by Sarah Sawers

Mountain Biking - Blog Entry 2

Spine of the Dragon - Blog Entry 2

Spine of the Dragon - Blog Entry 2
Spine of the Dragon - Blog Entry 2
The land of the Baobab and hornbills, the Limpopo province is mostly unfamiliar territory for us all; and coming from the coast it’s been quite a shock to the system. The words I would use to describe the Limpopo are hot, dry and rural! Riding (or rather driving for me) from Chuenespoort to Burgersfort on day 7, I was thinking about how hellish it really is here on a hot day! Apparently the Inuit have 30 different words for snow, well I reckon the locals here must have 30 different words for hot and dry. There’s rocky, sandy and thorn bush dry, and then there’s cooking hot, scorching hot or just plain effing hot. I honestly don’t know how people survive here? There’s a serious shortage of water and what appears to be a serious lack of industry too! If it weren’t for the platinum mines and the commercial farms in some parts it would be completely desolate! But in spite of the intense climate, it’s very picturesque in its own way. Following the Spine of the Dragon route, the mountains have been consistently on the radar, adding some dramatic views to what would otherwise be rather barren. The Bewaarkloof is one place I’d highly recommend to hikers. It’s not quite suited to riding as the guys discovered midway through, but it’s certainly a beautiful and breathtaking landscape! And then there are the occasional pockets of small town quaintness and charm, like Haenertsburg with its surrounding pine plantations and surprising English-speaking inhabitants. Indeed the saviour of this area is the people. We’ve encountered such a variety of folk along the way: young and old, black and white, from all walks of life, going about their lives as we pass on through. All these people are equally inquisitive as to who we are and what we’re doing here. The kids especially have been such a delight. Despite the language barrier in most cases, there’s an innocence and openness that I’ve discovered we lose, not only as adults but also as city dwellers. There have been numerous occasions on this trip that I have been given insight into the lives of people I wouldn’t ordinarily encounter. Staying at the Burgersfort Caravan Park for example, we met several white Afrikaans mining families living under conditions most city slickers would find hard to imagine. And yet these people, with their simple existence, were gracious and friendly. They also have more a sense of community than we do living behind our big walls and electric fences, communicating on our smartphones. The trappings of modern society are far more apparent when you step away from them. The irony however of me sitting here in these rural surroundings, blogging and Facebooking as we go along is not lost on me! 

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Issue 60


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