After hiking Klipriviersberg last weekend, and seeing how amazing the trails would be to do a run on, I decided to make my way there this past Saturday for an early morning solo trail run. Starting at around 7:00, the air still had a chill in as I warmed up and made my way heading up the left hand path from the gate.
The vibe is really something when you’re in nature early, it’s a quiet stillness before the world has woken up properly. I made my way along the path, and then decided to take an offshoot path heading towards one of the peaks. It was one of those “this kind of looks like a path, but could just be a waterway or similar”. Most of the time, unless there is a strong dead end, these are quite fun to explore on 🙂
As I made my way down, I became more and more certain that wherever I was was not a proper path, but heading down is much easier than up. A noticeable difference between Johannesburg hiking and Cape Town hiking is the amount of thorn bushes. They are everywhere in Johannesburg, so be warned – wear long pants and a light jacket to protect your arms and legs.
I eventually ended up joining the main path again, and in the middle of an opening I saw movement. On taking a closer look, I saw that there was a water buck as well as a herd of Springbok, around seven or eight. This was the last thing I expected to see on the trail, and was really exciting. They headed away from me and I thought that was the last of our encounter. Carrying on, I looked across the valley and saw more wild life – what looked like could be buffalo. I had no idea to be honest, just seeing Springbok had blown my mind.
I made my way back to the single track heading along the mountain. What happened next left me speechless. As I was running along, I looked ahead and saw the entire herd of Springbok right in front of me. I mean, like 20 meters in front of me. They would wait until I came closer, and then hop away, I would catch up and they would hop away again. I ran like this with the Springbok for around 500m. This was a dream. Getting pics was nearly impossible though, they are really fast and really good at hiding in the bush 🙂 After my encounter, I soaked it in and started to make my way across the pipe that crossed over the valley.
I started heading back towards the entrance, thinking about the fantastic experience that had just happened. Next thing, in front of me, was the wildlife I had seen earlier. It was a herd of Zebra and a few wild horses (?!). I could not believe what I was experiencing. Very gingerly I made my way closer as I moved along the single track. They didn’t seem all that interested in me, but when you see how big these animals actually are you realise how little it would take for them to seriously injure you. At the closest, they were under 10 meters away from me.
Once I was a decent enough distance away to not startle them I started the run again. Even as I type this, I cannot believe that I ran with Springbok and was meters away from these beautiful animals, free and in the wild. It is an amazing and strange feeling to face these animals, while in their territory and completely defenceless.