Vasbyt Hiking Trip

May 13th, 2007 by Thinus Leave a reply »

Vasbyt Hiking Trail
Near: Mookgophong, Limpopo, South Africa
GPS: -24.39919, 28.44141
When: 2007-05-11 to 2007-05-13
Who: Thinus, Hendrik, Maatje, Jadrie, Francois, Etienne

Vasbyt Hiking TripOne of the 17 things I like about hiking with the Barnard’s is that you eat like a king! They picked me up after work and we set off on the 216km weekend-busy N1 Limpopo Highway while catching up on stories about work, school, girls and un-roadworthy-over-loaded taxis taking up all the safe-following-distance space.

We turned through Mookgophong and in the twilight found the entrance to the farm easily enough. This trail is located in the Waterberg mountain range and as soon as we left the last town lights behind, it was pitch dark. Along the dirt road going up to the farm house where we would sleep for the first night, we had to stop and wait for a massive porcupine to shuffle across. The first one I’ve ever seen!

Vasbyt Hiking TripThe farmhouse has got electricity, two hyperactive bloodhounds and a nicely cut lawn. It could have had warm water if we didn’t use all the wood in the boiler to make a proper fire for all our meat, corn and various Woolworth’s foil-wrapped veggies. We unpacked and tired from a hectic city life sat next to the fire, enjoying a full-bodied red wine while waiting for the very good dinner.

Early next morning we got up, had breakfast and took on (according to the map) the reasonably easy hike to the over-night camp. The main focus for this hike was trees and I learned to identify 9 indigenous ones which, at the time of writing this, I can’t remember the names of. The hike started off on the Southern side of the mountain and we traversed around the first hill discussing and comparing leaves and twigs. There were a number of streams and supposed waterfalls, but the berg didn’t have that much water in him. Slowly the day warmed up…

Vasbyt Hiking TripWe had our first break at the top of a deep gorge on the back of the mountain. Nothing broke, but a family of baboons kept on screaming at us from the cliffs. Then, out of the blue, the route turned straight for the mountain, and we (some louder than others) started to doubt the ‘easiness’ of it. Right here the Vasbyt began to chew on us. We climbed about a 100m for each 1km that we went forward. The sun was burning through the clouds that weren’t there. When we reached the junction where we could choose to make the route an 8km or 12km one, we choose wisely.

Lunch was at an awesome viewpoint on the very top of this mean mother mountain. We spent a good hour here, eating our canned tuna on rye-bread and taking in the vastness of the view. A moment came up for something even more spectacular to happen. It passed again. I swear – from now on I’m going to carry beer on the hikes that I go!

Vasbyt Hiking TripThen, as all good stories should, just when you think it can’t get tougher, it does. We had to climb down 300m in less than 1 km. This part is so steep that we needed to use the provided steel chain to cling on to for most of the way. Well, it brought us to the overnight hut and again our jaws dropped for the sheer beauty of this place. The hut was located halfway down the very steep side of this mountain range and with chairs on the roof, you could see for miles.

We all had a welcome cold shower, fought off some scorpions in between the camp beds, enjoyed a splendid meal again and relaxed next to the fire with sherry and/or coffee. Man, this is life! We carried our mattresses and sleeping bags to the roof of the hut, and right there under the pitch darkness of a moonless autumn sky with only light from the Milky Way and many shooting stars, we slept until an angry baboon mother’s screams woke us up for our last day of the trip.

Vasbyt Hiking TripGoing downhill most of the way, we crossed 1 stream with crystal clear drinking water, 3 dry streams and one dry waterfall. The provided steel ladder besides this 20m waterfall (or then, waterfell) is the only way down. From here the route stayed rocky and we saw many succulents clinging for dear life in the hot dry ground between the boulders. As the route eventually flattened out we had our lunch in the shade of a tree that I then knew the name of. Here we were treated to 2 White-fronted Bee-eaters flying in circles over us while complaining about our presence.

Vasbyt Hiking TripThe last 3km was a quiet walk through a little forest of what I now can refer to only as ‘leafy trees’. Back at the farmyard we discovered a pigsty, fat pigs, a horse and the feathers of a pigeon that got eaten by the perpetual running dogs. We packed the trailer, drove all the way back to the city and bought fast-food burgers and chips to balance out the healthy weekend.

3 comments

  1. Ester says:

    Baie cool staproete. Nie saam julle gedoen nie, maar op skool.
    Die ketting storie is n nice twist

  2. Lelani says:

    ja laat weet of jul die Otter gaan stap! beitjie tyd dat die plaas meisie wat in die Stad woon weer die buitelug trotseer!!!!!

  3. Martin says:

    Hi nice trip report. Wens ek was daar. Deksels baie lus vir ‘n stappie. Lyk of ons darem volgende jaar die Otter sal kan stap.

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