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Day 10

Saturday 13 August 2005

Sani Pass Hotel - Drakensberg Sun Hotel, Drakensberg

Another gorgeous blue sky greeted us this morning as we set off from the hotel on tarmac and smooth gravel roads in exploration of the Drakensberg Wall: the giant row of 3,000m peaks topped with vertical crests which form the natural fortress that protected Lesotho from European settlement.

Five cars had to have their shocks replaced by medic Mike and Jingers and Pedro Domingo Roca's Range Rover saw a visit to the local mechanics to fix his exhaust an d the horrible din it was making.

Most of the day's excursions and stops took us into the uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The first was the superb San rock art paintings at Giant's Castle, where Paul and Jayne Wignall carefully parked their Nissan to enjoy a quiet lunch while admiring the spectacular scenery. In their absence, however, a certain B Aboon Esq felt impelled to use their nice shiny roof first as a solarium and subsequently as a latrine, leaving Paul and Jayne a rather large souvenir, which one would not wish upon even the most acidic of in-laws.

Many participants sped on to the overnight halt, but several crews went to Didima Valley, in the shadow of Cathedral Peak (9,850ft), where they were rewarded with a multimedia show on some more San rock art. This beautiful region is reminiscent of a glen in the Scottish Highlands.

This was followed by lunch at the Cathedral Peak Hotel, which lies right below the mountain of the same name, before some adventurous souls took an afternoon drive up the 4x4 trail to Mike's Pass, where the views are quite stunning.

At our destination, the Drakensberg Sun Hotel, everyone enjoyed a splendid talk by Raymond Heron on the Zululand battles whose site we are visiting tomorrow.