by Mr Neil Haarhoff
From 23 March till 29 March the Grade 9 students embarked on their first expedition of the year - ‘In the Footsteps of Legends’. The expedition consists of 3 and a half days of hiking, starting at Sekororo and finishing in Penge. Day 1 started off with a steep and slippery climb to the first break. It didn’t get much better from there, as the next section in the bush had to get cut open as the trail was completely overgrown after the recent heavy rain. The Grade 9s were taken to some of the most beautiful and interesting locations South Africa has to offer, including the Christmas Plateau, our camp for day 1. The camp fell silent fairly quickly with all the weary souls enjoying the rest.
Day 2 greeted us with wet and misty weather. Packing up wet tents is always fun! The first 700m of the day took us just over two hours to complete and we ascended almost 300m in that time! After a long rest at the top, we walked around to the Louis Trichardt Memorial Plate for a quick photo before we passed along the sites where people, still to this day, are digging to find the mythical Kruger millions, where Paul Kruger is believed to have buried millions of Kruger Rands before his exile.
By now the mist had lifted and the warm sun greeted us as we descended to our camp – Louis Fontein, aptly named after the fountain that flows out of the mountain at the camp. It was a very gusty evening and we were met with more rain! Day 3 was new to us all as we took on a new route. Due to lack of water availability we decided to hike a new route – with ample fresh water at the bottom – and a beautiful new campsite next to the Olifants River. Big thanks go to Joseph at Dimakatso Tropical Resort in Mankele for the beautiful camp site. The morning sunshine greeted us on the last day of the hike. The group was very excited, not just because it was the last day of hiking, but because of the ‘shop’ that was waiting in Penge!
The group covered the section to Penge in no time and soon the shop was cleaned out of almost all its stock. As we arrived at the shop we expected to see the dry bags waiting for us and the boats ready at the river. However, this was not the case! We received another curveball, only once cellphone signal was restored in the village… the vehicle bringing the boats from Hazyview has broken down! This meant that we spent an extra 6 hours in Penge and finally got on the river at about 15:30. We normally start our river section at 13:00 at the latest, so we had some work left to do so that we could make camp before dark – if at all!