Day 29 – Gorge Hike

We awake to glorious sunshine and after a lazy breakfast we drive up to the Royal Natal Park for today’s hike, the Gorge. We don’t start until after midday so are not anticipating completing the hike but are keen to get a close as we can to the Amphitheatre.

We, proceed down to the Tugela river where the hike starts and walk along a good path with a few inclines. The path winds along, above and parallel with the Tugela river and as we ascend we start to take just how big the Amphitheatre is. The surrounds are lush and green and it’s a joy to be enveloped by such beautiful scenery. The bridges that cross cross the river are interesting and relatively safe.

After walking in quite by now hot sunshine we decide to break for lunch and eat our sarnies marvelling at just how high the Tugela Falls are and how few people there are hiking – I think we counted 6!! As time is pushing on we decide to return and only complete 10kms of the hike’s total 16kms as we need to ensure that we leave the park at least an hour before sundown. This is to ensure that we’re not driving in the dark. The roads are riddled with huge potholes and there’s no streetlights, not a winning combination even during the day. We return to the hostel for dinner of butternut squash and feta ravioli cooked by the excellent ladies at the hostel. Whilst waiting for our food one of the staff team enquires if we’ve thought about the Tugela Falls hike to the highest waterfall in the world. We had been contemplating doibg this hike but hadn’t really got ourselves organised so I ask her to remind me exactly what it entails. A 14kms hike, a couple of ladders secured to the side of granite cliffs to get to the top and a short hike across the top to the waterfall. She assures me that we’ll be more than capable of achieving the hike. I sign us up and we look forward with nervous anticipation to the 7am bus pick-up in the morning wondering what the hell we’ve let ourselves in for.


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