitors alike.  This is a very old country and the wear of Mother Nature over time takes on artistic shapes like this.  Wonderful.

No comments: