Ezemvelo Hike

April 28th, 2007 by Thinus Leave a reply »

Ezemvelo Nature Reserve Hiking Trail
Near: Bronkhorstspruit, Gauteng, South Africa
GPS: -25.70826, 28.93009
When: 2007-04-26 to 2007-04-28
Who: Thinus, Werner, Dries, Naas, Heleen, Ester, Elizna
View all photos on Ringo

Ezemvelo HikeBeing our first organized hike for this year, the criteria was simple – be close by, short, easy and cheap. And that’s just the people we hoped would come and join us. (For the full criteria, see the comments below this post). Bottom line is – the long weekend was here and we were going hiking!

Even though we go hiking and camping quite often, small arrangements are still always necessary – who rides with whom, who collects everyone’s tents in the week so that he’ll put up everything before the rest arrive, you know – the usual.

Werner and me picked up Ester and Heleen from varsity and met up with Naas in Hatfield. From there the Ezemvelo Nature Reserve is less than 100km away, close to Bronkhorstspruit. Arriving at the caravan camp after dark, we met up with Dries and Elizna and discovered that someone made a neat stack of all the collected tents in his garage. And left it there. Thank you Naas for still bringing your big one…

Ezemvelo HikeMmm, with that sorted, we made a huge fire from wet wood, wet sticks, wet grass, and the highly flammable liquid that we borrowed from a swearing, drunk Scottish guy who was camping solo next to our stand. This grilled our meat and gave off a romantic hue in which we had the good red wine that Heleen brought.

In the morning we had our breakfast and coffee, watched the sun rise, sorted out the bungalow keys at the reception building and headed off on the not-too-tough hiking trail of about 10km. As Gauteng province transitions here from grassland to savanna, except for the Eland, Red Hartbeest and other small antelope that were following us, there’s pretty much, well, grass to see. Yes, the occasional deserted automobile did graze the Bakenveld as our journey progressed, but the first real change in scenery was found at about the halfway mark. Through a small plantation of reddish trees a lovely rocky outcrop waited to be used as the official lunch spot. And so it was.

Ezemvelo HikeAn hour later we resumed our quest that consisted of walking 100 paces, convincing the girls that we were not lost, guessing the next direction to take and nodding wisely. Until we found the single, big, dead tree that the Scotchman moaned about. As he said – “pretty darn useless growing here next to a long-drop if it doesn’t even make for proper shade!” Still, a tree is a tree and it had to be climbed. I ran up it’s side and immediately felt sorry for agreeing with the swearing lad. For the branch I landed on made a 3 inch long cut in my inner thigh.

Ezemvelo HikeSo, I did some swearing myself, drank half of my pure malt supply to keep the pain busy and fixed up my badly torn pants with the 2 cable-ties I just happened to be carrying with me (don’t ask). At last we set off to the hut. Which just ruled! It had a big heap of dry firewood, green lawn, mattresses, and the awesome cliff wall towering out in front of it. Well, a cliff is a cliff and it just begged to be climbed. So we did. And while climbing straight up 50m cliff faces is one of the 7 reasons that I go hiking, it just isn’t the same if there’s no one on the ground screaming at me while secretly worrying for my sake.

Ezemvelo HikeAnyway, the rest of the day was spent with the girls reading books on the grass, we guys climbing rocks, me begging Dries for some of his beer, Naas and me stacking up a mean fire this time, me trying to explain tediously to everyone the math behind my new hobby of calculating when and where a specific constelation of communication satellites will reflect the setting sun just right so that we are able to see the flash for a few seconds, and so on and so on, when thunderclouds started to group in the west. Moving quite fast in the all-of-the-sudden wind, it magically still gave us a clear sky just long enough for me to count down right to the very second the bright star-like flash that briefly appeared in the northern part of the sky. My (and everyone else’s) very first Iridium flare!! Spot-on as promised. Whoohoo!!

Then it started to rain. And man did it rain! We had to sit in the hut through about an hour of late-autumn-style lightning and thunder before we recommissioned our (now wet again) fire for our meat. Afterwards we had char-grilled marshmallows with melted chocolate before we went to bed. OK, Werner and me did try our hand at discussing the origins of species, but it always evolve into something gooey, so I won’t write about it…

Ezemvelo HikeAfter a night of more raining, our last day was clear and we hiked next to the Wilge River in much more rocky terrain. Halfway along the route we left our backpacks on the trail and with only something to eat, climbed down to the river to have lunch and a refreshing swim in a big rock pool. After recovering from my hypothermia, we continued on our journey, only stopping every about 100 paces to convince the girls that we were not lost. Still, we found the hiker boma where we had our last rest for this 11km trip and admired a prime specimen of the Banded-legged Golden Orb-web Spider family. We sprinted the last 500m back to our cars, passing Zebras and more Hartbeest on our way, and nearly passing out at the end.

Back at my place, Ester and Heleen discovered an oven and made us one of the best cooked chicken dinners possible, which we ate with wine while watching the Disney version of Peter Pan. Thanks you guys, this trip rocked! See here for when we are planning the next one in days to come. Now, leave a comment and tell us how you experienced the trip, or why you didn’t join us…

8 comments

  1. Layla says:

    I love hiking… nothing is better than grabbing my gear and heading out to the trails for the weekend.

