My girlfriend doesn’t like to gym. Nope. She prefers to sit on the edge of her expensive Newlands seat watching sport; when the Springboks do to Ireland this June what they are expected to do – that is, destroy them – her and I will do the same to cases of beer over the same period. Destroy, destroy, destroy.
For our South Africaness, much of our mood in the upcoming months will depend on the ability of the green and gold to do just that, to destroy; no doubt, our love affair with the sport will culminate when the All Blacks bring their Kiwi selves to the Republic and we are left biting our nails to yet another thriller. Ah, there is nothing quite like test match rugby Saturday, is there?
This blog however, has nothing to do with that – nor the Irish demolition that will precede it. Rather it has to do with her, with my girlfriend, and her dislike for exercise in the traditional sense. Now, she is not lazy – no, not at all – she just genuinely dislikes the boredom of boring ol’ running and gyming. And I don’t blame her. I mean, why treadmill when you can Cape Town? Why live through the sweats of taebo when you can climb the steps to the Cape ceiling and sweat buckets while you’re doing it? Yes, heaven is up here somewhere and hiking to it can be as awe-inspiring for the soul as it is good for the body.
When you live in a city that’s built atop a wilderness, it’s very easy balancing nature and concrete. For a 10 minute drive southwards we arrived at one of the most breath-taking hiking trails this side of the world. What’s more, it’s perhaps the most beautiful in the world considering its proximity to the city, which to be fair, is the city. I didn’t leave Cape Town at all. I didn’t go searching for wilderness by road trip to find a hike somewhere far off. It was right here, a wilderness where I work and drive and buy my food – a wilderness with views of my house.
There are many mountains and hills that split Cape Town into its bits and along them many trails to explore them. This past weekend we but touched the very tip of them while squeezing free the cholesterol from our veins. We did much sweaty work finding the perfect view and succeeded: from those angles, from up there, Cape Town looks a miniature sort of wonderful with its toy houses and roads spaced between its pretty velds and farms. What’s better, it’s the first of many views that lay sprawled out beyond that, that, according to a map, end somewhere 2000kms north of here near Musina. Yes, for hikers, South Africa truly is a paradise.
No place in the world will allow you, within its borders, to hike the greyness of the Cape mountains, the khaki of the Kruger koppies, the deep green of the Tsitsikama, the rolling sand dunes of the Kgalagadi, the theatres of the sugar-tipped bergs and of course, the colourfulness of the Namaqualand bloom like South Africa does. And certainly, no place will offer you Africa’s big five while doing so – not to mention the not insignificant cameos of whale smiles along its Cape walks. As such, it’s no coincidence that my girlfriend does not enjoy the type of exercise enjoyed by mere mortals. Because why would she gym with mortals when she could walk with the Gods? Makes sense to me.