The Tugela River
As I mentioned in our first episode, the inspirations for Draken came from a particular area in South Africa – the Drakensberg mountains. The mountain range pictured on the back of the Tugela is actually the Amphitheatre, a renowned landmark of South Africa, and also the starting point of the Tugela River.
The Tugela river has a number of tributaries, but the true source originates from Mont-aux-Sources, a point to the right of the Amphitheatre. Near this point is another famous feature – the Tugela Falls. This is a 948m waterfall which is second only in height to the Angel Falls in Argentina. I’ve hiked to the top of the falls a number of times with friends and family. In fact, with its altitude at 2,972m, it was a good training ground for us before doing the Inca Trail of Peru. If you are ever in the area, I highly recommend the hike.
Some memories of the Tugela River
Going on holiday to the Drakensberg as a kid would not be complete without purchasing one of these sculpted clay animals. Like trolls guarding the way, local kids from the village would be waiting for you at the single lane bridge over the river. We were each given a ten Rand to hustle the best sculpture from these kids. Looking back I think our parents obliged us just to keep us quiet on the long trip back to Johannesburg. After 30 years, I find it amazing that the local kids still do this. Some things never change.
Another great Tugela activity – When the water level of the river is a bit higher, it is customary to source an old tractor wheel tube, pump it full with air, and float down the river. Mind out though – the river is scattered with thousands of smooth river stones, some just below the surface – or you’ll have a very sore tail bone!
It is the matt sand-blasted finish of these stones which inspired the bead-blasted stainless steel finish of the Tugela dive watch. This finish gives the watch an extra level of scratch resistance. Well to put it more clearly, the scratches don’t show. While many other brands choose to polish or brush their watches for maximum shininess, we chose to keep the finish of the Tugela purely functional. Almost every surface of the Tugela is matt finish in fact. Even the custom diamond cut hands have a matt finish. Just like tubing down the Tugela, we expect you to take our watches on some pretty gnarly adventures. Scratches are inevitable, but we figure – If it gets a few scratches, so what! That’s another great story you can tell when you look back at your adventures.
Until next time. All the best.