I have enjoyed and appreciated the surroundings around our house, Base Camp for Unravel Travel, for the past month and half more than what I can describe with words. But this was done on my own or in the company of our in-house explorer and hike leader Etienne. We have not yet been privileged enough to share these surroundings with anyone else, and perhaps this is also the way it should have been as we needed time alone to become adjusted to the magnificently large wild garden that surrounds our house. Without proper adjustment on our part we can hardly be expected to be able to fully share the joy and wonder of that which we do not yet feel and know in ourselves.
So on this day, when we felt ready to share our blessings, we also happened to have some very special guests, my Parents, who came all the way from Cape Town to visit us for the weekend. We set out on our hike, with Etienne leading the way. He has made good use of the past month and a half and has explored, planned and laid out numerous breathtaking hikes criss-crossing the square kilometre upon square kilometre of Eden that exists around our new base camp. We followed cattle paths that mark out the easiest way and only here and there Etienne led us slightly astray so as to appreciate a better view.
Cattle, while very good at cutting paths through the wild bush, obviously do not have aesthetic or scenic principles in mind when walking to get to a point. Their walking, one could say, is Utilitarian as it is no more than a means to an end: to get them to water or food. While our walking is of course an end in and of itself. We walk to appreciate the walk and everything that comes with it: breathtaking views of stunning scenery, wild life and amazing plants. We walked past an Aloe Ferox plant that must have been at least three metres tall. This kind of growth could only have taken place over at least 50 – 70 years, and to think that this plant grew there naturally and has been doing so, undisturbed, for so long. Incredible! You see these plants all along the main roads in this part of the world as they are very common in this area, but nowhere where humans have interfered for the worse do you find them this tall.
These Cattle paths that exist throughout the surrounding country side are a blessing, as they make walking a lot easier. One does not have to struggle through the sometimes very thick plant life and so one can appreciate much more walking in one day, in a relaxed way, without the need to worry about much other than following the path. Provided of course that someone else, more experienced, walked the path already and have at least some idea as to where it leads and how long it would take to get back from there. Hence the need for an in-house explorer willing to create a mental map of the surrounding area. And for that ladies and gentleman we have a top notch and very enthusiastic naturalist and explorer in our friend Etienne.
We walked a path that leads you to the top of the highest ridge visible from our house, from where the view of our base camp is indescribably beautiful, surrounded by trees and on the edge of the river. From there we followed the setting sun down the north-western side of the ridge and in the distance, as far as the eyes could see, lay an expanse of rolling hills and mountain ranges.
It is not my aim, and I will not even attempt to describe the beauty of what we saw. For that you need to visit us. But it is my sincere hope that you will look at the photos (posted with this entry) taken by our very own very competent photographer. These are there for your appreciation, and we share them with you freely and openly. We do this in the hope that we may inspire you. Not only inspire you to visit us and allow us to allow you to have your breath taken away by the beauty that surrounds you, but also to inspire you to go out and find that beauty wherever you are.
The natural world, my friends, is beautiful beyond description or comparison and we, as mere humans, can do no more than hope and aspire to be like it. Our beautiful world is destroyed by fear and healed and nurtured by love. The love of its beauty. And the world is in desperate need of people who seek out beauty and love wherever they may look. The world is in need of people who create love and therefore beauty by looking for it in others and the natural world around them. We create what we look for around ourselves. And if we want to continue to appreciate the beauty of the natural world we must create the beauty, in our own lives and in the lives of others, that the natural world gives to us everyday. It gives this beauty to us without asking for anything in return. All it asks for is that we appreciate what it gives us. That is what we at Unravel Travel hope to inspire in you. The appreciation, and therefore also the creation of beauty.