Photography class

Last weekend I was part of a photography course at Kurisa Moya and learnt a few new tricks. Most Important: Use Your Tripod. Most Important: Play! The above photo was taken as a 10 second exposure… I rather like the blurry effect of people moving around their cameras, and the stream becoming milk. (And of course I got marvellous depth of field in the process…)

Early morning photographers

This early morning shot I like for the sense of figures in a huge landscape, all finding different subjects, and the rhythm they create across the frame. And of course the gardener in me likes the combination of plants in the foreground, which should have been cropped so that the figures were less in the centre and the horizon on the bottom third…

Deep depth of field

I got to play around with depth of field. The  photos above and below were taken from the exact same tripod position. They are of one of my favourite indigenous forest flowers, which I have never yet found on my own farm, although it is plentiful 800m away: Desmodium repandum.  The photo above was taken with a small aperture (f29) which results in a deep field in focus, and with an exposure of 4 seconds; luckily the air in the forest was quite still. The one below was only at f5 which means the beautiful leaves with their blister of air which gives them such a unique quality are completely out of focus. The exposure was 1/8 sec.

Shallow depth of field

One would think that the more detailed upper photo would in all ways make for  a better picture, but I love the delicacy and ethereal colour of the lower photo and the way the flower stalk shows up.

Strange fungus amongst mosses

This strange fungus, the size of a finger nail, perched amongst mosses on a dead stump in the forest was an early example of my discovery of a completely new trick on my Canon 1000D. I knew that the ‘set’ button could turn the screen into a viewfinder, but seldom used it before. On the tripod however it is very handy to compose a picture. Then I discovered that the image could be made 5x and 10x larger to check focus. Then I discovered that when combined with manual focus, this was an incredibly powerful tool when taking macros… What is more one sees exactly what you are going to get on the screen, so you can judge the lighting, the depth of field… MAGIC! FUN!! The next morning I really played with this feature photographing a little blue flower, and I intend to explore it very much more in future.

Blue flower 1

Here it is, and below the central part is blown up – the flower is about 6mm (1/4in) across.

Blue flower 2

Here is a similar flower, this one catching the early sun, resulting in wonderfully vivid colour and detail. These shots alone make me feel that the weekend was worthwhile. (Besides being immense fun with a group of friends!)

Blue flower again


After the rain

Two weeks after the Big Rains ended, it is still squelchy on the bottom road next to the dam; this pic, taken after a  few days of sun, shows why. After really heavy rains there are little fountains which surface near the bottom of the valley and run down the road to join the emergency overflow of the Makou Dam. What you see in the road ruts is RUNNING water!

Our gunnera - G perpensa

We too have our indigenous gunnera, although not nearly as impressive as some of  its cousins. Gunnera perpensa is commonly known as the river pumpkin, a very apt name!

Rampant vine

The gunneras I photographed are in the low ground near a streamlet, where Taubie stands in the far distance. In the foreground we have a classic garden situation: the perfection that precedes chaos. It is a question of time now before the Vitis vinifera  – Autumn Vine – growing into an old tree stump and indigenous Blinkblaar pulls the whole lot crashing down. I do so hope we will still get to see this sight come autumn!

Francois' pots at entrance Francois' pot at entrance

Lastly a view of the pots at the front door, catching the light just right as we returned from a recent walk. I have a stack of pics to write about when I find the time; my cousin’s wedding here in October (lovely shots from a creative pro photographer!) and my weekend-past photography course at Kurisa Moya, the magnificent Nature Lodge belonging to friends in the next valley. Here meanwhile is a teaser – a photostitch of their entrance overlooking the rugged and much drier Kudu Kloof – click to enlarge it!

Panorama from Kurisa Moya Gate s


Early morning across the plantations

The view across our pine plantations (and other people’s!) towards Haenertsburg and the Iron Crown from the top end of the farm just after six this morning, when I was taking my foreman’s sons up to the tar road to catch the bus to school. We were all chattering animatedly on this most beautiful of mornings. Clicking on the pic will enlarge it and show much more detail.


Nearby neighbours (if that is not tautology!) Nipper and Sophie Thompson are still pretty unique in a South African context. I say ‘still’ because just as in the rest of the world, the organic movement is growing here. But for many South Africans ‘organic’ is the equivalent of the ultimate third world horror: ‘unmodern’ and even ‘backward’.

