Conquering Africa: a Winter expedition

This week Ann-Christine of the esteemed Lens Artist quartet leads us in savouring winter. In South Africa with its temperate climate snow is out of the ordinary, but every winter you will at least find it clinging to some mountain tops.  In her post she described how her dog Totti loves the snow. Ann-Christine, true to my promise I found some snow for him.

Two weeks ago when the clouds lifted after a tremendous storm,  I saw in the far-off yonder that Victoria Peak, the highest peak in the Stellenbosch area but 1,  is covered in snow. I made emergency arrangements to take leave the next day (of course it was an emergency Victoria Peak was covered in snow)!! My daughter volunteered to join me on this epic journey of extreme proportions worthy of the most experienced mountaineer and adventurer. Now those of you with fine observation skills may have noticed the exaggerated tone of this paragraph, let alone the title of this post. I blame yet another member of the highly regarded Lens Artist quartet member namely Patti as her post contains the following quotation:

The color of springtime is in the flowers; the color of winter is in the imagination                     
Terri Guillemets

No not the colour – the imagination. Walking among these mountains it is second nature for me to become a child again – no not a child, an explorer, pioneer, adventurer, expedition leader, knight, super hero, giant and while I am at it let me stretch it even further:  accomplished blogger…

This day was destined to be remembered, thus the multiplicity of photos inviting you to hike along.

Normal start of the hike, clad in beanies and gloves at this point

This hike is 21 km in length climbing from 350 metres above sea level to 1595 metres. At the gate we were told that we are not allowed to drive in. The gate was closed due to the storm the previous Friday and they were told it may only be opened the next day. We were allowed to hike in but not drive in… This meant an extra 10 km to an already long hike. Eventually we decided to go for it. The first 5 km to the normal start was  on a flat gravel road which we hiked in an hour. With the exuberance and wisdom of a student my daughter calculated that it will take just over 6 hours with say an extra hour for rest and photos… I calmly remarked to her that we will not hike 5km in the next hour (steep path upwards).

Soon after starting the ascend we saw the first Proteas with First waterfall to our right and the mountains to be crossed to our left.

And soon after that Irisna found the first ice, which she promptly gobbled up. Fee-fi-fo-fum, I smell the blood of a frozen thumb

 With the frozen snow crunching under my boots, it was easy to imagine that we were hiking in Antarctica.

As the focus was to get to Victoria Peak, there was no time to take photos of every second rock and plant – I had to limit myself to every fourth rock and plant… Here an ice clad burned out Protea proves that there is beauty after death.

While our side of the valley was still clad in cold shadows, the sun had risen high enough for Second Waterfall to shimmer in the sun. Click here for an English post about a hike I did with friends to this waterfall.

When we arrived at Bergrivier Neck we were greeted by the magnificent snow enhanced Gothic forms of Cathedral Peak…

Right behind us was the majestic Jonkershoek valley…

And to the right of Cathedral Peak Bergrivier valley itself. And what make this even more amazing, is the knowledge that this neck is only accessible by foot. Now there are those who claim that this neck with its different views are one of the most beautiful  in the world. Who am I to argue with “those”?

The white line in the middle of the photo is the snow covered path

Leaving Cathedral peak behind, still following the snow/ice covered path

⇓Irisna still gobbling up the ice. After a steep climb we are almost on the same height as Cathedral Peak – soon our destination should be visible.

And there it was – the magnificent snow covered Victoria Peak.

Bring on the skis JohnRH

Being a world famous archaeologist I hereby announce that I found the rock table the Ten Commandments were written on…

Woe is me the ice is cracking!!

In the end we decided not to attempt the hike up the peak – too dangerous the ice was cracking! No we would not have made it back before dark, which would indeed be dangerous. This is at the foothills with lots of snow for Totti to play in behind us.

On our way back Jonkershoek valley greeted us enthusiastically

Second Waterfall and Irisna was now clad in shadows

This photo is a likely candidate for the cover of my memoirs…

The light was fading, but not the memories. I will cherish this special day with my daughter. While I did not summit the peak, this experience with my daughter is one on the summits of my life.

