My Birthday in Rietvlei Dam

November 19th, 2006 by Thinus Leave a reply »

Rietvlei Dam Resort
Near: Centurion, Gauteng, South Africa
GPS: -25.86937, 28.269236
When: 2006-11-18 to 2006-11-19
Who: Thinus, Naas, Werner, Dries, Marietta, Rudi, Mary-Ann, Corne

My Birthday in Rietvlei DamUsually it rains when we go camping but this time it poured! There were robot crossings where we couldn’t go through because of boulders being washed down the streets. Bad news, as I arranged this date so nicely to coincide with one of the liveliest meteor showers in the year, the Leonid Meteor Shower. It happens right on my b-day, but being November, and our rainy season, not visible every time.

So we eventually arrived at one of my favorite camping spots, Rietvlei Dam, and found a place to pitch the tents. Close to ablution blocks with warm water within walking distance (to keep the girls happy), and close to a place for a big camping fire on the ground (to keep the boys happy).

My Birthday in Rietvlei DamThere were lots of birds, that evidently loved the rain, I saw the African Spoon-bill, a new one for the list, and a few special ones like Spotted Thick-knee, Sacred Ibis and Pin-tailed Whydah. Fishermen camping here before us dumped all their corn on the ground so Yellow-billed ducks and Weavers were all over the place.

After about 3 hours the rain receded enough for us to walk around and check the place out. Dries, Marietta and Elizna arrived, with Werner and Naas, coming all the way from Johannesburg’s side, short on their heels. It’s always tough to find people at last minute’s notice to come and camp with me, but these are my resident ‘come sun or rain!’ camping buddies.

We set up tents under the trees and started making a fire. Rudi, Corne and Mary-Ann, also joined in with a family tent that would later save the day…

My Birthday in Rietvlei DamWell, each with a drink in hand we tried to rush the fire as it started dripping, but before long, it was poring again. We ended up grilling our meat in a monsoon; the girls holding a sheet over most of the fire and Dries, Naas, Werner and me getting soaking wet trying to turn the meat. It was impossible to stand under the sheet ourselves as all the smoke built up under it. Eventually we got all the meat done and moved to the big tent.

My Birthday in Rietvlei DamThe rain didn’t stop for the following 5 hours, but we were equipped with some camping juice and wouldn’t be stopped either. So we moved into the tent and had ourselves a Tequila slammer party…

Way later that night the rain stopped again, although the clouds never left. We got out, resuscitated the fire and had some midnight camping style marshmallows. With all the clouds we didn’t manage to see one shooting star. Non of the others really looked like they could care and one by one went to bed. I dutifully got up every hour until sunrise to scout the night sky, of course ready to wake everyone as soon as the curtains to the show pull open. But no luck. Remind me to send an e-mail of complaint.

My Birthday in Rietvlei DamSunday morning was my birthday! You see – I held the record a while back for being the youngest person on earth. It didn’t last very long, but its still a feat worth celebrating every year. So I got coffee in bed, 2 or 3 presents to unwrap, and we had one of the best South African camping breakfasts their is – Skottel Braai. This involves a gas burner, eggs, green peppers, mushrooms, Vienna-sausages, bacon, onions, banana, milk and anything else that someone might have thought of to bring. Nothing beats it, and no two Skottels will taste the same!

Thanks to all who endured this freaking cold and wet weekend, even with no show as I promised. I will arrange something much cooler for a future camp. You will see

1 comment

  1. Johann Rall says:

    Hi Thinus

    Ek vat nie grond nie, het nou juis vyf dae verlof gevat en sover kon ek net een dag iets doen, die res was alles opvang op goed. Ek sal graag vir my ‘n tent wil kry en naweke bietjie weggaan. Kersie op die koek sal wees as ek my mountainbike kan saamvat. Dink mens het nodig om elke nou en dan net bietjie weg te kom.

    Jou website lyk baie cool, het so vinnig na die foto’s gekyk van jou verjaarsdag by die Rietvleidam. Dit kan hier net so baie re├źn, maar ek dink jy het die regte attitude. Mens gaan kamp, kom hell or high water!

    Alles van die beste daar in SA, ek hoop my lewe sal na die 20e Julie weer bietjie terugkeer na normaal.

    Baie groete,


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