  2. elizna says:

    wel ja, die ouens het baie hard probeer (met thinus se GPS in die hand) om ons te convince dat ons heeltyd op die presies die regte pad was… maar ek dink die krapmerke wat die meisies gehad het van al die bundu bashing wat ons gedoen het, sê baie van hoeveeel keer ons “nie verdwaal het nie”…

    behalwe vir daai baie koue water en mini hart aanvalle wat ons moes deur maak sonder om vir die bobbejaantjies teen die berg te skreeu (omdat ons bang was julle val dalk af) was dit ‘n baie lekker naweek…

    waarvan ek nog steeds dink dat thinus se nuwe stokperdjie van goed in die lug “magically laat appear” die beste was…

    julle mis regtig uit as jul nie saam gaan nie, so maak ‘n effort om by die volgende een uit te kom…

  3. Ester says:

    Vir almal wat gewonder het of julle dalk sou wou saam gaan en nie gekom het nie – julle het ongelooflik baie uitgemis op ‘n GREAT naweek!!! Wees gewaarsku – kom saam volgende keer :)

  4. Lelani says:

    Wanneer doen jul dit weer??? Ek en Jaco sal dit so geniet om saam op sulke outings te gaan!!!!

  5. Francois says:

    jy’s darm ‘n anderse kind jong.. haha

  6. Keren says:

    Dit lyk oulik en fun!!

  7. Ester says:

    Hey.
    Ek het lanklaas so lekker vir ‘n email sit en lag, en dit sal waarskynlik die deurslag wees dat ek met groot opgewondenheid sê ek sien baie uit daarna – kan nie wag nie!

    Hou my op hoogte. Wanneer moet ek jou die geld gee?

    Groete, Ester*

  8. Thinus says:

    Vir die wat nog nie weet nie, ons try om ‘n hike te reel vir 26, 27 en 28 April. Dit is sommer net ‘n “kom ons vind uit wie hou van stap” stap, so hier is die kriteria waarvolgens dit gekies gan word:

    * Naby Pretoria (so 1uur max),
    * Daar moet water, klippe en dalk iets wat lewe wees,
    * Dit moet maklik genoeg wees dat ons dit enige plek kan afkondig, en ous (meisies) wat nog nooit gestap het nie, moet met hulle tekkies dit kan maak. Ons wil net ‘n groep aan die gang kry. Die moeilike stappe kom nog…

    Feite rondom hierdie stap:

    * Dit gaan gebeur.
    * Al is dit net ek en Dries gaan dit nogsteeds gebeur (elkeen in sy eie tent natuurlik).
    * Jy hoef nog nooit te gestap het of enige cool gear besit om saam te kom nie.
    * Dit gaan suck as jy nie kan kom nie.

    Die beste voorstel sover was vir ‘n natuur reservaat so paar km van Bronkhorstspruit. Hiers wat ek al sover kon uitvind:

    * Die plek se naam is Ezemvelo (www.ezemvelo.co.za), met ‘n Izak wat die foon antwoord,
    * Dit het klomp netwerke van paadjies, en ons kan maar ons eie roete uitwerk om die goed wat ons wil sien in te pas, of om dit kort genoeg te hou vir almal,
    * Daar is plek om te slaap die eerste aand as ons daar aankom (tente of hutte), met ‘n swembad.
    * Wil donderdag aand na werk daar in tente slaap, Vrydag oggend vroeg begin stap na ‘n hiker hut waar ons dan Vrydag aand slaap, en dan stap ons Saterdag ‘n ander roete terug karre toe.
    * Die wat nie in die tente wil slaap eerste aand nie, kan in hut slaap, of as dit te duur is, Vrydag oggend vroeg eers kom. Nes jy wil maar dan kry jy nie OBS nie. (Tensy jy jou eie het).
    * Dit gaan so 8 tot 10km per dag wees.
    * Daar is ‘n rivier, klippe, en dalk iets soos ‘n bok. Ook grotte met rock art en OBS.
    * As jy die letters in Ezemvelo by mekaar tel en met 2.174 maal kry jy 224, dus is dit naby ‘n Uniegebou, tussen ambesades en ‘n ware landmerk – uit en uit het jy geen verskoning om te kom nie.

    Koste sover:

    * Toegang: R25pp
    * Tent Slaap: R40pp
    * Hut Slaap: R90pp
    * Tolhek: Niks – ry die ou pad
    * Jou kos
    * Hierdie epos: R0.000000492

    Ek try hierdie blogsite van my uitsort om in die toekoms die idees en vrae op een plek te hou. Daars ‘n foto van die plek. Bookmark dit, kyk maar wat daar aangaan en los ‘n comment. Anders, reply net na die mail. (Vertel ook vir jou maatjies hiervan, en stuur my hulle email addresse, ek betaal goed.) Sal julle op hoogte hou van wat aangaan met die reelings. Hou julle net Donderdag 26 April tot Saterdag 28 April oop. Daars nog ‘n massive lang naweek na dit oor vir as jy iets minder cool wil doen.

    Anyway, dis vir eers al waaraan ek kan dink. (Natuurlik kan ek aan ander goed ook dink, maar dit het niks met die stap uit te waai nie…)

    Groete dan

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