During our last leave cycle, Lance and I went to Sabie, a town with one of the largest man-made forests in the world, situated on the banks of the Sabie River and nestled between the impressive Drakensberg Mountains. This area has the most amazing landscape and many waterfalls.
After coming back that morning from visiting a friend (see here), Lance and I packed up our stuff and headed off. We were staying at a place called Merry Pebbles Resort, and as the name suggests, it was very cute! It’s mainly a camping ground with several chalets, a heated pool, grocery store, restaurant, and several other facilities. We checked into our room, which had everything we needed: a bathroom, kitchenette, tv and internet. The weather wasn’t so flash, so we spend the first day in our pajamas, watching movies in bed! That night we went to the restaurant that was part of Merry Pebbles and ate ribs with a strawberry milkshake! I’m not quite sure which theme they had in mind when decorating the place, but try to picture a dark, dark room, with antelope heads on the wall, a disco ball in the corner, a picture of a race car on the wall and sinister music playing in the background.
The 30 degree heated pool was amazing!!!
Over the next couple of days I planned all the things we wanted to see, including the Panorama Route, which is a scenic route along the Blyde River Canyon with several stops on the way. The first place we stopped at is called The Pinnacle and as you can see below, it’s breathtaking. I wish there was a way I could show you what it looks and feels like in real life, because the photos just don’t do it justice.
A sheer cliff with thundering waterfall crashes down many feet below.
God’s Window, our second stop.
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Click to EnlargeClick to EnlargeMy favorite place along this route was definitely Bourke’s Luck Potholes. To me this was one of the most impressive creations by nature I’d ever seen. Here the Sabie River and the Treur river (happy and sad) join, resulting in this incredible scene. The sun was extremely bright, casting heavy shadows on the rocks, so I had to go a little overboard on the editing (hence the HDR type look and funny colors) to be able to see some of the details.
We did a lot of driving and sightseeing that day and had a great time. There was still so much to see in the area, that we split it up over a couple of days.
A few days later we visited Bridal Falls, a 146 meter high waterfall that takes about 15 minutes to walk to. The force with which the water smashes onto the rocks is crazy and beautiful. It was difficult to keep my camera dry as the water sprayed everywhere, but I managed to get some nice shots and make it out without falling over slippery rocks and breaking my camera!
Click to EnlargeClick to EnlargeClick to EnlargeOn the way down to the car we spotted a narrow walkway down to this beautiful spot. Getting into the water knee deep, balancing on unsteady rocks I managed to get these shots.Click to Enlarge
The next couple days we spent in Sabie, exploring the tiny town center, visiting the local bookshop (where I found some nice deals!) and tried out different restaurants, including Ayesha’s Deli, owned by a very sweet and intriguing Indian woman who was very hospitable and passionate about her cooking. We swam in the pool, ate more chips than I should have, watched the Oscar Pistorius trial on tv and went out for dinner pretty much every single night. One night after yet another kg of ribs and driving back to good ol’ Meryy Pebbles I spotted a homelss man. I had a little bit of food left and told Lance to stop the car. I quickly ran up to him to hand him the food (not a good idea in this country btw…. I know….you can easily get stabbed, but being the good samaritan that I am I felt like he deserved it more than I did). I immediately realized he was so high on drugs and hallucinating that he was in his own little world. He spun around in circles and didn’t even notice me. All of a sudden the smell hit me and I gagged, but somehow managed to give him the food. While trying not to throw up I ran back to the car. I have had my face stuck in a dead buffalo, but the smell that came off this man, was pure death. If you could describe what hopelessness smells like, this was it. I felt shock and horror, knowing that this man was destined to die. I always believe there’s hope no matter how bad your situation, but this man was the epiphany of sadness. There’s no other way to explain it. I kept thinking about this poor man, knowing that there was nothing I could do to save him. Eventually I managed to take my mind off this man and move on.
But apart from this sad story, I also experienced happy moments. This place is so beautiful, you cannot help but smile at the “wonders of this world”. One of our last days we spent visiting the recommended places to go to in the area nearby. One of them was called Maria Shires Falls. I was convinced by looking at the map that you could drive up to the waterfall, so we drove down this narrow, overgrown gravel road, that no person in their right mind had been on and drove further and further into the forest. Convinced we would get their soon I told Lance to keep on driving. Eventually we reached a road that was no longer a road, so we got out of the car, realizing that we were about a 5 minute walk from where we had started and at the waterfall. Good one Fleur!
Next up was Horse Shoe Falls where we were greeted by two very sweet dogs who followed us wherever we went for the next hour or so while taking photos.
Overall we had a great time, relaxing and seeing new places. We’re not quite sure where we’ll be going for our next leave, but I’m sure it’s gonna be just as fun as this break.