110th Birthday Tour - Transkei
To celebrate the troop turning 110, we decided to organise a birthday tour in the Transkei. The tour started off with a 5-day guided hike through the Pondoland, and then finished with a relaxing camp in Coffee Bay.
The guided hike was a real once in a lifetime trip. After leaving our cars in Port St Johns, our hike guide Sinegugu (Sine for short) loaded us into a taxi where we drove to our starting location, stopping along the way to see the Pondoland tea plantations and Magwa falls. Sine is a local who grew up in the area, and as such each of the four nights we stayed in the Rondawels in the Xhosa villages, where we were fed traditional food. Sine is also incredibly knowledgeable and spent much of the hike telling us all about the indigineous fauna and flora, as well as the customs and ceremonies of the Xhosa people.
Besides the cultural experience, the scenery was out of a promotional video for a holiday paradise. Long sweeping white-sand beaches, lazy, grassy rolling hills, patches of rainforest, stark rugged cliffs worn down over the millennia and of course the deep blue sea which accompanied us throughout the hike. The weather was unfortunately rainy and windy at times, but it wasn't too cold and we all enjoyed ourselves despite it. The hike even included two waterfalls that fell straight into the ocean, of which there are only nine globally! All in all a thoroughly enjoyable hike and would highly recommend (contact us if you want more details).
After the hike, we took a slow drive to Coffee Bay where we set up camp in a wonderfully secluded and sheltered campsite. The following four days were filled with good food, relaxing and playing on the beaches, wandering around town and sampling the local coffee shops and cooling off in the ocean. We took a hike to Hole in the Wall, an iconic Transkei rocky arch created by the constant erosion, accompanied by a dog we befriended in the campsite, but unfortunately it was bit rainy and cold to swim. But the highlight was our final day where the wind died and the sun came out, where we drove to Mdumbi to enjoy the surf and beach there. We even made some friends and had a very competative game of ultimate frisbee.
All in all, it was a very enjoyable, successful trip and I know all involved will carry fond memories of our adventure for the decades to come!
Cape Agulhas Farm Camp
At the start of the school holidays, nine scouts and two scouters made the trek through to Cape Agulhas for what turned out to be a very eventful weekend indeed. The first evening saw both vehicles getting thoroughly stuck in the mud which was left behind when the rains the week before caused the vlei to overflow.
After completing our afternoon activity of getting the cars unstuck, we proceeded to set up camp and enjoy the surroundings with a casual Friday evening braai. Saturday saw us getting to know our surroundings before setting up a shooting range and teaching the younger scouts how to use an air rifle. The rest of the day was spent walking to the massive sand dunes near the beach, and sandboarding for a substantial portion of the afternoon before heading back to camp for a restful evening.
Sunday was our designated beach day, with a few of the scouts braving the strong winds and ice-cold water to catch the perfect body-boarding wave. Upon heading back to camp, we found our HQ tent lying in a neat pile looking nothing like we had left it. Realising that the wind had bent the poles, and that the weather was due to only get worse on the Monday morning, we opted to head home after a scrumptious roast chicken dinner and slept the night at the scout hall.
All in all, a wonderful time was had by all!
It was a lovely morning for hiking, partly cloudy but nice and warm. We went on a cool day hike through Echo Valley in Kalk Bay, stopping by Boomslang cave and White Grotto. It was a great intro to caving for those who hadn't done any caving before and a stunning day!
We did our best to take some photos of the cute furry bats who call the Boomslang caves home, whilst not disturbing them too much!
On the way back we stopped off for some ice cream to round off the trip.
Scouters: John and Sean
Scouts: Orion, Terence, Dean & Neil
Caving in Robin Hood
Josh Ancketill and Orion Barker joined me (John) in an awesome trip delving into the depths of Robin Hood Cave.
We spend most of the day in the cave, and only had time to explore a small portion of the cave network as it's just so massive!
Unfortunately, not many photos, it was quite dark and the quality was very average. But we went into the first chamber, then through into the second main chamber, went for an adventure down one of the offshoots for around an hour and then went back to the main chamber for lunch.
Took us a little while to navigate out and came out looking like minor miners!
After far too long the troop returned to the Cederberg - one of our absolute favourite places to explore. Usually we would embark on a multi-day hike through the wilderness, but opted this time to use our camp at Kromrivier as a base and do several day adventures throughout the week. Highlights included getting unexpectedly upgraded to a chalet on the first few nights, the Maltese Cross, the Wolfberg Cracks, Maalgas and Elsie's Drift. Perhaps the only mishap to report was accidentally locking some keys in a car on our way out. Safe to say, however, that the photos speak for themselves - another characteristically excellent Cederberg adventure.
