Steps are utilised as an aid for the aged (like me), the unfit hikers (like me) and the lazy dawdlers (like me) to ascend or descend, depending on which way you are going, many of the hiking trails in the Oribi Gorge, KwaZulu-Natal. No, hang on, I’m being too hard on myself, I’m neither unfit nor lazy (I’ll admit to being past my prime) and the steps make it easier to reach the spots from where the magnificent scenery can be admired.
My daughter and I very rashly decided that we could easily manage the steps (in the images below) which lead down the escarpment to the Bushman caves at the Lake Eland Nature Reserve. Walking down those 383 three steps to get to the caves was indeed easy enough. We stopped every now and then to take a photo of the wildflowers, birds, bugs, insects, reptiles and just the scenery in general. The scenery from the caves into the basin of the gorge is breathtaking and I found the whole experience quite enjoyable.
Trudging back up the steep hill in the midday heat was another kettle of fish altogether. I climbed every one of those 383 steps under protest and had to sit down every so often. By the time I got to the top, my legs were numb from my knees down and my tongue was stuck to the roof of my mouth. As soon as I got my tongue unstuck, I accused my daughter of trying to walk me into an early grave.
My leg muscles were sore as hell for many days afterward, however, once the photos were downloaded, I had to agree that all the pain and effort made the terrible ordeal worthwhile.
Will I ever return to repeat the experience? No-no-no, I reckon not, but sometime this summer, I plan on riding that zipline down into the gorge.