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Why the name Rooi Ivoor, its afrikaans for Red Ivory or Berchemia Zeyheri, a bush or smal tree growing in the area. It is distictive because of its dark red and hard wood. It is said that only the chiefs were allowed to carry a knobkerry made from this wood. I must get myself one.
The hike is in the north near Steelpoort and Burgersfort. And for interest Steelpoort is sitting on the eastern branch of the Bushveld complex with mines and extraction works for Chromium, Vanadium and Platinum. And Burgersfort is of historical interest, it was here that the Transvaal president Burger had a fort erected to help in the war against the Sekukuni, that was in 1876.
This is now besides the point and I am just showing off with my knowledge of local geography and history. It is a long road from Middelburg to Steelpoort, 170km or so. It took us until 20h00 to arrive at the Molopo camp. My initial reaction was 'oh shit!', there were plenty of cars and I had visions of this being a mass camp. But my fears were aliviated when I found that we had a house to ourselves and there was no sharing of facilities necessary with the other groups. It's bad enough sharing amongst ourselves with all the boxes full of food and utensils trying to find a corner in and around the kitchen.
We had a selection of two hikes, naturaly we did the long one on Saturday, that was the Tambotie trail, nominally 10.4km.
Not very long and not much up and down. It is very pleasant surrounding, mostly bush and some grass land, lots of walking through gorges. Luch time we had at a lovely spot on the banks of the Eloffspruit. It invited for a swim, only Sue and Eric were brave enough to dip into the icy water. A bit further on we found a much better swimming pool and here even I succumbed to the lure of the water, so we went in, that is Jörg, Eric, Frans and I.
We were getting close to camp now and as we were walking we could hear some strange noises which turned out to be a fierce bush fire that came racing towards us. Seeking refuge on a rock bank in the river we thought the best would be to wait and let it pass.
This was excitement enough for the day and we rested for the remainder of the afternoon.
The short walk the next day, with a reduced team, was very much shorter and just as pleasant. And again we were tempted to get into the water. Eric and I selected the first pool and found the water very much colder than the previous day. Further down where the other went to it was considerably warmer, there we could actually swim. We left the place with the clear understanding that we have to come back soon to do the back packing hike to the Stamvrug camp. The farmer has undertaken to take our rucksacks up to the hut in his bakkie.
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