Trips and Expeditions for 2005
Drakensberg trip - 6 to 9th August
Rwanqa to Rockeries. It was a great hike, all in all. Good thing one forgets the mental torment of passes, both up and down, so quickly. Might even want to do it again. The best memories will probably be the Scottish songs Archie, my cousin, and I sang deep into the night, and softly hummed throughout the day. These even included such things as hippopotami and gnu's. Thanks to all for the special times shared.
Social Responsibility day - 16th July
What do you get if you add up:
- 29 kids from ages 2-19 (the 2-year old was fortunately not so keen on the volleyball or hiking and hung out on the grass looking happy)
- Bevy of caregivers from Khanyisweni [ISO-8859-1?]children’s home
- A cadre of brilliant ESSA people
- Perfect weather
- Yummy food
- Interesting and very educational activities (now I know what a clinometer is and how to measure gradient)
- Lovely, albeit a tad ashen black, farm
Formal Dinner - 28th May
Groot Marico environs saw the best jol this year.
Magaliesberg madness - 21 to 22nd May
It all started when a rather mad woman called Karen aka Noeksie sent me an e mail giving me a brief outlining of her weekends to come for the next three years. (This might be a slight exaggeration, maybe the next three weeks.) I looked though it and I came across a trip to the Magaliesberg with the kids from the Abraham Kriel home in Johannesburg, which looked like it could be fun.
Swazi Extreme - 29 April to 2nd May
This was the 5th annual Swazi Xtreme, a Swaziland-based adventure race. The event includes a number of sections where competitors hike, cycle, climb, abseil, swim, canyoneer, kayak and navigate from the start to the finish for 250 km.
Berg Hike - 25 to 30th April
Up Ship's prow, along the escarpment, and down Injasuti Pass.
Unkomaas croccing - 25 to 29th March
Impendle to Lundy's Hill, and Hella-Hella to Josephine's bridge.
Malawi - 17 March to some other (later) time
From two to four, five, seven, five, four and then eventually two - that was the amount of people planning to travel with to Malawi at various stages. Finally Karen and Biscuit went. After flying to Blantyre, they headed North to climb Mount Mulanje. This done (a doddle), they Headed South to Cape Mclear for some snorkelling, and finally (more) South to the Zomba plateau.
Buffalo River kayaking - 5 to 6th March
Its a great river in a most amazing place - a narrow gorge with monster waves (and monster holes), great spots to jump off the cliff into the water, and 5 times more volume in a narrower river than the vaal.
WaterFal Boven climbing - 26 to 27th February
The weather was great, warm days and cool evenings with only a hint of rain in the late afternoon which never turned into anything threatening. The camping was stupendous, as always, overlooking the magnificent views from ElandsKrans resort. The food at the Whistle & Trout was to die (or at least attempt to on difficult climbs) for and the duck and cherry pie lived up to it's by now decadent expectations.
Malibamatsu river trip - February
The rapids, and the spills, began immediately. Forget having a few moments to get used to your heavily laden boat - there is no such luxury on the Malibamatsu... within 200m of our put-in we were into our first rapid, a chunky grade 2 that required care and precise strokes to navigate - which was to set the pace. Shortly after, a class 3 appeared with some big waves and tricky changes of line. Our first spills happened, but without major incident. Being on a river with a group most of whom have run the river before has its pros and cons - in this case I found myself following into successively bigger rapids - ones I would have definitely scouted back home. The result was some thrilling action - snap decisions being made on waves, in eddies, and on big bends that grouped together to throw us into the next wave train. At one stage we collected ourselves at the bottom of a what had definitely been a class 4 rapid, but we were all alive, accounted for, and thrilled at what the river had thrown at us.
Jacana Hike near Fiksburg - 18 to 20 February
Pilgrim's Rest Fungus trip - 12 to 13th February
Armed only with our baskets & pocket knives, we ventured into the dark unknowns of pine needle carpeted forests. The fungus, alas, was playing seriously hard to get. We found at least 10 varieties, most of which Ela refused to take home because she didn't know them (despite the fact that Bernelle's careful scientific assessment according to the field guide on SA mushrooms indicated they were edible and in fact probably VERY TASTY (though not very magical)).
Dome Pools hike - 12th February
A glorious day was enjoyed by all sunning themselves, swimming in the pools and slip sliding down the small cascades (mental note: bring old pants that you are not afraid to write off enjoying the bum slides :-)).
the Sibebe challenge - 28 to 31 January
Aim: Bag the highest peak in Swaziland - Emlembe (1862m), as part of Karen & Lorna's bigger aim to claim all the highest peaks in Africa. Have toxic amounts of fun along the way.
Vaal river kayaking - 16th January
Parys to Gatsien. The kayaking was good with 60 cumecs. Big Daddy lived up to its name, the flat sections went by reasonably quickly, Theatre required enough manoeuvring to test the skills of our novice kayakers, and Gatsien's top hole was soft but the bottom wave was working.
Crocodile river kayaking - 15th January
the water was flowing very strongly over the bridge at the put in (those on the Valentines day trip last year will know that it was below the bridge then!) and we decided that with only 2 of us it would be safer not to take this part on. The Pelindaba section was big and bouncy - and all was good, with us making a portage of the lower weir due to the strong re-circulating wave.
Berg Hike - 31 December to 5 January
Up Langibalele pass, along the escarpment, and down Sani pass. This was to be a much more ambitious hike, traversing the entire Natal Drakensberg range. However, due to a knee injury, they only traversed about a quarter. They did scale the highest Peak in Southern Africa, not to mention the highest pub in Africa.