Walking the Dargle – Perfect Preparation

7am, Wednesday 7th January, Penny is at it again!  Letters, lists, laughter and love envelope her Howick homestead as she puts the final touches to tomorrow’s river walk.  Pandora captures the magic of the preparation day in words and pictures:


Dove song plays on the ear and the warm KwaZulu-Natal sun streams in at the open door like a musical stave that holds the sweet notes.

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It’s been four months since the Lion’s River walk and I’m back on the team, this time for the whole of the Dargle.  My senses are sharpened, my attention focused, my imagination soars and my pulse is quickened with anticipation for tomorrow’s walk.  I’m back in my role behind the camera, a place I love to be, framing and re-framing the beauty all around me!

Penny places some coloured pillows in a little nook and we settle down to still our thoughts, give thanks and contemplate our journey ahead and our role as River Guardians.  Prev is perfectly dressed for the occasion, the colours in his rich red caftan capture the essence of our feelings in our little ceremony.

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By lunchtime we are all packed in and before driving out into the Dargle, Penny does a presentation for the Midlands Meander Education Project facilitators.


Despite the seriousness of the topic and the threat it poses to our water resources, health and environment, we are happy to be working together to grow our children’s love for and knowledge of our natural world.  We need to work with cooperacy and cohesion. Understanding the human impact on the world and finding ways to transform the way we live and think is a daunting task.


This is Dargle Conservancy country.


It is beautiful!


How wonderful that these landowners can work together in this way to conserve our natural heritage for current and future generations!


As storm clouds pull over the verdant green hills, we get our first glimpse of the Petrusstroom, one of the many streams in Dargle.  We can’t wait to walk.


From the summit, high in the hills, the first four kilometres of this 18km long river meanders through pristine indigenous forest with magnificent yellowwood trees.


It flows through ten landholdings before meeting the uMgeni River just upstream of Midmar Dam.

We arrive at the most beautiful farm, the original old stone farmhouse of the original late 1800’s farm, Dargle.


We are surrounded by welcoming dogs and gentle horses grazing along the banks of the Petrusstroom.


It’s time to unpack our panga’s and sharpen our wits for the walk ahead,


Ziplock our supplies

IMG_2635Explore a little


Cook a hearty delicious supperIMG_2668

And enjoy the warm hospitality and luxury setting of the beautiful old barn wedding venue so generously made available by Carl Bronner of Old Kilgobbin Farm.

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As I watch the mist roll in over this magical valley and mull over the stories Penny has related of landowners, projects and passion of past, present and future,  my heart is full of hope.


Tomorrow we follow the river for love and science, for healthy rivers, healthy people and a happy earth.

IMG_2638 We will be up at sparrows.


Do join with us in our quest!  Thanks to Midlands Conservancies Forum for support and fundraising for this, and N3 Toll Concession for putting up the money.



About Nikki Brighton

I live in Howick, between the river and the hills. I enjoy pre-dawn walks in the streets with my dog, sitting on the veranda with crochet and tea, and harvesting vegetables outside the kitchen door.
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3 Responses to Walking the Dargle – Perfect Preparation

  1. Liz Gow, Western Cape says:

    WhooHoo, the KZN Midlands Dream Team of River Walkers is at again, yippee! Walk safely travellers, dream well and your task is rewarded. Liz

  2. aclownn says:

    Beauty!!! Wish I could be there.

  3. Ashley Crookes says:

    Sounds like a great cause – have fun guys!

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