Saturday, May 28, 2011

pmb, country of Lesotho and birds

Hello again friends and persons who randomly clicked on this blog! Welcome back.

After our tour we headed to a town called Pietermartizburg. Wonderful Andre looked after us at a neat lilttle backpackers. He had a beautiful garden and a little old house. We did the pmb highlights: museum, Botanical gardens (caryn is going to post some pics of just this), mall. We chatted with Andre about how cool pmb USED to be, and vowed never to go back to the mall again! Our commitment to buying local was renewed after his passionate talk.
Picture captions by Caryn:  This was a wall of antique mirrors in the cafe of the art Gallery we went to.  tots doing this in my next place- except a smaller version of course!

The statue of Gandhi that is in PMB is a monument marking where he was thrown out of the first class train in PMB.  The full story is interesting and can be found here.

Here Alison is at the natural museum.  Being eaten by a Hippo.

Took a local minibus from pmb to Underburg. A really nice shuttle man got us up to Sani Lodge, and he refused to be paid. Sani Lodge isn't really in a town, it's sort of between town and Lesotho. Lesotho is its own country, very mountainous. We did a hiking tour that went over Sani Pass into this beautiful country. The road up Sani Pass is so insane, that 1. If you don't have a 4X4, you are stopped at the border and not allowed to enter. 2. The turns in the road are named, like rapids on a river. There's Devil's Elbow, Backwards Corner (aka Oh My God Corner on the way back down), Grey's Corner (or Grace corner), Ice Corner (YES! there was ice!), and others.
This was a picture on the wall in our room at the Sani Pass, which shows you some of the crazy turns up the mountain.  Seriously, they were this sharp.

Internet in South Africa has been a bit more scarce and a bit worse than in India we have found.  This was the internet at Sani pass- which was in this HUGE cold dark room, and the screen was pink.  

Some of the Drakensburg scenery.

It was so cold at night in Drakensburg Ali resorted to wearing her handkerchief on her nose to keep it warm.

The Drakensburg Mountains are stunning. The hike was a highlight for me for our whole trip. With our guide, we hiked up one of the Hodgon's Peaks. On this little jutting-up peak, you had a 360 degree view. Down into the valleys below, across into Lesotho to see more mountains covered in snow, ever direction you looked was magnificent. There were so few buildings, hardly any trees even - so great mountains for a prairie lover! The Drakensburg range is unique - it's plate rose all together, didn't slide or shift (we're talking geologically) so anyway it makes for something I'd never seen before. I loved the place.

Some of the landscape before we got up into the mountain-y bit.

Drakensburg mountains.

View from the top of the peak.

This is a landscape picture that shows the mountain that we climbed!  It is the little boxy one on the far most left.   The box part is the peak that we climbed.

We ate lunch up on the peak, half of us in Lesotho and half in South Africa. Our tour ended with a drink at the highest pub in Africa and we braved the Sani Pass back to the lodge.

From there we hitched a ride with our new German friends to Port St. John's. We didn't really like this town. But, we had a cool experience: our hostel took a group of us up to "the old airstrip," to watch the sunset. The view was of endless mountains and the river meeting the surf, but what I loved were the birds. Hundred(s) of ravens were playing in the drafts created by the cliffs we were on. The could catch drafts and glide UP without flapping. Sometimes they'd fold their wings and drop or flip, looking like dragons. I was in awe.
The view from where we watched the sun set.

 Love you all and miss you more!!!


  1. Now you really look like you are in a foreign country. Not Canada at all. It is so beautiful. Awesome. Wonderful. Love, Pat

  2. Very, very beautiful. I am in your home, Alison! And thus missing you. Kath misses you terribly. And is jealous that I get to see you so soon.

    So, see you soon!

    Looking forward to blogging avec vous.


  3. Wow, impressive...will this blog eventually be available in book form?