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Myself and Shem Compion went on a 5 day trip to Mpumalanga in January to explore the Africa's 2nd largest Canyon. One of Shemís friendís told us about this place on the other side of the Canyon that no one ever sees. After a long drive along unmarked and overgrown roads we got a concrete pass that quickly ascended through the tropical forest mist-belt and arrived atop Mariepskop in misty weather. We drove around and the scenery was a mix of mossy vegetation, military hardware and views of the lowveld that stretched forever.When it cleared occasionally we saw that there was a storm cloud over the main escarpment with a nice high-cloud anvil that would make for a a great sunset. We parked and decided to try and get to the escarpment edge, but the terrain of rock stacks and dense vegetation proved impossible to negotiate. We got about 100m from the road, made a u-turn and about 45 minutes later we were back at the car, exhausted and scratched all over. Using an Ipad and google earth we determined where the edge was closest to the road, drove there and found a seldom used track leading to the cliff edge. In front of us lay the back side of the three rondavels and the sun was about 20 minutes from reaching the gap in the clouds. We scouted for compositions, set up and waited for the light. As the first beams burst out below the clouds and creeped over the far hills the adrenaline started pumping (only landscape photographers can get an adrenaline rush from sunsets!). As the sun dipped below the horizon, the mist closed in and we headed back to car with a very big smile on our faces.
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