If you allow yourself to be fully present, travel can have a spiritual dimension, taking you out of your mind’s clutter and awakening you to the glorious unbounded present.
Adam’s Krantz at the Great Fish River Reserve is 1 of those places and moments for me. Even now I close my eyes and see it so clearly it feels that I’m there.
Yesterday I stumbled across my notes from my last visit:
'After 20 minutes' drive from the farmhouse, you reach the viewpoint, down a little path all pretty with Old Man’s beard hanging from trees, blue plumbago and clambering purple bush violet in flower, a spray of orange Cape honeysuckle, yellow daisies, the pink flowers of the crossberry bush.
'The path opens out into flattish rocks, just begging to be sat upon, with the vast expanse of the Great Fish River below, taking a giant bow around a great spit or peninsula of land.
Never-tamed places, I think, are holier than others, because they are still whole.
'The space has a texture and a sound here. Below, the faraway gliding music of a wild river running, the honk of hippos rising in the late afternoon light. To the right, the barks of baboons duelling on cliffs. All about us, thick succulent spekboom, from which a red-winged starling gives friendly chirrups. Far away, a sweet yammering lament from a pair of jackals.
'The air is clean and mild, ruffling our hair.
'Looking down, we realise we are on the Xhosa side of the Fish River, where fierce frontier wars were fought. Settler country. Here you can see history, environment (an ecologically intact river and its gorge) as well as geography.
'On a rocky buttress leaning against the cliffs, a half-dozen dassies have clustered, sunning themselves in the very last rays of the sun. When last did I feel such peace?
'Never-tamed places, I think, are holier than others, because they are still whole. Natural cathedrals.
'Here you feel wrapped in a natural system, as it breathes, in its rest.'