Report and photos courtesy of Keith Ashton
[CLICK ON PHOTOS TO VIEW FULLSIZE - or view pics in accompanying SIMPLEVIEWER Presentation]
We assembled at the bottom of Mare St in Howick, opposite some nicely refurbished small shops (previously Thabos Antiques).
Our first section of the hike followed along the now scenic Symmonds Stream - A cleaned-up & cleared area along the course of the stream which is now a conservancy & the upkeep is maintained by a group of volunteers called "Friends of Symmonds Stream" trying to conserve our environment.
The next section of our hike continues to climb to the top of Beacon Hill, the area now declared a "Protected Area" for 99 years, again due to the dedication of a group of environmentalists, now known as "Friends of Beacon Hill" - Margaret & I are members of both of these conservancies. Being one of the highest points in Howick lovely 360 degree views can be appreciated, including the view over Midmar Dam. A large variety of wild flowers can be seen throughout the year around Beacon Hill, some of which are now quite rare & this is one of the main reasons why the area has been officially declared a "Protected Area".
Our final section of the hike was descending Beacon Hill into Lake View Road, then across Howick Main road & down Plane Crescent to near the Howick Scouts Hut close to the Umgeni River. We followed the river downstream & along the river banks which is a lovely walk. The walking area is looked after by another group of volunteers & we should be grateful to them. Part way along the river it was time for a longer rest & lunch in an open area behind the adjacent houses. From the photos you will unfortunately see what is necessary to try & secure properties in South Africa with razor wire etc which we are all now accustomed to.
1. Assembled outside lovely recently refurbished shops (previously Thabos Antiques)
2. Start of the Symmonds Stream Conservancy hike
3. A slight detour across Symmonds Stream
4. Climbing up the banking from Curry's Post Road
5. Approaching Beacon Hill Conservancy
6. Top of Beacon Hill - hazy view of Midmar Dam Wall in the distance
7. Vladimir still checking his hiking pole - The Beacon in foreground
8. Peter with coffee at the ready & hygienic sandwich on the Beacon
9. Peaceful scene of a beautiful horse on the banks of the Umgeni River
10. View down the Umgeni River
11. Egyptian Geese on the rocks & Hadedas in the trees
12. On the track close to the river
After a rest & lunch we continued along the river past Mills Falls & eventually onto some of the Howick Streets near Kwa-Mevana & through the busy shopping area until we finished our hike at the majestic Howick Falls but not much water coming over.
Then it was back to our vehicles after a lovely hike around the perimeter of Howick - Although I call this hike "Howick Meander", its a bit more than a meander at over 15 km.
Thanks to all our group for sharing the day with us.
13. Time for lunch close to the river with adjacent houses behind
14. Lunch for another part of our group
15. Margret K & Astrid relaxing (but not in prison)
16. Chris & Philip in deep conversation as Frances catches 40 winks
17. Margaret concentrates on her apple as Peter relaxes in his well-worn Jim Green boots
18. Linda & Eric resting & having a chat
19. Jacobs family - Amy, Stan & Daryll in various stages of rest
20. At last Howick Falls View Site but not much water coming over
21. Howick Falls Pool's own Monster Legend - see middle picture