Zululand and on
Tuesday, 07 October 2008
Since Durban we have had a mental battle trying to keep focused and dragging our bodies day after day along the north coast freeways, zig-zagging between busy roads all heading up north to the border, dodging flying pieces of sugar cane, taxis and fighting the head on north wind only occasionally hitting the beach, some days our route has taken us way inland that I have felt I was going to see the west coast again. From a visual point we have been starved, but things suddenly changed. Running down the road to Sodwana bay, we were given a point to turn left onto a dirt road. For 15km this road ran straight towards the coast. As we ran the vegetation just got thicker and thicker, eventually we were running in a tunnel of greenery, a dense canopy of interlocking trees covered us with monkeys every were. As quick as the canopy had enclosed us, it now broke open and ahead of us was Lake Sibaya, Southern Africa’s biggest natural fresh water lake.
As far as one could see the lake stretched out to the horizon, a mass of molten mercury as it heaved and danced in the sunlight, outlined with a thin strip of white beach. Towards the east, towering above the lake and crowning it was a range of massive vegetated dunes, said to be up to 180 meters in height and the second tallest in the world. The crystal clear water quietly lapped against the shore line as we ran around the lake, totally entranced in the beauty, but very vigilant and on the look out for lazing crocodiles or Hippos coming out to graze. As I plodded along, I could hear the distant cry of a fish Eagle, every now and then a Red Duiker would shoot out across my path. In the distance we saw our first sighting of a pod of hippos, ears flapping as they lazily yawned and descended into the depths of the lake – what a privilege to be running in such undisturbed natural beauty.
A few kilometres further on we slowly wound up a track to the top of the dune ridge and down towards the coast again, it has been days now, the distant crash of the waves was a welcoming sound, a sound that has been such a part of my life over the past months, I have found it to be so soothing and relaxing. Hitting the beach I heard another familiar sound of sand squeaking under my shoes as I ran, and with this I knew it was beach all the way to the end. Turning and heading up the coast, I seemed to have a new bounce in my step and strength in my legs, for the first time on this whole journey I had reached the point that I was confident that my body will carry me to the end as its only about 65km to go.
The sun was slowly tumbling down on the horizon dragging the light with it leaving massive pink and grey drag marks across the sky, the tide was slowly bit by bit reclaiming the beach again, and with this the sand that we were left to run on was a lot softer underfoot and quite steep, but this does not matter, each step is now a step closer to home. I find it weird to say , but there comes a time with every journey when you know its now enough and all you want to do is get home and be with the ones you love and miss and who have sacrificed so much so that you can don this. I feel that I have reached this point, and I really miss my children and feel I need to get home.
As I ran on, the whole beach was awash with ghost crabs, thousand upon thousands running ahead of me, but as I got closer they would just ghost away disappear into the sea or sand and the beach instantly wiped clean of any trace of them. Much like this journey has been, the waves continuously wash away my footprints left behind on a daily basis, there remains no trace of my journey; all I hold are the memories.