20 – 22 January 2023
Andy and I had the privilege of getting away for a few days to another campsite prior to meeting up with club members at Gevonden campsite near Rawsonville on Friday, 20 January 2023!
Andy and I were the first to arrive at Gevonden, followed very closely by Walter Mohr, Simon and Michelle Walker, Ivan Napoleon & Anita Barnes, Ken and Shona Sturgeon and last, but not least on the Friday, Hilton Joffe (surprising us immensely by driving a borrowed Ford as his vehicle was in for a service!). Dave and Joyce Wheeler were unfortunately unable to join us on the campsite as (a direct quote from Dave that made us smile), “Joyce has a cold / flu / bubonic plague!” We missed you Dave and Joyce!
Friday afternoon was spent setting up our various campsites on the emerald green lawn, catching up with each other after the festive season (it feels so loooooong ago!) and lots of swimming in the gorgeous crystal-clear river water as it was quite hot!
Wynand, the camp manager, stopped by to check that everything was ok and we ordered 7 bags of wood to keep the pyromaniac in the group (a.k.a. Andy!) happy for a few hours!
As evening approached, and the wind was becoming stronger, the first priority was to get some wind breaks up near the fire pit. The fire was then lit in the huge pit and members settled in to enjoy the evening braai’ing and socialising. Luckily, the wind abated into the evening and ensured a perfect night for everyone.
Saturday dawned with a clear blue sky indicating that it was going to be a perfect summer’s day! Hiking boots were donned by some energetic souls (Andy, myself, Simon, Michelle, Hilton and Ken) and we set off with Andy in the lead to hike a track up the mountain on the neighbouring farm that we had driven many years ago with CapeNature but had never reached the top due to the erosion at that time.
We were curious to see the state of the track after so many years. The beginning of the track had us bushwacking as it was very overgrown and almost impossible to discern as a twin-spoor track! Eventually, it became slightly less overgrown in some places and we proceeded onwards and up, up, up………! As we proceeded up the track, we were treated to the sight of many “sewejaartjie” plants which were so beautiful with their vivid pink or white blooms!
A little bit further on where the track was a bit flatter, Ken decided that this was it for him and would rest for a bit before starting down the track again. The rest of us kept going uphill but eventually Simon and Michelle also decided to turn back down the track. Andy and Hilton kept motoring up the hill while I followed at a slower pace, huffing and puffing with frequent breaks to get my breath back.
Eventually, the three of us decided not to proceed any further as the track still winds a long way into the mountains and the day was getting hotter with little shade. The river back at camp was beckoning us to return to its embrace so we wisely heeded the call and had a short break and drink of water before making our way back down the slippery rocky track.
We were grateful to get back to camp and take off our hiking boots which were getting more and more hot and uncomfortable (Andy and I were breaking in new boots recently purchased!). After a much needed cool swim in the river, refreshing cups of tea were consumed and then a welcome kip rounded off the afternoon. The campsite was very chilled and quiet on the Saturday afternoon.
Ivan and Anita had travelled back home in the morning to pick up their gorgeous doggo, Coco – an 11-month old Jack Russell puppy – and bring her back to the campsite. Everyone fell in love instantly on meeting cute Coco and kept her busy chasing after her fire engine red rubber ball! What a puppy – she was quite entertaining!
The last arrival on the campsite on Saturday afternoon was Greg Bond-Smith as he had only booked for the one night.
Saturday evening mimicked the previous evening (except that the wind was slightly stronger!) and everyone gathered at the fire pit for the sacred evening ritual! A huge fire was made as every last stick of firewood needed to be burnt! We certainly didn’t want for coals on Saturday night!
As per the previous night, the wind died down later and besides a bit of road noise from the N1, the evening was very peaceful ensuring a perfect night’s rest!
Sunday dawned sunny and hot with some lazy drifting fluffy white clouds in the sky. Campers used the opportunity in the cool morning to sleep in a bit later and then hastily waking themselves up properly with a brave dip in the river!
There was no rush to depart the campsite and some gathered under what shade there was to be had at Ken and Shona’s camp to shoot the breeze and delay the inevitable packing up and heading home scenario! Wynand stopped by again for a chat and cup of coffee that was offered to him by Ken before his wife tracked him down to come back home as he had visitors.
All good things come to an end with campers departing at intervals for home. Ken and Shona, stalwarts of the club!, dragged out the weekend as long as they could and were the last to leave for home.
Thanks to everyone who camped for making this an awesome start to what I hope is going to be another fun year for the 4×4 Offroad Adventure Club!
On a side note, the campsite is beautifully appointed with emerald green lawns and very well maintained ablutions. It was a pleasure to stay on this campsite and will be perfect once the newly planted trees are big enough to offer shade and some shelter from the daily summer wind!
Looking forward to seeing everyone on the next outing!