During the first week of the holidays, twenty-seven grade eights left behind the comfort of their beds at six o’clock in the morning to brave the drizzle before they set out on a noisy bus ride to the jaw-droppingly beautiful area on the Breede river, for a four-day camp with fifty Rondebosch boys.
We arrived at our famed desolate destination, which was actually not too far from a rather busy road, but despite that little technicality, it was certainly a beautiful location. The lush green trees around the wooden buildings made you feel like you really were in the wilderness. With the river running adjacent to the camp it was a perfect place for a fun-filled camp, and many braais.
To kick off our activities we started with being divided into groups. For the girls, sadly, the groups contained zero boys. . . Once that was out of the way we began our rotational activities; river-rafting, high-ropes and survivor day.
The group who went river-rafting jumped in the bus and headed about fourteen kilometers upstream so that they could… wait for it… paddle all the way back. Their picturesque journey took them through “rapids” and past weirs where they had to carry their boats because the river was too low. Eventually after trying to balance fifteen people on one boat, making hilarious war-cries, racing as two smaller groups on big rafts and making sand angels in the warm dunes nearby, they arrived back exhausted, wet and with pains in muscles that they didn’t even know existed.
Meanwhile, the group who went on survivor, hiked ten kilometres hike to land up about twenty metres from the camp. They then TRIED to pitch their tents and later had lunch. After swimming in the river and uprooting some black-wattle trees the exciting and disgusting process of gutting fish began. They gutted, scaled and spiced their very own Angelfish. Most of us found this extremely disturbing yet others found it fascinating. Especially those that ran around threatening to put fish guts on the others. Needless to say it was a relief when we could relax around the fire with hot chocolate and gaze at the stars. The next morning they woke bruised from sleeping on thin mattresses on rocks and they returned to the camp (this time taking the shortcut).
While all these events were taking place, the third group went on the high ropes course. This consisted of practicing a few knots and going up a climbing wall before lunch. The rest of the afternoon consisted of shouting to your partner who was about five metres up in the air attached to a cable. You shouted encouragement and instructions that were often not followed. If you were the person in the air you braved your way through hanging obstacles, either with a pained expression or ease. Afterwards they got their well-earned rest.
On the last day everyone was divided into smaller groups, solving riddles and doing tasks that were related to the previous activities. After the last activity was completed we all headed home. We were sorry to say goodbye to our guides, old and new friends, and even some teachers.
All the girls who participated were very tired when they returned, but we are sure that they all had a wonderful time! Thank you to everyone who made this an unforgettable experience!
By Thami Giyose and Zara Nijzink-Laurie