Sunday, October 8, 2017

Giant's Castle - South Africa

On October 7th, shortly after my return to South Africa, Scott and I decided to head to the Drakensberg Mountains to see the 5,000 year old cave paintings created by the San people. We spent the night in Pietermaritzburg to have as much time the next day as possible. We arrived at Kamberg before 11 am and to our disappointment no tours were being given because the pouring rain that had surprised us on the drive in made the hike too dangerous. Luckily it was recommended to us to drive to Giant's castle instead, and we were told the tour would happen rain or shine there. The Kamberg cave paintings are supposed to be the best in the area so we were very disappointed. We didn't know anything about Giant's Castle.

This ended up being one of those times when it was absolutely lucky that the rain forced us elsewhere. Giant's Castle blew our minds. What a strikingly beautiful place. The landscape was overpowering, the colours would have inspired Vincent van Gogh and the hike to the cave paintings was beautiful and rewarding!

First glimpses of the landscape ahead during the striking drive in. 

A crow with a rubber fetish.... 

a crab.... in the mountains... 

Hiking felt so good, especially in such a beautiful paradise!

Found lovely flowers along the way.

Artist Brush.

Before we got to the 5,000 year old cave paintings, we came past some less sophisticated modern day cave art. 

Welcome to the Main Caves.

The cave paintings were a humbling experience. 

The guide explained in detail what these paintings meant and how the three colours were made. Red was animal blood, white bird excrement and yellow egg yolk. When you look closely at this one you see people introducing a new baby to their community. The figures were much more life-like and anatomically correct than I had expected. The two part-animal part-human figures are depictions of the Shaman's drug induced journeys.

Protea plants 

Dried Protea flowers

That.. in the background... is a fierce thunderstorm that we just barely escaped from. The people that were 2 minutes behind us got soaked to the bone.

Happy to report that the crow with the rubber fetish did not get to our windshield wipers, Scott's sweater adequately protected them. Which was a good thing as it rained fiercely when we left Giant's Castle. My heart yearns to return to this place and spend the night or two. 

It wouldn't be a trip through South Africa without cows and goats on the road. Cows often have their own shepards here. People trying to keep them from wondering onto the highway.. this is sometimes more effective than other times. 

No comments: