An African Fish-Eagle circled over Mngeni Vlei this morning with impeccable timing as the team of walkers arrived for the first day of their walk along the uMngeni River. This was a good omen for the venture because the walk is due to end at the African Fish-Eagle trial at the uMngeni Estuary in Durban in a month’s time. The eagle also has been named the bird of the year 2012 by BirdLife South Africa.
When the team and their supporters gathered at Drinkkop on the Lake Lyndhurst estate it was as if the Midlands had put her best foot forward to entertain us. The Drakensberg range lay in the distance, above our heads was only blue sky and below the vleilands stretched into the distance. A drainage line down the side of the kop lead to the eye of the river where a trickle of water emerged from the soil. Champagne could not have tasted better than the clear water flowing over rocks and tumbling down a gentle cascade, the first on its route to the coast.
In a touching ceremony the team emptied a gourd containing a beer brewed by sangomas who gave their blessings on the river and their project. They also collected water from the source in an ostrich egg which Penny will carry with her on the walk. This they will empty into the sea at the end of their journey. Then they gathered to say a prayer and they were off.
Voorspoed en sterkte!