Summer 2022 J-Term Blog: The Drakensberg Mountains
South Africa J-Term Blog #5
We left the game reserve with some crazy memories and heart-racing experiences. Now, we head off to the Drakensberg Mountains.
Along the route, as it was a five-hour drive, we got the opportunity to stop at the Nelson Mandela Capture Site in Howick, South Africa. We read all about the history of Mandela’s impact on our world and how he played a role in destroying apartheid in South Africa. It was very sombering and extremely enlightening to learn about a piece of history that we don’t really get taught about in America.
After that, the rest of the day was spent traveling to our next accommodation, The Old Hatchery. None of us were expecting the drop in temperatures — it felt like a Wisconsin November! Luckily, heated blankets in our cabins helped us survive the weather.
Our trek up the Sani Pass in the Drakensberg Mountains begins!
We all loaded into 4x4s, which are the only thing that can drive up the mountain, and set out for our “African Massage” (aka the bumpiest car ride of your life). The views were breathtaking and nothing like the mountains we see in the United States!
After two different border control stations, we arrived at the top of the mountain and crossed over into a small country inside of South Africa — Lesotho. This country is a kingdom, and its highest point reigns at 11,424 feet above sea level — meaning we saw snow on the first day of June! In Lesotho, we went into a local village and learned about their culture and traditions, including their extensive bread-making skills.
We then walked across the village and ate lunch at the Highest Pub in Africa, at 9,429 feet high. The Sani Pass, where this pub is located, runs between the countries of South Africa and Lesotho, and it was originally built in the early 1900s as a trade and bridal route traversed by pack mules and their human companions. The designers of the lodge capitalized on this fact by building the pub right on the border, giving you the chance to sip a brew and snack on some curry with feet in both countries at the same time!
— Morgan Tracy ’22
About the study tour
Service Learning in Communities — Nkume Primary School
May 23-June 6, 2022
This study abroad trip begins in a rural region of South Africa where our outreach work at Nkume Primary School continues. Students will have the opportunity to make a tangible difference in the lives of the students who attend the school through education, school maintenance projects, and planting new crops in the recently established vegetable garden.
The next part of our adventure takes us on an exhilarating safari experience to search for the Big Five (leopard, lion, elephant, rhino, and buffalo); a moment of solace in the ancient Drakensberg Mountains; and a journey along the Eastern Cape’s iconic Garden Route and complete the experience with a trip at one of South Africa’s most sought-after coastal towns. Learn more