Dragon Peaks October Newsletter
“ When men climb mountains, they go in search of themselves. They seek a greater mastery over self, mastery over their fears, a greater self knowledge and an enduring beauty that is not of this world” - Reg Pearse.
R.O. Pearse the great doyen of the Drakensberg wrote those words which epitomised in a few short words how he himself was embraced by this ‘Barrier of Spears’ that we call the Drakensberg. When the great Zulu Chief Shaka first gazed on these mountains, he was reputed to have exclaimed, “ Nantsi nQuathlamba” (spelling phonetic). “That” he said to his commanders, “is a barrier of spears” against all attacks from the West of his territory.
Today, particularly the Central Drakensberg, access to these mystical mountains is possible and in many cases, organised. For those of you that are regular visitors you may have been inclined to join the regular walks that occur into the ‘Little Berg’ undertaken by the ‘oldies’ that live in the area. Men such as Allan Leggitt and Anthony Muirhead are examples of this. They are living proof that age holds no barrier to personal achievement and, furthermore, are proof too of the fact that there is more to Homo Sapiens than that that meets the eye. I have long been of the opinion that a far greater mortal exists, that being a cross breed or ‘brak’ being Homo Sapiens and Oreamnus Americanus – better known as the Rocky Mountain Goat. These venerable gentlemen will scale the steep, slippery and twisting paths, cresting the Little Berg without as much as a puff or a pant. Reg Pearse belonged to this specie of humanoid. At the tender age of 90 he climbed Mount Memory or Sterkhorn with his son Malcolm and his Grandson. The mind boggles.
But you don’t need to be half man, half mountain goat to find your inner self here in the Drakensberg. Dragon Peaks, perhaps the most well known of Berg resorts, offers a wealth of options from affordable camping and cabins to more luxurious upmarket accommodation, and you are right in the middle of it. Just to rest your ‘laurels’ on a comfortable chair drinking in the beauty and the glory will revive your soul and rest your spirit. If like me, you are inclined to indulge to maximize a moment, a flip in Brett Tungay’s Bell Jet Ranger will unleash the long forgotten adrenalin languishing in their near dormant glands.
So whether it may be the first visit you are contemplating or you are a regular, the resort that is the ‘glove’ that fits all hands awaits you. I hope to see you one day soon.
Conor O’Hagan Ward
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