African shoestrings – South Africa Day Twenty-one
What Giant’s castle is really known for is its 5000 Bushmen Rock Paintings and the twelve species of Antelope and from our experience it’s a lot easier to see the former than the latter. With one of the park rangers we went to Main cave, one of the two sites open for viewing. He pointed out and interpreted a lot of the paintings that date from early man through to as recent as one hundred years ago, just before the bushman left this area forever.
From Main Cave we followed the River walk alongside the quaintly named two Dassie Stream. Dassies are small animals that resemble giant hamsters and are about the size of a large domestic cat and seem to be everywhere in Southern Africa. Somebody with a fertile imagination spread a story about their closest relative being an Elephant!
Back to the pub at White Mountain lodge. We got talking to Peter, a young white teacher there with a school group. He actually was one of the few that wasn’t thinking of leaving South Africa despite the fact that educational standards for all students were slipping fast due to a chronic lack of funds. Peter had relations in Australia and had been to Perth so he knew the alternatives. I wondered as we talked whether he would change his mind if/or when he has kids.
South Africa is a land of undeniable natural beauty, it has the mountains, beaches, gorges and desert, it also has an abundance of wildlife, plus of course a fascinating cocktail of cultures. But one of its greatest attractions is its colourful history.
In an area centered around the quiet farming town of Dundee in the province of Kwazulu-Natal, lies the Battlefield Route. This self guided tour takes in attractions historical events and obviously battles in this pretty part of the country. It was here that incredibly four wars were fought in the middle to the end of nineteenth century. More on that next week