When Manilow shouted his ‘moro, moro’ this morning, no-one was really interested, least of all the children who only stuck heads out of cabins a bit later on. Manilow had to ‘moro, moro’ again on this, our final day of the walk. I eventually left my queen’s bed for a good cup of coffee and the calling of another gorgeous day.
It began along the river over rocks that seemed to have solidified while in motion. Ripples, small waves, ridges and pot-holes held a molten lava nature and a seemingly living spirit, and led us into the sandy riverbed where baboons watched us from above, barking at our presence.
This was a chance for a last swim before heading up to the plateau to ‘end on high’. We could see Horseshoe Camp high up on the ridge for most of the day, but it remained a silhouette on the mountain-top as we walked over a pebble plain, collecting coloured stones. Acknowledging the wisdom of the mountain zebras, we followed their trail up the mountain. As we ascended, we could clearly see the horseshoe bend in the river. On reaching the top, the group split into two. Those who were weary made their way to the camp and the rest went on to a higher viewpoint and an area with elephant-hide dolomite rocks, ‘desert pavement’, spiky Euphorbia virosa and prickly Hoodia plants.
We joined the others at the camp for snacks, drinks and stone competitions and watched people’s reactions after they returned from showering with a view of the gods. One of the hikers reappeared sparklingly clean and suitably awed. “It’s one of the best showers in Africa,” he exclaimed and then quickly changed it to “No, it IS the best shower in Africa!”
Frederik’s famous lamb potjie simmered on the fire, the colours over the canyon deepened, the mules made their way back home to the mule station and we enjoyed sundowners, toasting Life as the sun set behind a canyon wall. Warmth, laughter and happy chatter filled the cabin before everyone dispersed to their tents. We had also filled in the guestbook lying on the worn wooden counter. A quote by Jan Smuts called Spirit of the Mountains was pasted in the front. I copied it into my notebook:
‘The mountains uphold us and the stars beckon to us. The mountains of our lovely land will make a constant appeal to us to live the higher life of joy and freedom.’
... ‘When we reach the mountain summits, we leave behind all the things that weigh heavily down below on our body and our spirit.
‘… we must cultivate this great spirit of joyous freedom and uplift of the soul. We must practise the religion of the mountain down in the valleys also.’
And so it was.
Ron Swilling is a freelance writer, based in Cape Town, writing for Namibian and South African publications. She is a regular contributor to Gondwana’s History and Stamps&Stories columns and documented the intriguing information of the Wild Horses in Namibia for Mannfred Goldbeck and Telané Greyling. She invites you to ‘Follow her footsteps’ on her journey from the Orange River, exploring the Gondwana routes through the intriguing country of Namibia.