Home page

Ezemvelo 28th, 29th and 30th Sep 2007

Hayleigh has been needing to do a First Class hike for some time. We kept on saying that we need to set a date, however, months went by before we got to set the date for this weekend.

A hike for First Class involves her getting together at least 4 fellow scouters and hiking at least 20km's in either a day or two. I had seen an article in one of the outdoor magazines about Ezemvelo and that there were hiking trails. Honestly, magazines often can not portray the beauty that some of these places have. Anyway, there were 4 hiking trails of which Hayleigh did the 14km and 6km hike. More about that later.

There were finally 7 scouters that hiked over the weekend with her. They were John (Brother), Michelle, Rene, Ryan, Jordan and Mathew. We arranged to meet at the scout hall at 16h45 in order that we could pack and leave by 17h00. We took both cars with myself towing the caravan and carrying the 4 boys with Lindsay towing the scout trailer and carrying the 3 girls. Everything went to plan perfectly. The problem however was getting to Ezemvelo. Looking at the map on the Ezemvelo website, it looked like we could head down the N12 towards Witbank and intercept the R24 - R54. From there it was an easy drive up to Ezemvelo. Well, we drove and we drove looking for these numbers, however, most of the off ramps simply had a name. It got to the point where we saw a Bapsfontein sign and decided to take it as I new we had to go through there. This eventually got us to the campsite, however and extra hour travelling and arriving in the dark!!! Not cool. Ironically, if we had headed down Pretoria road in Benoni, this would have gotten us there in the shortest possible time and route. Even more ironic was the fact that Pretoria road is not more then 1km from our house! We did take this route home with the distance being 90km's and taking 1hour 20 minutes due to a serious thunder shower we had to drive through.

Anyway, as normal, there are photos below. Also, an index for some guidance.

 

The camp grounds...

Have you ever arrived a a camp site in the dark and had this preconceived idea as to what the scenery before you looks like? Well due to us arriving rather late this time, we had no idea what was in front or around us for that matter.

Top two photos were the view from our camp site. 1st is straight out, 2nd is looking right.

 

The two lower were from a road that ran in front of the camp site. The left photo is the entrance road. The trees in the bottom left is where we camped. The right photo is a closer view and if you look carefully in the trees, you can just make out Lindsay's car and a tent.

 

Here is everyone on Saturday morning having breakfast and getting ready for the hike. More an overview of our camp site

Here are some views of the camping area and the ablutions. The toilets showers etc were old but well kept and clean. Tons of hot water.

 

Also the camping area was lovely and shady but with the resultant bare ground. There is however some well grassed areas.

 

Hike time: - day 1

The intrepid explorers. On the left, ready for departure.

On the right, not 50 meters and 2 minutes out of camp, one gets the impression they are lost ;-)

No they were not. Just getting notes done etc on the departure angle etc...

During the hike, Lindsay and I took a drive around the reserve and visited the overnight huts and the family huts. There is more about them below.

We were in radio contact with the kids (John and I have Ham licences now). We were about 6km's away from them and had excellent radio contact. Speaking with John, we ascertained they were up on this ridge somewhere, but we just could not see them. John then used the mirror off of his compass which is about the size of a 50 cent coin and by reflecting the sun, gave us his position.

Top left photo as we saw it. In the right photo, you will see a small white dot smack bang in the middle of the photo. There they were. The photo though just does not do the brightness of the flash justice. The flash was incredibly bright and a breeze to see.

As we drove around, here are some of the animals we saw

 

Hike time: - day 2

On Sunday, Lindsay and I decided to join the kids on their hike as it was only 6km's. Little did we know the terrain! However, the hike was one of my best. The scenery was absolutely fabulous. The kids had a whale of a time as you will see below.

Here we are on the start of the hike and on a lovely gradual climb up the hill.

Occasionally, the group will stop and have a rest. Ironically, they all sat down on a hill where there was a freshly cleaned out Warthog hole. Luckily Mommy and Daddy were out foraging.

I just had to include this photo as it reminded me so much of Zimbabwe. When we used to roam Matopos, they were everywhere.

They are the resurrection bush. Basically during dry weather they appear to completely dry out and die. Serious rubbish dump material.

However, let them get the smallest amount of water and they do as their name says. Resurrect into a beautiful green bush again.

Half way through the hike we got to this point. We were at the top of a valley that lay before us where the Wilge river ran through.

The shear height if the cliffs gave me the habdabs when the kids went and stood on the edges.

Photos from top left to right and down: -

1   John and Ryan

2   Ryan, John, Rene, Mathew, Jordan, Michelle and Hayleigh

3   Michelle

4   Jordan, Hayleigh, Mathew

   

These photos were taken opposite from each other.

I.e. The bottom photo was taken from the top of the first two photos and vice versa.

Top right photo is the kids at the top of the top left photo.

Some picturesque photos from the top of the outcrop above.

 

Kids: -find water and have fun

Whenever kids find water, you know what is going to happen.

Fun time...

This is how it starts. A rest besides the water with hiking boots off and cooling those heels...

 

Then the exploration begins
Water pool is found...

 

 

 

 

Swim time

 

     

     

   

 

 

The home run

This coming out of the valley. Girls first (They need the toilet) then the boys.

The low level water bridge over the Wilge river. Girls having a rest.

 

End of hike. AWESOME.

 

Some general info and photos

There are overnight huts for one of the hiking trails. These are them. They are set in a shallow valley next to a stream.

They are very nice with a braai area, outside ablution facilities with hot water. It would appear that even if you are not hiking, you can also stay here. Simply drive through the reserve.

Then, just down the road are "Family huts".

On the left is the view from them and on the right one of the huts which are the same as the Overnight huts.

Below are photos of the reception area and the lake in front. Clockwise from top left

1  There is a fuffy slide from up on the far side of the dam down to in front of the office

2  Chalets next to the reception area

3  The swimming pool

4  Sunset over the dam

5  The dam

6  The reception

       

Three of my more picturesque photos. Must get these enlarged and framed

Till next time keep well, travel safe and enjoy.

Home