For those not in the know, Tsitsikama is one of South Africa's premier hiking trails, and is fairly tough. Who went: me and Christopher, Frans, the Herwegs, Tania, Allen and Michael and the Robinsons, Robert, Robert and Sean.
On the way down we went with Frans and first stopped in Port Elisabeth and stayed with Ruth for two days. Also in attendance were Trev and Billy (see picture). For those not in the know Ruth and Trev were one of our hiking friends before they moved down to PE a number of years ago. Ruth and Trev took us down to the beach for a beach walk, followed by lunch at some restaurant and than off to the Van Staaden bridge, that is a railway bridge where we entertained ourself with a short walk and throwing stones off the bridge measuring the time it takes to gain an idea of height. Average time was 4.77 seconds which gives 112m. Also tried those well known experiments of throwing one stone out horizontally and dropping another one straight down, they both arrived at the same time. Its all great stuff and takes me back to school times.
Tuesday morning we proceeded to the meeting place at the Stromsriver bridge. All went according to plan, Allen came to fetch us and we left Frans's car behind to join the others at the Bloukranz Forest Station, the hiking could start. We only had a short, 7 km, hike ahead of us with minimal altitude difference, so it went fairly quick and we were at the Blaauwkrantz hut at about 15h00. There was enough time to stroll around a bit, to play a game of golf (invented by the youngsters) using a tennisball and a broom (Frans actually got a hole in one)and to get acquainted with the other hiking group, which had come from Pretoria. They were pleasant enough and one of those groups that leaves very early, in fact before we even get up. That was nice, that way they were not in our way when we got busy.
Wednesday: down and up and down and up and up and up and down, at the highest point we were at about 500m, I was fairly slow on the ups but managed. Again we got to the hut, Keubos hut, very early and killed the time by drinking coffee and talking.
Thursday: again 13.4km with some ups and downs. This time we had a swim stop at, I think, the Lottering River. But the water was cold and not very inviting. This took us to the Heuningbos hut.
Friday: tough day, from 300m to 700m, down to 400m, up to 700m and down again to 400m. The second up I rebelled because it had been agreed to stop for lunch at about 13h00, but they just kept on going and going. When I finally made it to the top and blasted them I was promised an ice cream from the Wimpy, Tania you still owe me that ice cream.
Saturday: from the Sleepkloof hut it wasn't very far and mostly down hill, we were at Frans's car at about 10h00. After sorting out the other drivers we went off back to PE and to our overnight stop on a farm near Middelburg.
But first we had some problems, Roberts car was over heating. That caused a bit of a delay and us, Frans and me, taking Tania and Michael forward to the overnight stop. Fortunately the problem got sorted out and and Alan was not far behind us, only about an hour. What a great overnight stop. We had a snooker table, a dart board, some other games and real beds. Dinner and breakfast was laid on and all that for a very reasonable price. I should make some propaganda for the farm but I have forgotten the name, Witkranz something, it is at 31º35.52'S 25º3.606'E.
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