Walking Update 13: Back to the Treadmill

Almost exactly one year ago on the 8th August 2012 I started a walking for exercise project  and called it Walking Wednesdays http://wp.me/p2BDQm-4S  2012/08/08.

In the meantime, life happened and I was forced to abandon the walking due to a foot problem. Now 6 months after my foot operation, I am able to resume my walking programme.

In my previous series of walking posts I explored the beautiful Eastern cape region from East London to Coffee Bay.

As it is August and time for the arid areas of the Cape West Coast and the semi desert of Namaqualand to be transformed into a floral wonderland, I chose this area for my next destination. These wild flowers are one of the natural wonders of the world and attract many tourists, artists and photographers from around the world each year.

flowers N

The flowers usually start flowering in late July or early August. The sun shines from the north in spring and as the flowers only open when the sun is shining, they usually face north. Therefore, it is best to approach the flowers from the north, starting at the small town of Springbok and the Goegap Nature Reserve.

flowers3

The flower season is dependent on the winter rains, the wind and other weather factors, and the displays vary from place to place each season.The towns along the route are small and one can usually get good information on the best places to view the flowers from the friendly locals.

map N

So I invite you to join me each Wednesday as I report on another town along this route from Springbok in the north to Clan William in the south .

Confessions of an Armchair Walker

Few people may have noticed that I neglected to update my walking progress the past few weeks. When I started blogging and added the walking update posts I promised myself that I will be honest and not cheat on this aspect. So here is my confession!

There has been no walking for at least three to four weeks, actually I lost track of the time.

Now, I can offer many excuses such as:

My aching knee and hip joints prevent me from walking for exercise.

I am too busy with end of year activities.

I am simply too tired.

My mother’s illness and the amount of time I spend with her. prevent me from walking.

All of them valid, but not all convincing. The actual truth is, I am lazy and once I broke the routine I find it so difficult to start again. In the meantime I was armchair walking and still researched the wonderful area of the Eastern Cape where I was at the time of my previous update.

Today I wish I was here instead of in a rainy Pretoria surrounded by stacks of work which have to be finished before the long awaited summer holidays starts.

Hole-in-The-Wall

In the Coffee Bay area this natural wonder called The Hole in the Wall can be found. When reading about it, I learned that the indigenous Xhosa people have another name for this place . They call it ” izi Khaleni ” ( place of thunder)  because at certain times of the year waves crash through the hole so violently that the sound it makes, is like thunder. Apart from the scientific explanation that the waves have been eating away at the soft rock layers in the cliff face to form this almost perfect hole, there are many legends surrounding this amazing place.

Hole-in-The-Wall (1)

Photo credit: www.zoover.co.uk/south-africa/oostelijke…/hole-in-the-wall/photos

My favourite is this one:

The Xhosa people have a far more intriguing story to tell. Their local legend tells the tale of a young girl who lived in a small village near the sea. Near her village was a landlocked lagoon that was blocked from the ocean by a sheer cliff face. Her people often told stories of people who lived in the sea, completely human except for supple wrists and flipper-like hands and feet.

One day, while walking near her village, the young girl spotted one of these semi-deities. The sea-person was struck by the human girl’s beauty and was determined to win her heart. But the people of the village were aghast at the idea of the match and the girl’s father forbade her to ever see him again.

Deeply offended by the villagers’ reactions, the sea people vowed to help the young lovers be together. One night, as the tide rose, they gathered on the ocean-side of the cliff-face. With the help of a huge fish, they repeatedly rammed the rock until they broke through. All of the sea people swam through into the lagoon, singing and shouting with joy.

The villagers hid in fear and the young girl and her lover took the  opportunity to disappear into the night – never to be seen again. Some people say that you can still hear the singing and joyous cries of the sea people if the wind blows exactly right…

Information found here: Legend of Hole in the Wall http://www.gotravel24.com/theme/feature-focus/legend-hole-wall

After reading this romantic legend I now have to return to reality and work!

Walking Update 9

This week I am well on track with the walking again. I managed my goal of three walking sessions during the week.

