Ag in Africa

8 February, 2007

Walking as a priviledge

Filed under: south africa — Ag @ 7:25 pm

On Saturday I went for a long walk in Magaliesberg. Magaliesberg is a low mountain range North-West of Joburg. Lots of people from Joburg decant decamp there at the weekends. It’s quite nice. I know that sounds really lame. There are many disadvantages of coming from North Devon. A double-sided one is that North Devon is stupidly beautiful and, well, I can’t help comparing.

One of the things about Joburg is that it isn’t set up for walking. At home in Bristol I walk to work, I work to the shop, to the pub, to the fields, into town, home from the club, wherever. Joburg looks and feels unnervingly like LA. Like LA, it’s set up for cars. The car is king. And queen. The bus system is sparse, trains are slower than busses, bikes are only for the suicidal, legs are only for operating cars. And I really REALLY miss walking. (I’m going to get fat.) Yes, I can walk around my suburb, but pointless walking is, well, pointless. And, on top of that, most people tell you it’s dangerous to walk around anyway (they’re wrong), and I do get some weird looks when I’m walking around sometimes. Twats.

So on Saturday, when I went for a walk from the Gauteng flats up to the top of the Magaliesberg mountain range I felt like I’d been let out of prison. I’d forgotten how walking quite a long way, quite fast, makes some excellent-and-free drugs pump around your brain. By the end of the walk we were cracking jokes and giggling like kids. It was fantastic and exciting.

As we were walking I kept stopping to look at (and photograph) my feet on the natural ground. The contact felt similar to that gorgeous feeling of a cold, overpriced vodka-and-lemonade on a Friday after work (something they don’t do here). Here’s what it looked like. As it’s Thursday, I guess you’ll have to wait til tomorrow to taste what it felt like.

My feet on real soil

My feet on rock

View over Gauteng from the top of the Magaliesberg range
View over Gauteng from the top of the Magaliesberg range.

View of the Magaliesberg mountain range from below
View of the Magaliesberg mountain range from below. The corrugated iron thing on the right is the most stylish outside public toilet I’ve ever seen.



  1. Wow! Lush!

    The first comment being directed at the view, not your lovely feet… sorry!

    The second directed at the scenery, and not a comment on your prediliction for vodka lemondades!

    x x

    Comment by vic — 8 February, 2007 @ 10:50 pm

  2. Yes! Yes! Yes! I’m a Brit who’s been in Joburg for 6 months, come to live with my boyfriend. We live on Linksfield Ridge and the views are awesome (esp those storms you talk of), but I sooooooo miss being able to walk and be a part of those views. My friends here think I’m some kind of sadist cos of my enthusiasm for walking- they also think I’m mad for wanting to walk when I could get raped, assaulted, murdered, raped assaulted and murdered etc etc. The Fear Factor amongst the whites is rather sickening, and, combined with a gun culture and a prevailing right wing sensibility amongst those with the wealth to actually contribute to the fight against crime/ fear, doesn’t give me an altogether warm and rosy feeling about the future over here. However, the people I have give me a far warmer, rosier feeling, and the landscape once you get out of Joburg is astounding. I’m still undecided about my long term future here, but reading a blog that echoes my feelings is highly comforting.

    Anyway, I’m rambling huuuuuuuugely, so I’ll stop.

    P.S- couldn’t sort me a job?, hehe 😉

    Comment by Charlotte — 7 March, 2007 @ 3:17 pm

  3. Hi AG, nice to meet your blog,

    I’m french and even if I got a wonderful view of the magaliesberg from my Northcliff flat, my feet are crying for walk. And You are right walking around sounds not to bad put pointless. Can You please email me direction for your long magaliesberg walk ? I desperatly need some fresh air. Thank U.
    Cheers, G.

    Comment by Gwen — 18 May, 2007 @ 3:04 pm

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