Saturday, August 28, 2010

Drakensburg revisited

Although Johannesburg is a vast, sprawling city - sixty kilometres across - with lots of green spaces, the restrictions on walking make it feel claustrophobic. (Whether these limitations are really necessary or just paranoid wimpishness is another matter - lots of people do go walking in public parks etc but the sense of background risk is always there - muggings certainly do happen, and recently there's been a spate of mountain bike hijacking - so you're not necessarily safe even on a fast bike...) A lot of Joburg residents must share this claustrophobia, because on any weekend, and particularly a long weekend, there's a vast exodus for those who have vehicles and can afford it - which brings another level of risk to all involved, as SA has some of the worst traffic fatality statistics in the world, mostly due to extraordinarly dangerous driving (I've learned to keep a careful eye on any car I overtake as casual drifting across lanes is not uncommon.) But once you get off the major motorways you're very soon in rural SA which is another reality entirely - few cars, few buildings, small sleepy-looking towns, the occasional cluster of "informal housing", baboons at the side of the road (or crossing the road, another hazard), a bush fire now and then - and then, (going south east) at the edge of the flat and rather dull highveld, the spectacular scenery of the Drakensburg mountains.

I've been to Cathedral Peak before - the longer I stay in SA the more I'll revisit places, inevitably, though I'll try not to repeat myself too much in this blog. Here are some more photos. The contrast with city life could hardly be more extreme.

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