Africa

Kingdom in the Sky – Day 1

— 04 Oct 2011 —

We woke to a sumptuous breakfast, one that would give us the strength to steer the horses in the right direction and one that would give us the energy to last till lunch time (apparently that was whenever *S fills like eating – God help me).

We got our PPE, helped load the horses on the trailer (5 in total!!) and we were off to the Bushmans Neck (Boesmansnek) border. And we were going to get a stamp in the passport, yay! The ride on the way over wasn’t yay worthy though. Bumpy and windy as hell. The view made up for it though  (heavenly sight of snow-capped mountains).

Once we had all gotten our stamps and *S had finished talking to the immigration official, we were off. Trotting along in a straight line, following the well-marked route laid out by several others, the horses not behaving themselves and *L’s horse having severe bowels movements which my horse, Collar, and I were subjected to (we were riding behind *L). All that didn’t matter when we saw the surroundings. Nothing in our way, except for mountain after mountain for as far as our eyes could see. And we were riding in the middle of it all. It was overwhelming to see the magnitude of the land and how untouched this part of the world is.

Finally *S suggested we eat something to keep us going. Good idea *S (although my stomach had already started eating itself)! We were perched on one of the high points on the mountain and the view was like no other I’ve seen in my life (Mind you, I thought I was going to fall off Collar and off the face of the cliff as we were climbing up. The angle at which I was sitting would’ve been something like 70-75 degrees to the horizontal. Freaky shit!). If someone had told me that one day I’d be sitting on top of a mountain in Lesotho enjoying the breath-taking views with a cup of milk rooibos tea, I would’ve said “What the hell is rooibos tea?”. Look closely at how the mountains are formed, do you think they look like individual christmas trees all moulded together?

We rode on, silently in awe of the breath-taking scenery around us. It was everywhere. 360 degrees of it. You couldn’t get away from it. You could only lose yourself in it all. I, for one, was deep in thought about how much grass *L’s horse had eaten during the lunch break because his bowels were OUT OF CONTROL. I tried to overtake *L on numerous occasions, so I didn’t have to see that shit (no pun intended), but to no avail. Collar just loved being last in the pack. Maybe because he was the youngest of the pack and it was his first tour in a long time?

Quick stop at a watering hole for the horses gave us time to admire the rock structures around and above us. Each of them looked like they were expertly carved out and placed in their spot, but it was not the case. At this point, I’m still having fun although I was fully aware my inner thighs were going numb.

We finally arrived at our lodge, 6-7 hours later, and it was a giant relief for both humans and horses. Horses were extremely happy.

The interesting thing about this place is its ability to kill you slowly without you realising it. Let me explain. The water heater is gas heated, but it’s one of those old school ones where you light inside, therefore the gas is dispensed inside the bathroom. Now if you were to close the door while you bathe (and why wouldn’t you when you are travelling with strangers?), you would inhale the (colourless) gas and fall gently into a deep sleep. Forever. So we were warned to leave the window slightly open so anyone outside would only slightly see you nude. Secondly the lights also run on the gas line. So if a globe was to blow and you didn’t know it or if you went to bed and didn’t lift the switch, the gas would leak into the lodge. Thus making the lodge a highly flammable housing.

But we weren’t worried at all about it because we were aching too much and just wanted a hot bath to sooth all our pain away. And after that, *S prepared a hearty camping meal (with a dop of OB Sherry) for us and we called it a night quicker than we could say “Good night” to each other.

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