Lake Chrysabel on the Millstream Trout Farm.

Millstream Farm

Stroll
9,6km

It’s winter in the shadows and summer in the sun

A house full of friends for the weekend is a beautiful and exhausting thing. The energy you give eagerly to those you love is returned twofold amongst the clatter of breakfast plates, the smell of freshly-brewed coffee and the whispered conversations of an early start. And yet, somewhere built into that transaction is a cost that only nature can repay.

The early morning chill makes our flasks of tea and coffee an even more enjoyable luxury as we walk up the hillside to greet the day together. We begin comfortably in our own heads, quiet and thoughtful as we walk across the sombre veld, stopping every now again to point towards an animal on the horizon or to look at plants like icicles in the cold soil.

Little things.

Good friends.

In this part of the country, it is always winter in the shadows and summer in the sun. The cold evaporates as the sun lights up the sky and floods the veld with warmth and colour: brown turns gold and glows red. We have reached the top of the hill and it lights up the forest below us, delivering the path for us to follow between the trees to the other side. We stand still for a while, taking in the light, and it occurs to me that this is how the sun rises every day. It rises this way when I go to bed late and snooze the alarm five times in a row the next morning. It rises this way whilst I rush to work to make an early meeting and when I stand in the kitchen with a bowl of yoghurt for breakfast. What makes this different is not that the sun is rising so beautifully in the sky, but rather that we have all made the effort to come greet it. 

We are properly awake and energised by the transformation of the landscape around us. The cold is now fresh and no longer bone chilling. It keeps us motivated. It keeps us moving at a brisk pace between dams and over grassland. We chat in the rhythm that we walk and trade topics back and forth between us. Plans. Life. Problems contemplated, concerns shared, advice given and received – always tempered with a silliness and lots of laughter.

Zebra and Impala on the Millstream Farm – Mpumalanga.

Spotting a herd of zebra, one of the many forms of wildlife at Millstream Farm, our conversation is redirected. We wonder why it is that zebras have escaped the work life of the domesticated horse. Surely the vanity of historical figures, such as Napoleon, would have called for a ‘fancy horse’, a more ‘royal steed’, one that no one else had. It seems that a striped horse would have made quite the fashion statement. With the hindsight of Google, we learn that zebras have indeed been tamed enough on rare instances to be ridden. In 1984, Walter Rothschild rode a zebra-drawn carriage to Buckingham palace. In 1907, Rosendo Ribeiro, a doctor in Nairobi, made his house calls upon a zebra. Zebras are not well suited to either of these occupations, however, as they are skittish and aggressive in equal parts. This makes them incredibly difficult to tame, and near impossible to tame humanely. In fact, Lord Rothschild’s zebra groom was attacked and killed by the zebra he cared for. These regal striped animals are also not as well suited physiologically to a saddle or to carrying weight upon their backs. Their necks are stronger than that of a horse’s, making it difficult to steer or issue commands via bit and bridle. So, with the exception of a very few anomalies remembered in black and white film and a handful of new YouTube sensations, such as Zack the Zebra, these animals remain wild.

As it turns out, we are not the first to ponder the possibilities of a zebra. We should have known better; but, caught up in the vision of Napoleon with his sword stretched high in the sky from his seat on a black and white striped stallion, we were careful not to place too much stock in common sense.

The Weir – Millstream.

Egyptian Geese.

Trail Head Location (WGS84)

S 25° 26' 27.9"  E 30° 4' 48.6"

Other Trails At Destination

Network of trails

Route Info

Total Distance : 9,6
Trail Type : Network of Trails
Trail Markings : Good
Starting Altitude : 1965
Summit Altitude : 2014
Lowest Altitude : 1912
Difficulty Rating : 3 / 10
Dustbins : Y
Water points : Y
Toilets : Y
Picnic: N

How To Book

+ 27 13 253 9911
+ 27 13 253 9910
millstream@telkomsa.net

Hiked 22 Jun