As I found myself on a  deserted and undeveloped stretch of coastline, I cheated a little bit and skipped this part  to start my walk at the beautiful Kob Inn near Mazeppa bay.

The Beautiful Kob Inn in Transkei

My research revealed a very attractive hiking trail to someone like me  who doesn’t like camping, called the Hotel Hopping Trail. The Hotel Hopping Trail is described as a luxury slackpacking trail. This hike apparently does not require a great measure of fitness and allows time to wander and enjoy the environment.Hikers walk during the day from one hotel to another and spend the night sleeping at a hotel.   The hiking distances between the hotels are not very far, allowing time for a leisurely lunch and a swim along way. Best of all the hikers do not carry their own luggage as it is transferred between hotels. Sounds like just the kind of hike that I will enjoy! Read more here: Hotel- Hopping Trail  

Walking Update 8

After going through a week of upheaval and being totally out of my normal routine, life is slowly returning to  the ordinary again.Today I started my walking on the tread mill routine again and walked for 15 minutes. It is amazing how quickly one looses the fitness reached, but I am told that  I will pick it up again faster than before.

I am still wandering around in the Eastern Cape, on the long stretch of the Wild Coast between Kei Mouth and Mazeppa Bay. You might remember that  although I walk on the treadmill in my home, I put up a map on the wall and  in my mind’s eye I am visiting places of interest along this beautiful part of the South African Coast. This is the only way that I can tolerate the boredom of walking on the treadmill for excercise. It gives me the incentive to walk, as I can then do some desk travel on the internet.

On this part of the coast I came across a little gem of a family hotel and holiday destination called Trennery’s.( photos from this website ) 

Horse riding on the beach
Eastern Cape culture
Fishing

I undertake to walk more this coming week and to update with more of my wanderings along the coast.

Walking Update 6

This week I managed 8 km again!

I think, no I know there are many out there who would snicker behind their hands at my achievement. Those who run or walk 10km or more per day would not be able to comprehend the mountainous achievement that 8 km is for me.

Anyway I don’t mind what others think of my efforts, I know what it means to me and therefore I will continue on my slow but sure way and have fun too.

Kei River Pont

This week I started out at the Kei River where I travelled with the pont one of only two car ferries  in South Africa  across the mighty Kei River to  the village of Kei Mouth. I the visited the Hazel Jefferies Shell museum as I have always been fascinated by shells of any kind.

Shell at the Museum

Then I walked along the coast line to the Qolora River Mouth. My goal was the wreck of the Jacaranda. On the night of 18 September 1971 the ship Jacaranda stranded here in windy stormy seas when her engines failed. As she was a cargo ship, only the captain, his wife and 14 crew members were on board.   They abandoned ship using a rope ladder which they strung from the ship’s prow to the nearby rocks. I had to pass a few cows relaxing on the beach ( a rare sight indeed) to reach the wreck of which only the bow remains today.

Jacaranda Shipwreck at Qolora
Cows on the Beach

Photos from this link:  Qolora Eastern Cape 

Then it was on to the Trennerys Hotel which I should reach by next week

Walking Update 5

Cefani Mouth at sunrise
Cefani Mouth Resort

Photos from the  website of  Cefani Mouth Resort

Five weeks ago I stared out on  my walking project and I must confess I wondered whether I would make it to Chefane. Now here I am !!! I really did stick to the walking and I learnt a lot about this wonderful part of the South African coastline. One thing I learnt about myself is that I am generally physically a bit ( yes more than just a bit) lazy. I would much rather read a book or do something creative with my hands than exercise. However the idea of  being able to research another destination to walk to, combined with my  fear of failure motivated me and after five weeks I think I have established  a pattern.

During the five weeks I covered a distance of 30 km as I made a slight detour inland in week 4. Now after having reached the first goal I decided to go to Morgan Bay and the Kei Mouth area as I saw that there are many wonderful and interesting places  to visit.In the next few weeks I will slowly make my way along the coast. I am looking forward to my next few weeks and the adventures I will experience albeit only in my imagination.

Morgans Bay and Kei Mouth Map