Mount Nyakatsapa has been beckoning me ever since I began coming to Africa University. It looms beyond the AU farm, though it is actually a few miles away. Still, it’s always present in the background. For me, it’s a magnetic presence. I love climbing the mountains around the campus, but I had never climbed this one, the highest mountain in the area.
I didn’t have any classes or appointments scheduled yesterday, and since I will be grading exams all day Saturday, I took my day off yesterday. The day dawned cool and windy. Leaving campus at 8:30 AM, I met Chris Matinha, my stone-carving friend in Tschvingwe at 9:30. He’d agreed to guide me for the day’s trek. Following a poorly marked trail, we reached the top of Mt. Tschvingwe by 10:30, but Mr. Nyakatsapa was still an hour’s hike away, over three “camel humps” along the ridge connecting this chain of mountains. The cold wind blew very strongly at the top of the mountain, and i was glad I’d worn my sweatsuit jacket.
The top of Mt. Nyakatsapa is a rocky dome, with a sheer side facing the west. We circled the base of the dome at the mountaintop until we found a rock slope on the north side that we could crawl up on all four, like crabs. Then we were near the top, where it was level enough for us to stand again. What an exhilarating view! I should say “views” because we had magnificent views in every direction. St. Augustin’s school and settlement nestled in the mountains below us to the east, while the Africa University buildings and campus lay in the broad valley way below us, several miles to the west. It was a wonderful reward for the arduous climb!