Thabela Thabeng, Vaal River
Richard Van Breda, Ant Bennet, Gavin Fleming, Brian Tucker, Mike & Karin Slater (and Danny) Mark van Bavel, Ollie Brunke, Nick Cowley and his two nephews made up the core group of explorers set to mentor the Beginners in the modes of exploring. Overkill that! Richard's and Ollies women were the only beginners. Our membership is healthy as usual with it's usual quota of new recruits. Obviously they (you?) are well versed in braaing, sloutching, drinking and talking bull then. Besides those nefarious activities we did get up to enough for the weekend to qualify as a genuine explorers do
Thabela Thabeng is a guesthouse in the Vredefort Dome complex, the remains of a 200-million-year-old impact crater, one of the largest in the world and a candidate for World Heritage status. The guesthouse has an old barn converted to house groups like ours, quite pleasantly. Adjoining is the Buffelspoort Nature reserve where we mountain biking and walking. Ollie had his climbing gear but rain and indolence put climbing and abseiling low down on the list, well below table tennis. There were no twitchers among us, which allowed us to appreciate the prolific birdlife. We made the best of having brought the crocs along despite fairly low water levels. Our contact at Rand water has not pulled through and released water for us (maybe we just missed the wave) We drove up tp Parys, put in below the bridge and rafted for three hours, pulling out at the Sunwa base. Another hour on higher water would have taken us straight back to Thabela Thabeng. The river is braided and fairly shallow with several fun rapids, one requiring recceing and some accurate manoeuvring to avoid flipping. Following the fishing lines we ducked so often to avoid, we'd find a group of beer-totting Vaalies hidden from their wives in the rank vegetation on the downstream point of each island. I'ts a great venue with lots of varied activities.