We managed to hike 28 of the 31 km.  Thanks for hiking it with us.

81 thoughts on “Conquering Africa: a Winter expedition

  1. So many wonderful parts to your post Abrie I don’t know where to begin. I was astounded that such weather exists in SA and I agree that based on its rarity it was imperative for you to take the hike despite the closed road. Your daughter is beautiful and I’m glad she was with you in case you’d fallen on the ice so she’d have been there to help – er I mean to take your photo and THEN help :-). Your memoir cover is perfection! What a wonderful memory with which to start your memoir – a day in the very rare ice and snow with your lovely daughter. It doesn’t get much better than that.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You summed it up well Tina – it doesn’t get much better than , I first tried to get my friends to go with but that had genuine excuses ranging from they can’t arrange for leave with one day’s notice to simply being too unfit at the moment. In the end it worked out well with my daughter coming with.
      Regarding the memoir cover – I now have to choose between my Sean Connery lookalike photo and my epic adventurer lookalike photo 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  2. What a beautiful hike Abrie and so lovely you could share this with Irisna. The cover of your forthcoming memoir looks fabulous! 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Baie dankie Net Ek. Ek het op my selfoon gesien dat jy kommentaar gelewer het maar toe ek die aand wou antwoord was dit weg. Vir een of ander rede het dit nou onder pending gele en ek moes dit eers approve. Hester se kommentaar het weer onder spam gele


    1. Hello Hester ek het my gister “verbeel” jy het kommentaar gelewer maar gisteraand was die kommentaar weg. Ek het vandag jou en 4 ander kommentare uit die spam boks gaan haal!! Ja dit is baie mooi.

      Ek gaan vanaand nie ‘n oog toemaak nie. Is vandag gevra on video te maak van my wat iewers stap as deel van ons werk se “Culture” inisiatief wat o.a. insluit wat werknemers in hul vrye tyd doen. Jammer ek het nie daarvan geweet voor hierdie stap nie.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Wat ek inderdaad more gaan doen. Vroeer het ek dit ‘n bietjie grandiose laat klink – hulle soek eintlik net ‘n 30 sekonde clip, waar ek op een punt contended (ek vertaal sommer dit as behaaglik) na die son moet opkyk en glimlag

          Liked by 1 person

            1. Inderdaad die weer was behaaglik. My tegniese toerusting vir video nie noodwendig nie… maar steeds lekker dag. Ek moes vinnig maak om by my kar te kom terwyl dit nog lig is. ‘n Heelwat jonger maar effe groter knaap maak pad vir my met met die opmerking (en body language van iemand wat moeg is) I don’t have pace anymore. Om hom beter te laat voel sê vir hom die rede hoekom ek so vinnig beweeg is omdat en nie meer brieke anymore het nie

              Liked by 1 person

  3. Hiking with such an experienced and versatile adventurer was a treat, Abrie! Thank you! Your daughter is the best company and Totti would have loved to tag along – or run in front of course…scouting.
    Such wonderful views – the Jonkershoek valley is gorgeous indeed. My suggestion for your memoirs is, that you use your Bond for the beauty, your adventurer for the bravery and yourself for…the greatest charm.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m super envious of your hiking spots – WOW is all I can say. We have nothing like that where I live. I say you picked excellent photos for the prompt. And your future memoir cover is superb – your daughter has talent too ;-). PS – she looks a lot like you (the extra adorable parts, that is ;-)).

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you very much Geri. Looks like you and Mark are enjoying Branson.
      Last Wednesday I managed to summit Victoria peak and the snow was quite thicker. I sunk in so deep into the snow at times that my footprints would certainly have been declared to be those of Bigfoot!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. beautiful journey! looks like a lot fun!!! great choice for the memoir cover, i absolutely love it! thank you for sharing💞

    Follow @everythingtips for tips and recommendations if interested! It would mean a lot to me!🥺🤍

    Liked by 1 person

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