Me, camping. Really? Yes, really! As ridiculous as this sounds to my friends and family, I went camping this weekend. I even went on a hike. And enjoyed it…wonders will never cease
12 of us descended on Kolobe Bush Retreat for my very first camping trip as an adult. When I was a kid we went camping a lot – we would go off exploring whilst the adults went fishing and I had endless hours of fun pretending that I was in Enid Blyton’s Enchanted Wood, or that my
imaginary boyfriend Jordan from New Kids on the Block was there with me. It’s been a good 20 years or so since I last went camping though so I was unsure what to expect. Also, this time I took my real boyfriend
We borrowed a tent from a friend, I insisted on purchasing camping chairs (at which Rob was horrified), and we set off on the 2.5 hour drive from Joburg to Limpopo. Almost 5 hours later we arrived. The Friday afternoon traffic coming out of Joburg is not to be underestimated. The route is actually extremely straight forward – N1 North, R33, R1o1 and then you are almost there. What one doesn’t count on, is that if you are in the wrong lane at the toll booths where the R33 turn off is on the left, you can not drive through the tolls and then cut across to the R33. If you are not in that lane then you are going to have to make an extremely dangerous U-turn on the N1, go back through the tolls, then make another U turn to go back through the correct toll lane. There is absolutely no way to get on the R33 if you do not make the exit at the toll booths. An R8 charge becomes a R66 charge. Oh yes – we learnt this first hand
We arrived in the pitch black, Rob set up the tent (pop up, thankfully) and I started on the first of many Savannah’s for the weekend. We had an excellent braai cooked by some of our friends and then we sat chatting around the fire with a few drinks before we retired to our tent
At this point I would like to remind you that for any camping excursion DON’T FORGET TO TAKE PILLOWS. Rolled up towels make a lousy alternative
The next day we were all up early and intended to have brunch followed by a hike. By 9am when the food was cooking, the sun was beating down so hard that everyone was covered in factor 30 and we decided to chill by the lake and do a spot of sunbathing and fishing instead. What a great day! We chatted, ate, drank and laughed. Then it was time to assist in the prep for dinner – a potjie I was a bit nervous as the potjie can take 5 hours to cook, and I also assumed that it would taste like a stew, which I have been forced to eat many of growing up but actually don’t like at all. My fears were unfounded, as it didn’t take 5 hours, and the potjie was delicious! The meat was so tender, and the flavours were more delicate than stews that I have been subjected to in my life. I would definitely recommend prepping the vegetables at home if you don’t bring a sharp knife though!
We had an extra visitor to our campsite when we were there – a yappy little 10 week old Jack Russell that was apparently named F*ck Off. We didn’t like that name at all and promptly renamed him Dave. Dave was cute but freaking annoying. He was always there making trouble. We had a Rhodesian Ridgeback with us who was 10 times Dave’s size, yet Dave spent the whole weekend antagonizing Zapiro and then hiding under our legs when Zapiro tried to play back
We played the longest game of Trivial Pursuit known to man, and had an awesome time chilling in the dark around the campfire. Most people swam in the dam (lake). Even me – even though I can’t swim!! It was nice. I hope I didn’t pick up a parasite though!!
I had an awesome time getting to know our new friends. The funny thing is that since we have been here we have only met one Brit, but on this camping trip there were 9 of us!! All of us live in Melville too which is really cool. It was so strange to hear a “normal” accent again 😉
The hike was fast paced and very rocky, but I didn’t break anything or cause anyone to roll down a cliff, athough Zapiro budged me out of the way a few times when he was getting impatient that I was walking too slowly
The drive home was pleasant. I mean, I slept almost the whole 3 hours so that was great. It was cool to drive through the town of Modimolle, where Kolobe Bush Retreat is based and see it by day, as the drive there had been pitch black. There was a township, lots of shops and it was all quite quiet as it was Sunday and a lot of people were in church.
Kolobe Bush Retreat is good for groups that just want to chill out. There are shower facilities, electricity at the camp sites, and you can park next to your tents, which is helpful when your tent is as small as ours was. The campsites were only R400 per night – we booked 2 and shared the cost between 12 of us, so it was a very cheap weekend away