A Guest Experience – Amphitheatre Hike
Fiona McDonald sent us this wonderful story of her experience hiking in the Amphitheatre:
The first day from The Cavern to Witsies was an experience to say the least. The weather was horrendous – misty, cold and drizzly. We literally couldn’t see more than 20 meters in front of us. We missed all the scenery unfortunately and were frozen solid by the time we reached Witsies – despite being dressed for the weather. I suppose the constant drizzle and biting wind for 6 hours was too much for our gear! Arriving at Witsies was pure pleasure – they had turned on the heaters and electric blankets for us beforehand so we could thaw out. That little personal touch made the world of difference and we were very grateful! However, even though the day was tough, we all agreed that it added to our experience to hike in those conditions!
Day 2 was amazing. The skies cleared and we woke up to the most amazing view at Witsies – none of which we had seen coming in the day before of course! The hike that day was brilliant. Chilly weather but it was sunny and not windy. We survived the chain ladders and had lunch on the top overlooking the Falls. It was absolutely amazing and the views were unsurpassed. I have been trying to describe it to family and friends since we got back, but it’s just impossible to explain what our eyes could see. So we returned to Witsies on a high, and were so impressed to find that the cleaning lady had washed and dried all our wet and muddy clothes from the day before! Yet another personal touch that impressed us!
Day 3 was equally good weather, and warm as well. So we had another day of beautiful sights and scenery. It was great having someone with us on that day too who could point out a few interesting facts, flowers and birds to us as well, so it was a good decision to have a porter that day. Our pick up was perfectly timed, and we got back to the Cavern in good time to start the journey home.
The guides we had were great. We had Sipho from the Cavern – he was quieter than the others, but it could have been because of the cold and rain! And that he needed to keep us moving fast to keep warm. Terence was our guide from Witsies on Day 2 and I cannot compliment him enough. He was amazing. So knowledgeable and interesting to chat to. He had a sense of humour, and tailored his pace to suit ours. He spotted a Cape Vulture and a Bearded Culture for us – which added to the memories. He is not resident at Witsies, and said he freelanced for a couple of companies. I’m not sure who assigned him to our group that day, but please pass on our compliments to them. I would go so far as to personally request him if we hike in the area again – that’s how good he was! Sampson led us on Day 3 and was also fabulous. His knowledge of the plants and flowers was excellent. And also kept chatting to us all the way down, sharing his knowledge of the mountains with us. Really fabulous guides all round – but Terence made a huge impression on us and we loved him!
Never once did we feel unsafe, by the way, given all the noise around the Amphitheatre. We were clearly in very good hands.
We were really impressed by Witsies. Everyone was smiley and friendly, they lit a fire in the lounge just for us, and greeted us as if we were celebrities every day. I’d love to go back to Witsies just for the friendly people alone.