Wisteria at Wegraakbosch

Yesterday they invited me over to see the wisteria outside the dairy, which is in glorious full flower. That surprised me, because my earliest ones are not yet showing colour and my last to flower are still showing no sign of growth at all. Although barely 1 km away, it is much warmer here than we are, but still… It IS a glorious sight, the longest of the racemes nearly 1/2 a meter long and the colour a good strong mauve. It grows over the pergola where the rustic tables stand where people share their cheese platters on a visit. Adjacent, in a neat amphitheatre curve of narrow terraces, is the vegetable garden where the Thompsons raise the organic greens for which they are also famous.1

But what made me decide to write about the dairy, not only on my blog but also at http://www.facebook.com/MountainGetaways , was the way in which the farm animals welcomed me, as they clearly do all visitors to this local tourist attraction. These geese positively ran up to be photographed – or so it seemed!


And the dogs were as welcoming as only intelligent and well-loved dogs can be. These two sheep dogs are working farm animals, helping to look after the goats and cows that provide the milk for the organic dairy. Even on my short visit I had an overwhelming sense: this is a place where the world is at peace with itself…

Wisteria close-up at Wegraakbosch


Purples and pinks

As Esther Hoffmann in ‘A Star is Born’, Barbra Streisand’s sings ‘Everything’.  The words of this song, one of my all-time favourites, came to mind when I saw these Tibouchinas: surely even Esther Hoffmann – and Barbra Streisand! – would have been satisfied…?

Tibouchina tunnel

I want to learn what life is for –
I don’t want much, I just want more.
Ask what I want and I will sing
I want everything, everything:
I’d cure the cold and the traffic jam
If there were floods, I’d give a dam
I’d never sleep, I’d only sing
Let me do everything, everything!
I’d like to plan a city, play the cello
Play at Monte Carlo, play Othello
Move into the White House, paint it yellow
Speak Portuguese and Dutch
And if it’s not too much
I’d like to have the perfect twin:
One who’d go out as I come in

Politsi panorama

A year ago I posted on Tibouchinas – both our local ‘wild tibouchinas’ and the real thing, including this species: Tibouchina granulosa. It is worth reading as an introduction to today’s show – and not only because it lead directly to the opportunity to visit these spectacular trees!


I had heard of this magnificent garden, but the invitation to come see it for myself followed as a direct result of the above post. I guess it helped that over the years I had taught six of the owners’ grandchildren, and consider their son and daughter-in-law to be good friends… but I did not know that the family read or even knew of my blog!

Last February passed all to quickly and I never got there… but this year, as I drove down to Tzaneen and saw along the way examples of these pink and purple trees, I undertook to phone and invite myself. However before I did that the typically forthright invitation from Dawn arrived: Hi Jack, if you want to see the tibouchinas here you better make a plan!!    I did, and we were entertained not only to a stupendous sight, but a ditto view, not to mention delicious cake and tea (in that order) whilst looking across the view from their terrace…

View from Terrace

If you consider that each of these is a tree of substantial size, you will realise how vivid this slope is. Politsi, where we find ourselves, is an amazing valley on the edge of the escarpment. Look back to the photo above the close-up: my garden lies somewhere behind the neck on the left of the picture and the Dap Naude Dam which I wrote about here lies beyond and to the right of the highest point; behind that highest point the Forest Drive snakes down. Politsi is claimed – I’ve not been able to confirm this – to have the 2nd highest rainfall in South Africa. It lies high enough above the Lowveld to escape the impossibly humid heat of the area, yet is essentially sub-tropical. This makes the valley ideal for growing macadamia nuts, avocados and semi-hardy ornamental plants which are marketed to Gauteng, where the country’s wealth is concentrated. It also makes for spectacular gardening.


Dawn had obviously read my blog with more attentiveness than is usual. Whilst I was photographing the above close-up, she announced gleefully that she had found a mistake on my blog. (She was also a teacher in her day, and it shows…) And so, Dawn, I dedicate the correction of Cythna Letty’s name (I had spelt it Cynthia in this post) to you; Cythna Letty was an amazing woman whom you greatly admire. I join you in that admiration, and thank you for a wonderful morning!

Tibouchina drive



The Haenertsburg Grasslands are very much on my mind after a recent talk I attended on this small, unique and threatened biome, and after discovering the Crossandras I posted about earlier in the week. (Click on colour for links.) This 2007 walk on the Haenertsburg Common is not yet the promised post – I want to do something meatier, if that can be said of a vegen topic – but it does link you to a picture gallery I posted at Mooseyscountrygarden back then. There has been a redesign of the Moosey forums. Hovering over the picture will give the (often descriptive, but often also vague) title of each pic, which one could see in the past. As in the past clicking on the pic at Mooseys will open it to its full size – worthwhile with several of them!


