Hiking at Oliphants River Lodge

I was told these mark the start of the trail, but I still did a double take, because there is a leopard here and if I was very fortunate, she would show herself. But no, I was not so fortunate!

Whoever marked this trail has a great sense of humor. Those little human paws better pick up their pace!

Close behind, the lion stalks it’s prey! Pretty entertaining, but I do look over my shoulder occasionally.

Interesting facts on the trail, the Latin name, and in Africaan and English, the two main official languages in South Africa. There are 13 official other languages of the tribes, as well. The Africaans wanted their children to only read and write Africaan in school, not English, which was the language of their hated oppressor. Hated because they outlawed slavery in 1820, for starters. As well as stole the land when gold and diamonds were discovered.

The local blacks (native tribes, such as the Zulu) and coloreds (mostly Malaysians and Indians, brought here as slaves, and mixed races) adamantly did not want their children to learn Africaan, the language of their hated oppressors. Although I was told, and have read, that many of the Boers were kind to their slaves, others not so much. So their schools teach children to read and write English. In their home they learn their family’s language. In the neighborhood they pick up two or three other local languages. 
These folks often speak six languages, as one of the Methodist ministers does. 
But I forgot to tell you about the Methodist minister’s convention at Oliphants River Lodge. It was a group of about 200 people and I ate all my meals with them and got to meet several. More about this later!
The English set up an English government, naturally. With a Parliment, justice system and administration, but each branch is in a different city miles apart. Pretoria is the administrative capital. Bloemfontein is the Justice capital. Farthest away is the Parliament, in Cape Town. As you might expect, the entire government operates in English. 
While many Africaaners can speak English now, it is common they do not read and write English. And many of the blacks and coloreds do not speak Africaan. I heard more than one person complain to me about the complications of so many official languages. Even the first University of Stellenbosch is still taught in Africaan. It will be interesting to see if the language situation ever changes.

Looking back at Oliphants River Lodge from the trail.

Lichen the lime green on reddish rocks.

Ha, ha, this warning sign is near the end of the trail. I opted for the longer route home on the trail , instead of wading across the river. Perhaps on the other side they would have a warning sign about crocodiles.  No worries! I really do not think there are crocodiles here.

Back at the Lodge.

Another view of the river and countryside.


Death Valley and Grand Canyon watercolor diary, spring 2017