On the Friday of this weekend, I knew there was a very large chance that I would be camping with Jacques on the Saturday and Sunday but I didn’t have time to go and ask him about it because Martin invited me to dinner at a restaurant close to Cape Town. We went to a seafood restaurant and it was really, really good with a huge selection of fish on offer. So after a good filling up, we went back to the estate and I found a note stuck to my door with very brief instructions from Jacques, meet at 8, bring sleeping bag, cutlery and torch. So I packed up, and before I knew it, my 7.40 alarm was going off and I grabbed some food before going off to Jacques’s house to meet his friends Marius and Susan. They came to pick us up and off we went. The drive to the site took about an hour if you don’t include the brief stop off at Spar to collect some Braai food for the weekend.
The site was really really nice and was more like ‘glamping’ if anything with an electricity point to use as well as a toilet and shower block. Still, it was a lovely place with running streams by the tent sites. We erected the tent before going for a walk and finding the first waterfall pool and going for a swim. The pool was like something from a film, we went through the trees, following the sound of the water and it opened up right In front of us, crashing, crystal water into a pool of blue. We could hear the barking of baboons in the mountains which was pretty cool but didn’t really pay it too much attention and just went back to start with the evening food plans. We got the fire going and started preparing the meat but it wasn’t long before we could hear the barking again, this time louder and closer. Then suddenly we saw a huge colony of baboons running through the trees, only years from where we were sitting. We watched them run by in their huge numbers before we decided that food was more important and started to cook the huge selection of steaks, ribs, kebabs, chops, loins and thighs we had. It’s was a feast and after some campfire talking, we prepared to sleep but we had one more wildlife encounter before bedtime. I noticed some movement in the darkness of the trees and on closer inspection, it was a cat. A wild cat, slightly bigger than a domestic one and it had a spotty body in the same way as a cheetah but a striped bushy tail in the same way as a tiger. It stayed around for quite a while before it disappeared again into the woods.
Because I assumed Jacques was bringing me a roll mat and he assumed I was bringing my own, I ended up sleeping on the floor which wasn’t the most comfortable of experiences but I managed to fight through and sleep.
The next morning came and after another Braai for breakfast: Jacques, Susan and Marius decided we should go on the hike. I was quite concerned at this point because the weather was on its way to 38 degrees and I am very white. But I went a long and it all turned out fine. Most of the hike was in the shade but it was also more of a climb than a hike. There are 13 waterfalls until you get to the very top. So up we went some times wondering where the path disappeared to but quickly finding our way again. Jacques and I were happy and comfortable with heights so went right to the top with brief spots at each pool whereas Marius and Susan weren’t quite as comfortable and turned around half way up. I say it was a climb, and it really was, often we would have to be on all 4s to make our way up and trust our balance to not fail us. After an hour or so, Jacques and I reached the top, and the final waterfall pool. We went for a swim to cool off and re hydrated with the fresh water falling from the top of the mountain.
On the way down; Jacques went on ahead as I took it a bit slower which turned out to be a bad idea. I got to what I thought was a two way path and it wasn’t. I went the completely wrong way and where I should have turned right to cut out the cliff face, I turned left which led me to the cliff face. By the time I realised, it was too late and I had to scale my way around the top of the cliff, facing a 200 foot drop onto trees, rocks or water below. I thought it was a good place to make a memory and took photos of the view, my feet balancing on the rock and of course; a selfie. I managed to get my way around and found the right path where Jacques called me an idiot for going the wrong way, fair enough comment really.
We arrived back at the site and after a brief rest, went for another swim in the dam before beginning the pack up. We set off back to the estate where the car officially told us that it was 38 degrees. On our return, I decided I wanted a cool off swim in the pool whereas Jacques plan was to sleep.
So I went for a dip before unpacking my stuff, checked emails etc and then decided I wanted a braai for myself to cook my evening meal. A very South African weekend.