Here is a photo I took of Crossandra that day – definitely the same species as this week’s discovery; C.zuluensis, I believe it to be. In the first photo Sequoia Gardens lies just to the left off shot behind the rounded green hill, Dap Naude Dam on which I posted recently lies below the peak on the furthest horizon which forms the smaller blob near the left, and Magoebaskloof Pass drops down to the Lowveld  left of the highest point in the centre of the photo. To the left of Magoebaskloof, hidden by the hill, The Forest Drive winds down its own valley, whilst the Appel road, another dirt-road pass, snakes down below the tall trees on the right horizon. Off shot to the right the tarred George’s Valley road makes its way down its own spectacular valley, which can be seen in the photo below. Four passes, each down its own valley, within such close proximity, make our Mountain a dream destination for both mountain bikers and road bikers… and we have seen exotic sportscars and even veterans enjoying an outing on our roads followed by a visit to our local pubs with their friendly atmosphere, sport-screens and excellent food… They can be forgiven for flaunting  rather English names like ‘The Iron Crown’ and ‘The Pot and Plow’ – an eatery pub is not a typical South African institution at all!


‘The Iron Crown’ is named after Limpopo Province’s highest peak, which you can see looking uphill from the Haenertsburg Common on the photo below. The above photo shows the second highest peak, Serala, just sticking out beyond the George’s Valley mountain near the right of the photo. I guess a post on Serala and the wonderland of the Wolkberg (Cloud Mountain) Wilderness Area is also due… The houses in the centre look down on the Ebenezer Dam where our Rotary Club hosts one of the best open-water swims in the country on the 3rd Sunday of March each year. (Another post? A link to the webpage I am currently designing? www.ebenezermile.co.za – hopefully visible by Monday!) And then – to turn your attention to the next pic – we also host in July each year The Iron Crown Trial Run, a half-marathon which starts and ends on the Village Green and passes through some exquisite examples of the Haenertsburg Grassland biome before turning at the beacon on the top of the Iron Crown!


Winter fire – especially what is known as a ‘cool fire’ which burns the grass cover but not much more, as noticeable  on the above pic, followed by early rain and plenty of sun is the ideal recipe for a wide variety of flowers. That was the case in late September 2007 when these photos were taken. The white flowers – they go by the ungainly scientific name of Trichodesma physaloides – are of the loveliest on the grasslands and are commonly called Chocolate Bells; the picture below shows why.


Our Mountain is a unique destination in many ways, and whatever prompts your visit – you are sure to enjoy the beauty of nature. Even if all you see is mist and all you experience is tranquillity… Smile

Crossandra across the main road

R71 roadside flowers

Two days ago I screeched to a halt, made a U-turn and went back to investigate a few spots of soft orange along the national road which I had never noticed before. When I went back to photograph them early this morning it was still Wednesday somewhere in the world; important – as this is my contribution to Wildflower Wednesday, driven by the indomitable Gailforce

Crossandra zuluensis

I am pretty certain that what I found was a colony of Crossandra zuluensis, which I think ( but have not checked) I have seen flowering quite freely in the Haenertsburg Grasslands (about which, as I said in my previous post, I will still write extensively…) during spring. I don’t know them in late summer, but their flowering time is given as Sep-Mar. A goodly season, especially for such a beaute. It will find its way into my garden and my meadow.

Pea flower

As happens so often when you find a particularly lovely wild flower, there were several other interesting species in its vicinity. I searched around for a reason, found none. Unless perhaps this patch of ground had been disturbed in the not too terribly distant past – but why? This little pea flower (well, its not so little – over 3cm 1 inch across) always reminds me of a snail. Not just because of its spiralled shape, but because the individual flowers seem to lie just above the ground, seemingly attached to nothing in particular. It is, I suspect, Vigna unguiculata, the Wild Cow Pea, which I often find in the wild parts of my own garden. I rather like the combination of violet and orange. Do I have the energy to stage-manage such effortless spontaneity?

Interesting helichrysum

Then there were these fresh silver leaves, almost certainly belonging to one of the hundreds of helichrysums – our main provider of all shades of silver and grey on the mountain flora. They were particularly beautiful and I shall be watching them. And to round things off, unfortunately sleeping demurely in the still misty light of early morning, there was a whole group of starry yellow Hypoxis…


watching the last light s

Every few years a tropical cyclone – sometimes downgraded to a tropical storm – affects our weather for a few days, bringing incessant but unstormy warm rain. We’ve just had one, which brought a total of 254mm over 3 days.

