A hillside of aloes

While listening to the radio a couple of weeks ago I learnt that South Africa had been voted the most beautiful country in the world out of 20 which had been nominated. What a privilege for us to live here.

Yes, we do have many problems but tell me a country which does not have problems and I would guess that there are less than 2 inhabitants there.

But this vote was for SA’s  physical beauty and not with regard to people. Then again, even in that area, we should score very well as we have such a diversity of cultures and creeds.  With the classifications of persons under apartheid we had Whites, Blacks, Indians and, believe it or not, seven (5) categories of ‘Coloured’, including ‘Other Coloured”!  Real diversity. Real beauty. Believe it or not another African Country, our neighbour Namibia, was voted best in the world! I have always believed that we have a beautiful country and I really enjoy seeing different parts of it.

A hillside of aloesA field of aloes in Kwazulu-Natal

As I said in my original article, when we were children in the 1950s & 1960s, my parents and grandparents loved to take us out to discover what our province of Natal (now KwaZulu-Natal) had to offer.  I believe that it was these exploratory drives that, today, if I see a new road in our area, I have to discover why it is there.  As I grew older I realised how important it is to travel your own country so that you can appreciate what you have and  be able to sell it to others.

I think one of the most exciting, but also scary, trips we went on was through the Tugela River Valley to visit Isandlwana, the sight of a major battle in 1879. My Grandfather had had cataracts removed from both of his eyes but, in those days, there were no replacement lenses. Instead he had extremely thick glasses, referred to as coca cola bottom glasses, so his vision was not perfect. This in no way slowed him down or stopped him from driving. He had a farm to run! The drive through the Tugela Valley involved going downhill for 7 miles (11kms) and then up the other side for an equivalent distance. This was not a straight road but very steep and very winding with steep drops on one side or the other at any one time. Grandpa was only interested in showing us what was on either side of the road, ‘down there  you can see …’, while we were more interested in watching that we did not go off the road and ‘down there’.

Looking up to the start of the TugelaThe start of the Tugela River

Since 2000 my husband and I have had points with a holiday club and this has helped us to travel to different places both in South Africa and beyond her borders.  We are not the sort of folk who like to go to the same place each year. We prefer to take the opportunity to travel to different places and see different things. I am a collector of postcards and fridge magnets and daily they remind me of all the places we have visited – Drakensberg, South Coast beach resorts, Eastern Cape, Kimberley, Langebaan, Lake St Lucia and so many more beautiful places in South Africa and around the world. One of the many things we have learnt is that, when travelling to see and enjoy natural beauty and phenomena, one has to accept that nothing is guaranteed. This includes such things as seeing the Big Five in a game reserve to seeing the Northern Lights in Norway. They are all part of nature and one sees them when they are there and they cannot be forced to appear.

2 buffalo2 Buffalo

Sterkfontein DamA dam in the Drakensberg

The tidal poolA tidal pool on the KZN South Coast

This is just an introduction to sharing some of our wonderful times spent exploring South Africa and the sightings we have enjoyed and those we missed.

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