Earlier in June 20 members of the 1st Honeydew Scouts Group went on the hike of a lifetime when they got to experience the thrills, beauty and treasures of the Drakensberg.
“The idea for the hike was born last year ” explains Scout Group Leader Neil Webb. “Both our Troop Scouter Roald and I are experienced Drakensberg hikers and I was very keen to expose our Scouts to the thrills of a Drakensberg experience.” Fitting it in to their busy schedule was a challenge, but Roald pushed through and the Scouters decided that a winter hike would be feasible provided they planned it thoroughly. A few months later a hiking party comprising of 5 Scouters, 1 Rover, 1 parent, 4 senior Scouts and 9 junior Scouts embarked on four days of fun!
“We booked 4 campsites at Mahai and managed to secure 4 adjacent sites where we set up our base camp on the first day”, says Neil. “The second day the seniors set off on a two day hike to Mont-aux-Sources. They hiked to the top of the Amphitheater and slept overnight in Crows Nest Cave. From base camp it was approximately 50km plus a 1700m climb to the overnight stop in the cave. The junior Scouts did two day-hikes of 8 and 14km respectively. The first hike included the Crack & Mudslide and a 600m climb to the top of Plowman’s Kop,” explains a proud Scout Group Leader. Dylan who obtained his Pathfinder said ” Getting to the top of Plowmans Kop first was the highlight for me!”
The third day the younger Scouts braved the ice and snow and got to see and taste the water in the Thukela Gorge. For First Class Scout Peder, hiking through the snow and standing on the ice in the middle of the Thukela River was the highlight of the trip. “The taste of the water was much better than in Jo’burg!” said Blake who obtained his Pathfinder. Adventure Scout Tamryn enjoyed going up the chain ladder to discover an amazing view and the glistening snow!
“The conversations with the kids and leaders while hiking in the awesome mountains of the Drakensberg and taking in the magnificent mountains & beauty around me ” is what Scouting parent Peter enjoyed the most. Troop Scouter Roald who often hikes in the Drakenberg enjoyed the peace, tranquility, and stunning beauty of the Amphitheatre area. “It is one of my all time favorite places – It provides real food for the soul and is why just being there is so special to me!”
When we asked Neil what his highlights were he replied ” For me the highlight of the weekend was observing the sheer delight of the juniors in shimmying down the mudslide chain-ladder and exploring the freezing water of the Thukela Tunnel Gorge. As SGL I am thrilled at the enthusiasm and grit of the Scouts and the skill, both in planning and execution, of our Scouters. For some of the Scouts, it was their first Scout hike, and for most of them, their first Drakensberg experience. The weekend was a mixture of advancements and experience,” continues Neil. “Two of our Scouts have now completed well over 200km of logged hikes each. Advancements completed included First Class, Adventurer and Pathfinder hikes, axemanship, mapping, nature trails and cooking.”
Click here for more photographs of the hike.
Photo’s supplied by Neil Webb, SGL 1st Honeydew Scout Group