Charles Carter's First Class Hike
The hike took place over the 6th and 7th of March. It took place in and around the Silvermine area. We met at the Scout hall at 8 o’clock. We then drove to the start of the hike at BokkemansKloof. We began hiking at 8:40 am, turning left off blue valley avenue drive. The path quickly climbed above the road. We then began to hike up Bokkemanskloof. We climbed 600 meters over 1.1 km. When we reached the top and the path flattened out we turned right, onto a small footpath, and hiked up a short ascent following the footpath until we came to a tarred road. Turning right, we followed the road for the next 4.4km. As we hiked along the road, we hiked into the clouds. As we continued our ascent along the tar road, we walked in and out of the clouds. The visibility was low but as the path was clearly demarcated it was easy to follow the path. As we reached the signal tower, we turned off the road and began descending towards elephant eye. We reached the turn off to Elephants eye at 11:20 and walked towards the cave. We stopped at the cave for a 15 minute rest before we continued our descent towards the Silvermine dam. When we reached the fire lookout we made a hairpin turn and walked back along a jeep track for 2.5Km. We then arrived at a T-junction at 12:09. We turned left and continued down the jeep Track until we turned right. Just after a bend in the jeep track we turned right onto a small sandy footpath that led down towards silvermine dam. Turning right onto the boardwalk, we walked around to the far side of the dam and instead of turning left and walking across the dam wall, we continued straight onto a jeep track which we followed until we turned right and began to walk down the “Silvermine River walk”. We hiked along the route – sometimes walking along a boardwalk, sometimes along a sandy footpath – for the next 2.2 km’s. We then came to another t – junction, where we turned left and walked towards the Silvermine gate House where we were picked up and lifted to the scout base at Sandvlei.
We spent the night at Sandvlei. We braaied that evening under the cover of a spectacular sunset. Swathes of orange and yellow lit up the sky.We ate Boerewors rolls and ice cream that night as well as hot chocolate. We slept in tents that night and woke early at 6 o’clock the next morning. The sky that morning was grey and full of clouds, however over the next hour the sky cleared partially and we decided to continue with the hike. After packing up our camp -folding away our tents and sleeping bags- We had cornflakes for breakfast and at 7:30 we left the Sea Scout base.
We hiked along Promenade Road, turning left at Henwick we then turned right at crossed the train tracks at the train station. We walked along Station road, crossing the main road onto Cornwall road. From there we walked along Cornwall until we arrived at a T Junction and turned right onto Leicester road and at the corner of Leicester and Bunker road We turned left onto a footpath that led up to Boyes Drive where we turned right and walked along till we came to the start of the hike.
Arriving at the start of the hiking trail at 08:02am, we began our ascent. We climbed steeply upwards towards Muizenberg peak. After 45 minutes – as we began to hike into the clouds – it began to drizzle. The higher we climbed the harder it began to rain. After and hour and a half we reached a plateau and completed the first ascent of Muizenberg Peak. We then continued on towards the second smaller ascent. As we climbed, we pasted two of the Cape flora’s most notorious residents, the blister bush. The two trouble makers were perched precariously between two boulders in the center of the path. They were position along the path at a place where hikers would have to scramble up the rocks to continue walking. This meant that if care was not taken, we could easily brush against the bushes and suffer the blisters that would follow. As a result we moved with caution, keeping our eyes peeled for any other bushes that could be hiding inconspicuously. After safely passing the bushes we continued hiking. The drizzling rain remained constant as we walked along the ridge towards the peak. As we hiked we passed many examples of the spectacular flora that is found in the cape. We arrived at the summit of Muizenberg Peak at 09:52 am. We stopped hiking and took a short 10 minute rest. While we rested, we also ate our cheese and provita snacks. Shortly after 10 0’clock we started hiking again. We began to descend towards the Weather Station. We soon moved off the footpath and onto a jeep track that led past the weather station. We continued hiking along the jeep track for the next 6 km, passing the Weather station and Maiden’s pool. As we hiked along the jeep track, it began to rain harder as we hiked through the clouds and mist, However at 20 minutes to 11 o’clock the rain subsided. We completed the hike at 11:04 am arriving at the gate to the Silvermine parking lot. We were then collected at 11:30 and driven back to the Scout hall. The hike was a total distance of around 20km.
This was a very chilled camp this year. We went to Quaggaskloof again for a lovely long weekend. The wind was blowing quite hecticly, so we spent a lot of time in the main tent, playing cards, minecraft and eating lots of food. We also had some great time in the dam, we took the paddle ski's and a canoe. Some good wobobo time too whilst getting stuck in the sand.
All in all it was a great camp, weather could have been a bit nicer but we don't win them all.