It all started as a business weekend getaway and since business was taken care of and completed early on Saturday we decided to make the most of the trip and not just make it a business weekend but a fun weekend as well. Our definition of fun always includes getting in touch with the extraordinary show of nature, adventure and plenty of driving. We spent our evening at some bed and breakfast in Phalaborwa and purposed to leave Phalaborwa in the early hours of Sunday so we would have enough time to explore two provinces in one day. I know that sounds almost impossible. Our first stop was at the Eco caves, for some reason it was nothing like what I had expected, I am even embarrassed to share that my wife was not willing to go all the way to experience the entire tour, again I blame this on the movies we have watched. Fear is crippling and will rob one of beautiful opportunities and experiences, after being challenged by a young girl who was so enthusiastic about the tour she decided not to be a party pooper and wear her big girl cap and act as if she was not frightened.
This was an exercise and a half because we had to bend for most of the time and watch out not to hit our heads against the rocks. It was dark and a bit creepy, well its a cave what did we expect? Of all the beauties of nature what I saw there has got to be the most thought provoking creations of nature I have ever seen. There were images of statues and animals and so the sections of the caves are named after the theme of each compartment, this again is such a wonder, how nature would decide to have a theme and carve the rock to whatever theme it desired is still a mystery to me, there are ostrich heads, elephant skins, and many other incredible images naturally carved on the rocks. I know it just sounds way to supernatural for the human mind to fathom. These caves are full of history and such an amazing one if you ask me, we were fortunate to have been guided by one of the best tour guides the place has to offer, it was as if she was taking us through her own life, she painted a bold and well detailed story about the history of the cave, one I don’t see myself forgetting any time soon.
The one thing I almost forgot to mention is that as you drive to the caves you find yourself on a road that looks so dead you would swear that you are lost or even turn back. The tour guides at the Echo Caves do not get paid, they work as volunteers so it’s a good thing to budget a tip for this and one more thing is to ensure you have comfortable shoes as it gets slippery inside the caves because of the water and its quite rocky as well in some areas.
On our way to the three Rondavels not far from the Echo caves my wife spotted a shoe house, oh my word she felt like a child in a story book, lol, yeah its amazing how the child in her never grows old. She clams to have only seen shoe houses in cartoons for most of her life and for the first time in her life she was seeing a real one and she could not resist but want to go touch it and feel that it was real. I know that sounds crazy, and so we had to take a couple of pictures and yeah we did what we do best. I think her shoe house fascination was a little bit too much because before we knew it we were headed at the wrong direction and had to make a U turn.
A couple of minutes later we were at our original intended destination and that was the three rondavels. It’s a mountain that carved itself into three rondavels. Believe you me, there was also a story I remember vividly now about the Queens and the three rondavels. I am not going to try and remember it, the wonderful view of this place on its own its far more exhilarating. There was just so much showing off of nature going on in that place, while you at the top looking down there is an “instagram type of beaty” going on and yeah a Geographic photographer would literally feel imprisoned in that place.
We left the Three Rondavels and headed to a place called Bourkes Lurke potholes. For the first time in my life I got to understand the meaning of the quote, “ it is not the strength of the water that causes the water to cut through the rocks but its persistence.” The Bourkes Lurke potholes embodies that. I don’t know how this place was discovered but it has to be one of nature’s living epistle on persistence. Just looking at the humongous potholes on those rocks made me realize just how powerful persistence is. This is just one of those places I can never truly do justice to by trying to explain its magnificence. Indeed if you think that God is dead, you better look around and please do yourself a favor and visit that place. Nature on its own has convicted me of the existence of God, there are just places that will magnify the existence of God and leave you with no doubt that indeed our God is majestic and lacks no creativity in him.
Now trying to do two provinces in one day can be exhausting and this was one of those road trips that had less talking and more moments of reflection. Our next stop was in Graskop, God’s window in Mpumalanga. The weather had now started to get all moody on us, and we did not get one of the best views on God’s window because it was misty. We then went up the mountain for another view and again, we did not have the correct shoes on because the adventure was not really preplanned but was a spontaneous thing. This is just one element that keeps a spark in a relationship, you don’t always have to have everything all figured out, at times you will have to go with the flow. The fact that we were not wearing comfortable shoes to go up the mountain did not stop us, we were up on that mountain, correct shoes or not and were so determined to climb that hill for the view of a lifetime. It was already in the afternoon by the time we got to God’s window and we take a few moments peeping through his magnificent window, it was a bit cloudy so the view was not as crystal clear however there was still a whole lot of a phenominal dance of nature that we still relive in our not only in our photographic minds but deep down in our hearts that get captured by God’s splendor in nature.
We drove to the pinnacle rock, this is just another wonder on its own, this is a natural beauty, it’s a massive rock that erupts from the earth’s surface and reaches about 30 metres in height. The rock is just every photographer’s capturer. You will also find vendors sitting at this attraction selling African curious and keepsakes.
On our way back we drove pass Sabie, did the Mac Mac pools would be your ideal spot for a breakfast picnic with its magical and soothing sound of the waterfall, which is just a perfect romantic soundtrack. We would not miss the Mac Mac falls for anything. You hear the rumbling from quite a distance and cant help but continue to be drawn to the awestrucking source of the noise. Pilgrims rest is like a fairy tale small town that is tucked away in the mountains; this is a place that is rich in a historical legacy that has not been tampered with at all.
Just sweeping through the grasslands gazing at the beautiful mountain ranges, the panorama route along the Mpumalanga escarpment is pleasurable and makes a roadtrip a worthwhile one.
Passing through Sabie kind of brought back many childhood memories as I myself come from a very small town that specializes in delicacies like the pancakes you get in Sabie
Our last stop before leaving the awesome Mpumalanga was the Sudwala Caves. This place offers a fascinating trip into the Earth’s interior. All you need to enjoy this is your legs and a sense of wonder. The tour lasts for an hour, you are allocated a tour guide on your arrival and the tour guide will help point out the fantastic natural sculptures and rock formations which will leave you awestruck. If you do not suffer from claustrophobia or any serious health problem you can walk, scramble or wriggle and climb around the oldest caves in the world.