Makoudam overflow

Going out on Thursday  – top photo – as the sun broke through just before sundown (the west being very much drier than we are), we could hear the stream in stereo, the various cascades thundering away. Here is the overflow of the Makou Dam, the two pipes carrying ten times the volume they normally do.

makoudam after the rains

This is the emergency overflow of the Makou Dam, constructed after the 2000 cyclone somehow didn’t manage to destroy every dam in our valley, although each one of them overflowed over the main wall, causing some damage  to the foundations of the walls as the water gathered momentum. This overflow only came into use, to the best of my knowledge, in January 2011 when we measured over 200mm overnight. (Obviously overflowing rain-meters made the figure a bit of a guess. But if I compare the level of the river in flood after my carefully monitored 90mm + 159mm over 2 days, then that figure makes sense. Or it might even have been more – some people claimed over 300mm fell that night. I slept through it and found a full gauge!) Be it as it may: the emergency overflow again came into use this week as the level of the dam rose by a good 20cm.

Freddie's Dam overflow

This week’s storm dropped about 240mm during its most intense 36 hours. (That is 9.5 inches)  In 2000, following on what was already obviously going to be a 70-year record rainfall, we measured 625mm (25 in.) in 36 hours. I remember saying to my father as we watched the rain falling in sheets and the water lapping the top of the dam wall: “I always feared loosing the farm to fire. I never expected it would be water.” Luckily my fears were unfounded…

Somewhere in the above photo is the spot where ‘Cascade Rose’ germinated and from where I removed it a few weeks before last year’s heavy rains – read more about it here.

Blue hydrangeascut through the poplars at the end of the Beech Borders axis

Photos are stolen during a week like the past one – and the perfect  shot I’d love to take of the blue hydrangeas in the cutting through the poplars that mark the furthest part of the Beech Borders axis, is yet to be taken. But I will share nevertheless.

Blue hydrangeas at the end of the Beech Borders axis

Their blue is as glorious as the agapanthus I wrote off in my previous post – work and the weather has precluded a return to that stand, but below are my own examples along Alfred’s Arches, photographed on Saturday in lovely full sun.

Agapanthus inapertus at Alfred's Arches

And today – Sunday – I discovered two growing wild in – wait for it – a boggy area. Which I guess goes to answer the question raised by my previous post: yes, this agapanthus does like to have wettish feet! Here they are against a backdrop of Swamp Cypresses, photographed with my cell phone which as usual appears to have had a well-pawed lens Sad smile

Agapanthus near swamp cypresses

The hydrangeas benefitted from the sun on Saturday afternoon’s walk – here are two more shots, taken in The Avenue in the Arboretum:

Hydrangeas in the Avenue

Avenue hydrangea close-up

The water again featured heavily on that walk, and as I was about to take this shot, Abigail came dashing across. I rather like her hasty exit stage left…

Abigail crossing the stream

Rather lovely I think. But the last two shots for today I took up the hill at my neighbour’s house- way beyond the highest point you can see on the first photo, but the gum tree plantation belongs to her. Her meadow is rich with flowers at present.

Biebuyck's meadow

And on the other side of the house she has a stupendous view across to the Iron Crown, the highest point in Limpopo. A wonderful place for sundowners… Slightly to the right of the peak and just to the right of the tree jutting out in the middle horizon, you can see our lovely village of Haenertsburg nestling in its pristine grasslands. But the Haenertsburg Grasslands deserve a post of their own!

Biebuyck's view


Agapanthus inapertus - study in blue

I promised a post on a spot nearby where the Agapanthus inapertus flower in sheets at this time of year. Here it is.

Massed Agapanthus inapertus

I am cheating a little, for these pics are five years old. I was there last week and realised I needed to return in thick jeans and gumboots, due to the brambles and the dampness of this marshy area – and when eventually I do that, it might be too late. Besides: these are of the loveliest photos I ever took!

In a marshy area - a huge field of Agapanthus inapertus

You can read more about Agapanthus inapertus, which calls ‘Here am I!’ so elegantly at this time of year, over here.  Its hanging, tubular flowers are different from all other agapanthus, and its deciduous nature is unusual.

Agapanthus inapertus is unusual in that the open flowers hang down

The depth of blue varies, but most are a particularly lovely, deep shade.

