To me mountains represent majesty and mystery, strength and tranquility. I can happily spend hours just looking at them and wondering about their origin, their history and their stories. I have had the privilege of going on a couple of mountain hikes and there are no words to describe the utter peace I experience when walking through the valleys and up the slopes. There is nothing to compare with a hot cup of tea with sweetened condensed milk prepared high on a mountain slope after a couple of hours of hard walking or the tranquility of a mountain pool amongst the rocks after a hot climb.
I well remember once lagging behind my fellow hikers to sit quietly in one spot and just listen to the sounds of the mountain and to have a quiet conversation with God. This was in the Magoebaskloof Mountains near the Dibengeni Waterfall. As I sat in that huge, natural cathedral speaking to God, with the sun filtering through the leaves of age-old trees, high above me and the sound of water drops dripping into the undergrowth, the presence of God became so real that without me realising, tears started running down my cheeks. This was one of the times in my life that I knew, for sure, without a doubt, that God exists and watches over me every second of every day. His presence was so real.
Shortly before a very painful incident had occurred in my life, where someone very close to me betrayed and rejected me in the worst possible way and I just could not find the strenght within myself to deal with the situation. I was becoming very bitter towards the person; to the extent that I just could not forgive him for what he did to me. However, when I stood up, and hurried to catch up with the other hikers, I knew that something deep inside my being has changed and that the pain was subsiding and the bitterness was gone. I could move on with my life.
Following are a couple of photos of some of the mountains in my country. I hope you will enjoy their majesty and mystery with me in just a small way.
I'll start off with Hanglip in the Limpopo as this is a peak in the Waterberg, the mountain range nearest to where I live now. In fact, Hanglip is only about 40 kilometres away and on my way home from work everyday, I see it towering over the surrounding hills. The famous South African author, poet and naturalist, Eugene Marais, lived in a valley near Hanglip and most of his observations of Baboon behaviour were done on the slopes of this peak.
This of course, is our most famous montain and the view that met the early seafarers when they sailed into Table Bay. In the centre is Table Mountain on a clear day, without its cloth of clouds. To the left is Devil's Peak and to the right is Lion's Head, with the beautiful city of Cape Town huddled beneath. In 1971, while on a school tour to the Cape, one of our teachers, Mr Basson, took a couple of us to climb Lion's Head... and experience never to be forgotten.
This is a photo of the Twelve Apostles, in the Cape Peninsula. I specifically included this one to give you the idea of what I mean with the mystery of the mountains.
This is the Ndedema Valley in the Drakensberg. uKhahlamba in isiZule (translates to barrier of spears) is the most descriptive name for this mountain range, the highest in Southern Africa, rising to 3,482 meters, or 11,420 feet above sea level. This range tuns for about 1,00 kilometres from the Eastern Cape in the South West to Mphumulanga in the North East.
All the birds have flown up and gone;
A lonely cloud floats leisurely by.
PS: My gratitude goes to the photographers of these photos. I have no idea who they are, but I wish I could have been with them when they took these photos.