An early morning start with mist whirling around us was the introduction to Mbona Private Game Reserve. A cooler day compared to the week of hell hot that we have had, was a welcome relief. Six of us set off, ably led by our leader from Karkloof Conservancy, up a steep slope into a natural forest. With no view being available we looked at what was closer to us.
Previously when I did this hike, I was so focused on the beautiful views, that I did not pay close attention to the wonders of nature much closer in my visual space. After the beautiful rains, and the heat, the slopes we alive with a variety of different flowers, all beautifully draped with dew crystals. Vast expanses of bright red paper flowers could not be captured with a camera. The mind memory has to take these photos and keep them in my head. The mist kept us focused from forest to grasslands and back to forest. Clambering through the path to the incredible giant Yellow Wood forest. These trees are giants in their natural habitat. A story book feeling. So peaceful, with the noises of nature being calming and easily receptive to the human ear. We sat in silence for a time without speaking, without any interaction, to enjoy the sounds of living nature. I could have stayed for much longer and just listened and looked. The return journey continued to be shrouded in mist. We found the most incredible Lemon Wood trees with hollow centers and all branches coming out of the hollow center being solid, large and incredible.
From ringing stones, to flowers, to fungi to spider holes we enjoyed all. With a sense of awe at natures creation our hike was slowed to a pace that allowed us to truly interact with nature. To slow down. To be tactile. Enjoy the natural smells. To feel emotionally, mentally and physically.
In today’s world of frenetic functionality we need to stop. We need to give ourselves time to regenerate away from screens and everyone else’s opinion. We have to have time to be creative, interactive and to find solitude. Be happy and comfortable in our own skins. This hike was all of that and more.