Tuesday, July 6, 2010

STEPPING OUT OF THE RAT-RACE FOR OUR SHORT BREAK

GREETINGS FROM SOUTH AFRICA!!!
MAXMOM here...
(Dawn over Mpumalanga...
...from the cliffs of Graskop - Thaba Tchew)

Hello there to all my friends across the world!

Our destination was:
MPUMALANGA
A place which offers the most magnificent scenery, incredible views, reviving waterfalls and wonderful culture!
 It is a tourist's haven!
We booked to stay at the "Panorama resourt" in one of the 18 self-catering cottages which are perched on the edge of the North Eastern escarpment in South Africa. 
The African name for the little nearby town is
"THABA TCHEW"
(White mountain)
It is so called because of the mist which sometimes hangs over the edge of the cliffs and which provides crucial sustenance to the beautiful indigenous forests which clings to the mountain sides.

In the distance, the plains of the Kruger National park stretch out...
 ...but at our feet the deep gorge of pristine natural forest offers its song of contentment.


Sunbirds twitter and glow as they flit from one aloe flower to another...
In my opinion this is one of the most beautiful and scenic parts of our amazing country!
It is the romping ground of my childhood.
(The "Pinnacle"...Mpumalanga)

Our little cottage was very comfortable. Thankfully I knew that the climate was unpredictable so I'd taken along my feather duvet - a valuable asset during the very chilly nights.
The four days we spent there offered four very different climates. The days varied from thick mist and rain to clear blue skies with streaming sunshine and a view for miles. 
 We explored the curio shops on the rainy days and sampled the offerings of  various pancakes bars...


 When the sun came out, we visited the mighty BLYDE RIVER CANYON and took in its' magnificent views... 


 The nearby "POTHOLES" reminded us of the power of water and presenting their carved-out creations from millions of years of erosion.



Their depths are incomprehensible and photos don't do justice. Nevertheless my camera did overtime in a vain attempt to record everything and preserve my memories.

It was simply wonderful to be able to sit on edges of rocks whch overlooked the vast African landscape, to sniff the fresh air and take in the magnificent Geographical phenomena which surrounded us.

There is so much to see and explore in MPUMALANGA:
Caves, Waterfalls, Birds, views, African cafts as well as the local communities' efforts to sell their handmade creations - beadwork, wooden and sandstone sculptures, carved giraffes, beads, baubles, gemstones, tablecloths, hats and walking sticks. 

No visit to MPUMALANGA is complete without a visit to the preserved mining town of PILGRIMS REST with its ambience of stoic history of the gold rush and the futile hopes for monetary fortune. The little houses of cast iron sheeting still tell their tales of a difficult and daunting era which today is almost forgotten.







It was just so good to spend the evenings throwing together makeshift meals, to play cards or to retire to bed with a book. In the morning, the beckoning sunlight eventually invaded our bedroom and pulled us out of bed.  We had no alternative by to seize the day! The birds insisted on it too!

"GOD'S WINDOW" is also a sight to behold!...

It is an opportunity to stand on top of one of the highest cliff faces, surrounded by dense forest and to take in the incredible view of the plains below (about a kilometer below) which stretch into the distance of the vast African landscape.

It felt like a special pilgimage into the depths of my soul.
Africa has that special effect on me....
and I am not complaining!

Sending lotsaluv to you all,


38 comments:

The Rocky Creek Scotties said...

Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful trip with us. It touched my very soul.

xo
Lynn

Dom said...

Hi Maxmom!

Welcome back! Wow! what a lovely place. It's a place I have nver been to before and hope to go one day. Mpumalanga and the Western Cape are provinces I have not spent much time in. I will be making an effort to do so. The pictures are beautiful!
Take care
Love
D

Mango the Maltese kiddo said...

Breathtaking scenery!
I enjoyed viewing every photo in this post, the one I like most is the Potholes, whoa, what a million-year work of nature. And the handmade carved wood art by hoomans, oh Africa never stops amazing me.
Thanks for sharing!
Cheers!

Sheila and Bob said...

What magnificent photos and such beautiful surroundings, We hope you had a wonderful trip and rest.
Thanks for sharing.

Sheila & Bob

houndstooth said...

What beautiful scenery! You are truly blessed to be able to experience such beauty first hand. Those glass lamps in that window are so pretty!

houndstooth said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Amy and The House of Cats said...

Wow it looks so gorgeous there - it must have been such a relaxing place to visit!

♥I am Holly♥ said...

So many beautiful pictures! The views are wonderful! It really does look like paradise. Lots of love, Debbie and Holly

Jake of Florida said...

You've reignited my travel bug!!! How beautiful your country is. And how much we all long to step out of the "rat race," if only for a week or so. Although, even as I write this, I think of those who are longing to be part of the race with a good job -- one of the unsolved dilemmas of our world.

xxx Joan

MySpecialDoggies said...

What beautiful scenery and pictures! Here's hoping you have a great vacation.

Woofs,
Nadine Apples & Neeli

Mrs. JP said...

Magnificent views. It's awesome to see God's handiwork.

Benny and Lily said...

Oh my! What a beautiful area, scenery and canyon. The markets look like a lot of fun to stroll around in. Great photos
Benny & Lily

Khyra And Sometimes Her Mom said...

WOW sums it up in one furry small word!

Hugz&Khysses,
Khyra

Ms. ~K said...

