Thursday 28th June dawned a beautiful day, one that reminded me of spring. What a relief – I had been thinking it would be very cold down in the gorge below the Howick Falls for the regular walk on the last Thursday of every month.
A group of seven met at Bush Golf not far from the Howick Falls parking, and we proceeded to descend the winding path into the gorge. The voluminous quantities of balloon vine that smother the forest have been cleared along the path by Michael, son of Jenny who manages Bush Golf. What an impossible task he has, and it was with gratitude that we did not have to duck under all the growth – the clearing has created tunnels in places, but it makes it so much easier to walk.
On the look out for the resident dassies, I noted that their almost house sized boulders were in very heavy shade, with a lot of vegetation on the boulders, and wondered how these sun loving creatures cope down here in the winter with all the shade. The forest floor is a green carpet of wandering jew, dug out in many places the night before by bush pig. Their excavations where everywhere, nice to know they are still around, as are bushbuck whose fresh tracks we saw – and we heard the warning bark of a bushbuck later as we were climbing back up to the top.
The falls were looking beautiful, and so perfect – a beautiful rainbow in the spray was a wonderful gift from the River Goddess. Everyone voted to just sit and enjoy the surroundings for a while, and so we did – some chatting, some finding a sunny spot by the waters edge to absorb the peace and tranquility. As we were leaving, two women standing atop the falls waved gaily to us – gave me the shivers, they were standing so close to the edge! What a wonderful routine for me to be able to share this special place with people who otherwise would not get down there – and once a month to boot!
The next two walks on the 19 July & 23 August will be taken by Penelope (Penz) Malinga, one of the team members from the source to sea uMngeni River Walk. Penz is very familiar with the area. I (Penny Rees) will be away in the Northern Province assisting with Brown Hyaena research. See you in September – and take care.
uMngeni River Walk blog: http://umngeniriverwalk.wordpress.com/ or facebook : Mayday for Rivers