A horse rider’s return to the mountains in the mist
Lindsay Du Plessis learnt to ride mere months after she started walking. It was as though the toddler belonged on the back of a horse. By the age of 12, she was already leading other people on trails. Growing up in the Northern Drakensberg, Du Plessis spent her childhood galloping through the untouched landscape. Her family is rooted in the area, having lived there since 1941. After leaving home to study, Du Plessis travelled the world, experiencing horse riding in places like New Zealand and Argentina. But they couldn’t compare to the beauty of her birthplace. So Du Plessis packed up her bags and flew back home.
“I’ve seen the world but nothing beats the atmosphere here,” she says. “I find the mountains to be the most safe and precious place to be.” In 2007, Du Plessis took over the stables below Montusi Peak. Here, she has made her life. Montusi means ‘mountain in the mist’, and is near the notorious Amphitheatre cliff face. Together with her husband, Du Plessis leads trails on horseback through craggy mountains and expansive plains, across flowing rivers and waterfalls. Along the routes there are even opportunities to see ancient rock paintings. “I want people to feel the peace and quiet because it’s one of the best ways to experience the Drakensberg,” Du Plessis says. Little surrounds the area, leaving the sprawling countryside relatively unaffected by human development. Du Plessis hopes to keep it that way. “This place is different to any other place in the world,” she says. “It’s really wild and free.”
While the Drakensberg is infused with nostalgia for Du Plessis, she has built upon her childhood experiences and forged ahead with her future in Montusi. “When I wake up and see the mountains, I feel so much joy,” she says. “They are such a source of comfort.” By sharing the wonder of riding through the hills and valleys of KwaZulu-Natal, Du Plessis is ensuring others get a taste of that joy too.