I missed you!
What an incredible paradise, Thank you for sharing.
Welcome Home!
Hugs,
Kit

Sharper said...

wow! Those photos are breathtaking!

Minna Krebs said...

I am so glad you shared those amazing photos. You are showing me a view of South Africa that I never dreamed existed.

I was especially amazed by the 'potholes'....I can only think of WOW.

Also, the 'Carvings' or statuettes are just beautiful. Do they have a particular name or significance?

Thank you for brightening my day,

MinnaK

Maggie Mae said...

Hi MaxMom,
Welcome back!
Wow is the only word I can come up with too! Amazing scenery and beauty. Thanks for sharing!

Woofs and Licks,
Maggie Mae

Angus said...

That is just so wonderful. A reminder that you live in God's country. We'll get out of the habit of going to Plett and head north the next time.

The Life of Riley said...

Thank you for sharing another part of you country with us. The scenery is absolutely amazing, and from your photos and descriptions I can imagine myself standing there in that immeasurable space!

Tessa the Maltese said...

WOW is all that I keep saying when looking at your pictures!

The pictures are fantastic!

Your words are inspiring too.

Hugs, Tessa

Tessa the Maltese said...

WOW is all that I keep saying when looking at your pictures!

The pictures are fantastic!

Your words are inspiring too.

Hugs, Tessa

sprinkles said...

My computer is being annoying and won't load your pictures for some reason. It's only your blog and only today that's it's acting this way. I will have to try to visit another time as you always post the most amazing photos!

I hope you're having a very relaxing vacation, you deserve it!

Maggie and Mitch said...

Wow! What an incredible spot! Your photos are just awesome! What a vacation!

Love ya lots
Maggie and Mitch

Jacqueline said...

Absolutely gorgeous photos; I am so glad you enjoyed your time away at such a lovely place and it's extra special that you have wonderful childhood memories there...It is truly a stunning and magnificent area of your beautiful country...I am just back from an out of town trip due to family illness and hope everyone is well in your home...Kisses to your sweet babies; sending you love and hugs, Caryl.

KB said...

What amazing photos. Dawn looked spectacular, and the potholes are other-worldly. I'm glad that you had a relaxing and fun time. Thanks for sharing it with us.

The Thundering Herd said...

What spectacular views and beautiful countryside. As I have said before, my one great regret is a trip to S.A. with a previous employer that got cancelled.

Heather and Ellie said...

What absolutely stunning photos! Mpumalanga looks like the most heavenly place on earth. I especially love the potholes--just gorgeous!!!

KT and Lady said...

I am in awe of the beauty of Africa. Thank you so much for the wonderful post, pictures and personal notes. We love them very much. Lady sez if she ever comes to Africa, she wants to go to a pancake bar. Not that would be yummy....BOL

Tweedles -- that's me said...

Dear Maxmom
Thank you for taking the time to share with us.
You journey into the past and moving forward touches me.
I can feel the (Dawn over Mpumalanga...
...from the cliffs of Graskop - Thaba Tchew)
I close my eyes, and I can smell the very air that you all are breathing. I hear the birds flit. I can feel that solitude moment. I am letting it seep into my soul.
I want my inner self to be filled with this beauty.
I would love to sit on the cliffs, and look at the splendorious gift of nature.
I am thinking that you must hate to leave the moment, but this beauty is always there for you to grasp its hand and walk down the paths of memory's. You will return again, I am sure.
You have been blessed to see all this, but you are also giving in sharing all of this with us.
And what can I give in exchange- only words that say thank you.
You are my soul friend from South Africa.
love
tweedles

Milo and Alfie Marshall said...

What absolutely beautiful photos ~ thank you so much for sharing them.

Samantha said...

Oh Maxmom! What a lovely spot to visit for a few days! WOW! Such wonders that nature provides - a feast for the eyes for sure! I love those potholes - truly incredible and powerful what liquid can do, given time! Beautiful pictures of such a gorgeous place and wonderful writing - thank you for my own little mini-vacay this am!
Hugs xoxoxo
Sammie and Ma

Scout 'n Freyja said...

Totally GORGEOUS. South Africa is not only the Cradle of Civilization - I also see Paradise. What a beautiful creation - God took a little extra effort when He sat down at the drawing board to produce your corner of the globe. Thank you so much for sharing such lovely sights with all of us. Of course, the next best thing would be to actually see for myself...☺

Bouncing Bertie said...

Wow it all looks so beautiful. I wish I could go there some day! But I am a bit puzzled about the title to this post. Why would anyone want to step out of the rat race? I mean, is that supposed to be a good thing? I can think of few things I'd enjoy more than racing rats!!
Toodle pip!
Bertie.

Tom, Tama-Chan, Sei-Chan, Yuu-Chan and Bibi-Chan said...

What a stunning place! Thank you for sharing it with us.

Kari said...

Breathtaking! Unbelievably breathtaking! We've only seen photos of South Africa. Usually the lovely game reserves and pretty beaches and towns. Nothing like this. Almost like Shangra-la. It is really a mystical place. And lucky you to have known it as a child.
Memories to cherish forever.

The Bumpass Hounds said...

Hey MaxMom,
Boy that sure was a GRand excursion that y'all took. What a beautiful place you visited. SA certainly has something for everyone.
- TBH&K.

caboval said...

Those photos are breathtaking!!! I loved the ones with the holes carved in the water!!!! Thanks for sharing!!! Hugs Joey and Kealani

Deborah said...

WOW, that is so beautiful!
xxoo
Deborah