A friend who moved to Cape Town nearly two years ago invited me for a hike in Deer Park with her hiking group. Being an avid walker and nature lover, I was grateful for the opportunity and joined them with much enthusiasm.

There is no need to elaborate on the beauty of Cape Town – it is, to say the least, spectacular at every turn. Get yourself a little higher up onto the mountain, and the views are even more breathtaking – especially so when you do it by foot in the scorching sun.

Being a hiking group that meets once a week at different locations across Cape Town, I braced myself for a serious walk up the mountain. Serious it was indeed, as the heat was something else with no breeze to speak of.

Of course nature always delights – at the halfway stop a gecko came to centre stage performing a series of push ups, a flash of bright purple flowers illuminated the otherwise dry landscape and two sunbirds were caught in mid conversation – first the one, then the other from opposite sides of a rock face.

But it was the easy chats shared among everyone that was the highlight of the day – new faces sharing comfortable conversations, beautiful exchanges and statements that resonated deeply. People that you would under normal circumstances love to see again, but due to the fact that you live on the other side of the country, probably never will.

And actually, that’s okay. It makes you realise that if only we open ourselves up to it, there is something beautiful to share with so many, and fleeting moments of joy shared with strangers are not just moments in time, but part of a beautiful human exchange that enriches the journey so much.

Instead of forcing what potentially may be or being sad about what isn’t, I prefer to be grateful for the times that are and for the strangers who cross my path. In this case, the hearts of gold I met in the centre of the mother city, if only for a couple of hours on a magnificent hike.

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