Agapanthus inapertus is of the deepest blue of all agapanthus

A clump in my garden is flowering beautifully, creating a foreground through which to view Alfred’s Arches from the top terrace.

Looking through agapanthus inapertus towards Alfred's Arches

With a bit of imagination you can see in the above pic some more of them along Alfred’s Arches, amongst the rudbeckias. Here they are from close by.

Alfred's Arches with rudbeckia and agapanthus inapertus

All of these we grew from seed collected off wildings in the garden. I think we should do so again – even if it takes several years for a clump to develop its full potential!


When does sight-seeing become botanising? Especially when you are showing visitors around your mountain?

Dap Naude dam

Two trips over the last two weeks made me think of the link between birding and botanising as holiday pastimes. There are great advantages to botanising – a week later you know exactly where to find a specific plant. And plants don’t take flight when you try to photograph them. But like casual birding, there is much to look out for that is not on the tick-list…

Broederstroom at Goedvertrouwen

The Broederstroom, one of the two rivers that flow through the valleys of our mountain, here twists its way through my cousin’s part of the farm. From a beautiful still pool the water folds over a rock ridge before frothing its way across a cascade. Some 80m higher in altitude and several kilometres away lies the Dap Naude Dam which you can see in the first photo. We don’t have many lakes – natural bodies of water – in South Africa and so this almost natural looking mountain ‘lake’ is a bit of a draw card in our area. The route to it I like to take leads to a look-out above Houtbosdorp. Here you’ll find one of the many divides in the local eco-systems. You stand on the edge of the mist-belt and look northwest across a harsh, dry valley to where on a clear day in the blue distance the Soutpansberg abruptly plunges into nothingness on its western-most edge, and you look northeast across the lowveld towards the Kruger Park. Unfortunately on both trips it was misty at this point, so no photos.

Earthbank in Woodbush

Then you enter the Woodbush, possibly the second biggest area containing mostly natural forests in South Africa. (The Tsitsikamma on the Garden Route along the southern coast is the biggest.) As you drop down into the valley of the Broederstroom, you find yourself for the first time in the indigenous forest. On the earth bank next to the road grow white streptocarpus, pink impatients, ferns and – in their season – clivias. On the downhill side mosses, ferns and even clivias grow on the contorted branches of forest trees.

Above Dap Naude

Not long after, the view opens up to the sight of ‘Dap’, as it is affectionately known, in the first photo. But first, some botanising…

Streptocarpus wilmsii

Streptocarpus wilmsii is, I think, the name of the streptocarpus which so richly covers the bank above. Below is Impatiens sylvicola which also grows wild in my garden.

Impatiens sylvicola

Another view of a steep bank along the road, with a clump of clivia leaves shining at the top of the bank.

clivias on a forest bank

But now – let us drop down to ‘Dap’. Above the dam the river winds lazily.

Dap Naude bo-loop

And as we reach the river we are greeted by a view that is about as unAfrican as any on our mountain…

Oaks at Dap Naude

Yet under the oaks grow of our loveliest wild flowers: Freesia grandiflora – previously classified as first Lapeirousia g. and then Anomatheca g. To my untrained eye it does not look like a freesia, but I am pleased to find it classified with these most beautiful garden flowers.

Freesia grandiflora

Just across the road grows a very similar flower, but slightly fleshier and fond of growing near water. It is also found in white and pink, and I grow these in my garden… but I really must plant some of the red ones, which I have found wild on Sequoia,  for they are the most beautiful.

Schizostylis coccinea

They are known appropriately as Scarlet River Lilies and, confusingly, I have just discovered that their name has been changed from Schizostylis coccinea to Hesperantha c. Here they grow on either side of the Broederstroom just above the Dap Naude Dam.

Broederstroom at Dap Naude with Schizostylis

Down we went on the first trip, past the dam wall and back along the river, where we saw bushpig (6 in total!) and many duikers (small buck). We also saw this clump of parasitic flowers growing in the pine forest – but try as I might I have had no luck in identifying them…

parasite in forest 2 parasite in forest
parasite in forest 4 parasite in forest 3

On the way home the  last light shone through the pine trees, one of the sights that makes our most important crop on the mountain a thing of beauty.

Pine trees

The next trip saw us leaving ‘Dap’ by a different route, climbing instead up the opposite side of the valley and back into some mist, before dropping down the famous ‘Forest Drive’ – a dirt track recommended for 4x4s only, which leads down a steep pass from the mist belt to the Lowveld. Here we stopped to look back from about 2/3 way down.

