Archive for the ‘South Africa’ Category

The combination of soccer (my childhood sport of choice and the only sport besides cricket that my dad likes) + South Africa = Awesome. So in anticipation of the World Cup festivities, I plan on blogging for the next few weeks about this lovely country and its people.

About nine years ago, I studied abroad in Pietermaritzburg, Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa. I’ll talk more about Pietermaritzburg one day, but for now I want to start off with one of my all time favorite places to visit in South Africa, the Drakensberg Mountains. The Drakensberg Mountains are dramatic and majestic mountains that are about four hours away from Johannesburg. It has been recognized as a World Heritage site and reportedly is the place that inspired J.R. Tolkien’s the Lord of the Rings.

Nowadays I’m sure you can find a pricey tour guide to lead you up there and another operator to put you on some fancy cable swing, but when I went out there with my fellow study abroad friends, we drove up to the mountains with a local student who led us on an amazing hike through the mountains. We ended up camping outside under a ledge high up in the mountains and waking up to the sounds of monkeys playing in the morning. The next morning we hiked down and stopped along the way to stare at the Bushmen carvings in the rocks.

To this day I have never forgotten what the sky looked like when the stars emerged and the Milky Way shone. (cheesy but true). I had never seen the Milky Way before traveling to South Africa and I actually thought it was a myth, but apparently the Southern Hemisphere is the one of the best places to view the Milky Way. Combine that with the lack of pollution or light pollution = spectacular star gazing.

So in planning your trip to South Africa, hit up the natural spots like Cape Town and Kruger, but be sure to also include a day of hiking at the Drakensberg Mountains.

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