Penny has been doing a little exploring. Naturally, she is curious about where the uMngeni river actually begins and how it gets from the top of the uMngeni Vlei plateau down into the Dargle valley. Last week, she ventured onto the Fort Nottingham commonage where besides the Kamberg, Giant’s Castle and Inhlosane, she could also see uMngeni Poort. This is where the river exits the vlei and cascades down the cliffs.
Yesterday, she was taken on a tour of the upper uMngeni River area – to New Forest. “I am still stunned at the beauty of the area.” she said this morning. The river winds it’s way through a long, narrow, twisted valley with clear water burbling and tumbling over jet black dolerite rocks. The stream banks are dotted with wild flowers. Steep slopes rise up 200 metres above the river, grassland on the north and west slopes and extensive indigenous forest covering the south and east slopes, from bottom to top. The calls of forest birds echo back and forth, and the cool shade provides relief from the hot sun. Looming above it all, a lone hill crowned with vertical cliffs topped by grassland seems to stand as a silent guardian of this area known as uMngeni Poort. The atmosphere of the area is absolute tranquility, peace and untouched creation. Mother Earth as she should be. Hard to believe that this is the same river that enters the sea at Blue Lagoon, muddied, polluted and filled with debris.
Penny adds “The source of the river is close by – 200 metres above on a plateau which we can access by road. But then we have to follow the river down from there. It is going to be an interesting exercise – maybe we need a crash course in descending mountains. I haven’t abseiled in years!”