Looking up from lower down the Forest Drive

It is a trip best done ON the roof (if there has to be one) and I remember my first trip down there in the early 60s on the roof carrier of my father’s 1959 Opel Caravan, but the photo I find in the family archives dates from 1955, with the self-same roof carrier on the Opel Olympia; today my cousin has an open buggy, and I still will do the trip in it! Modern cars, let alone modern ideas about safety, have put a stop to rooftop travel…

forest drive

But I run ahead – before the photo below was taken, looking down on the lower reaches of the pass where some pine has recently been cut and where the road dips into valleys where the indigenous forest still grows, we stopped to admire many wild flowers.

looking down on the Forest Drive

Agapanthus inapertus

Agapanthus inapertus, our most common local agapanthus, has diagnostic hanging bells and good colour. It is herbaceous and thus less valuable as a foliage plant than most agapanthus. Soon I must post on a huge stand of them nearby, as I think we are heading for an excellent year for aggies!

Treeferns in the landscape

Just to make certain we are all on the same page -right now we are on often damp grassland. Huge fields of yellow helicrysum grow amongst the grasses, and in the foreground other flowers (Berkheya?) have already gone to seed. The tree ferns along  a stream where possibly moved there when the Dap Naude Dam was built in the early 1960s.

Lobelia coronopifolia

The delicate flowers of Lobelia coronopifilia grow on a little straggler by the roadside, one of several wild lobelias. The beautiful blue flower below I have too poor a record of to identify. It might be an Aristea, which I remember seeing but not photographing…

Little blue flowered herb

Dissotis canescens is starting its long season – I blogged about it in my garden for Wildflower Wednesday last year. (in fact I think an advance link to Wildflower Wednesday of this post is in order! Or perhaps a backward link to December is easier: click here to find it!)

Dissotis canescens

Gladiolus dalenii is another of the wild flowers I’ve posted on before. Here are more photos of this subtly coloured flower from this trip.

gladiolus dalenii 2 gladiolus dalenii

The fiery arrival of the crocosmias signals to me that summer has passed its midpoint, and sure enough: I saw my first Crocosmia paniculata – one of the parents of the famous ‘Lucifer’ – near Dap Naude Dam.

Crocosmia paniculata

Growing by the side of the road we found a sheet of little yellow flowers I could not identify. I pored over my books for ages… and then had a brainwave: that starry boss belonged to one species only – Hypericum!

Hypericum lalandii

A search quickly revealed that there is a herbaceous species called H. lalandii and indeed, this was it. Tiny, slight, obviously ephemeral, I had not thought to associate this finger-nail sized flower with the robust H. revolutum that is one of our mainstays on the mountain! Here it is again in more detail.

Hypericum lalandii 2

Time for us to move on down the forest drive, to more ferns and flowers already recorded, and to a few new lovers of cool, damp shade… such as the various Plectranthus – just beginning to come into flower – and the Begonias. Here are two of them together: P. fruticosus and B. sonderiana.

Blue Plectranthus fruticosus and Begonia sonderiana

B. sonderiana has a clearly recognisable begonia leaf, which is what first alerted me to the fact that we have wild begonias growing in our area – yet another garden plant I could call my own! B. sutherlandii must be one of the most delicate and beautifully coloured flowers in the whole world: a soft but distinctive orange which glows in the deep shade it prefers.

Begonia sutherlandii

Ever down we go…

Forest drive

Eventually we stop for something to drink at a beautiful waterfall.

Forest Drive waterfall

Next to which a forest path ascends…

Forest Drive waterfall path

Eventually we stop in at Debengeni, about which you can learn more here. These fascinating falls – more of a vast cascade than a waterfall – are a favoured picnic spot and can be reached from the R71 at the bottom of Magoebaskloof, from where it is only a few kilometres on easy gravel. If you intend including the Forest Drive in a visit, it is much better to start from the Houtbosdorp road at the top of Magoebaskloof and to do the Drive downhill ending at Debengeni!


Beyond the trees the first part of the falls cascade into a huge icy mountain pool, ideal for a bracing swim, before making its way in a leisurely way across sheets of rock – which then dip down into a vast and dangerous slope pock-marked with huge maelstrom craters – this last photo doesn’t begin to give the full impression of the ground between the observation deck and the quiet area under the trees way below…

Debengeni 2

There; remember you are looking down at this, not up! And, continuer, time now after all of this to return home! Round trip: possibly 30km.

PS: I had forgotten that the Forest Drive featured in a previous post – here is a link to it!