4 November 2018
We woke up to beautiful sunshine, at last, and keen to make the most of the day, we had a speedy breakfast, and were out of the door by 09:30.
When I was in the Drakensberg nearly twenty years ago, I did an amazing gorge swing, and had been hoping to relive that again today. Cornelia was also able to participate in various adventure activities, and was very excited to be able to climb a tree, do some target shooting and go in a zip line. I had found a nearby company that offered the activities and we rocked up to find we were the only people there at the adventure centre (which itself is part of a large campsite and resort).
Jarod, the receptionist who dealt with our booking was delightful. So friendly and kind. We paid up and he sent us on our way… over the bridge, right, right again, and you’ll see the zip line on your left. Eunice and Portia were there to greet us, and take us through all the activities.
First up was Bugsy’s zip line experience. She’s been on lots of zip wires at home before, but this was slightly different insofar as she had a harness, a helmet and the line was quite long! She had absolutely no fear, and was soon whizzing up and down (she was allowed five trips on it). Ian was at the far end to unclip her, then she raced back, up the little slope and off again. She looked so cute and so big. And so small. All at the same time!
After Bugsy’s go on the zip wire, it was our turn. We were taken through the safety requirements and techniques: clip onto the yellow wire first with two clips, then the pulley on the red wire. Hold the pulley handle with your right hand and the zip wire with your left (gloved) hand, pulling on it gently to slow down.
Once we’d passed the training wires, we were guided along various zip wires, each getting higher and higher and progressively faster. My experience was slightly worsened by suddenly needing to go to the loo (I’ve had a bit of a bad tummy the last couple of days), but with no loo nearby, and being stuck up a tree, I had no choice but to carry on! Ian said I speeded up quite considerably halfway through and any friend who has run with me before, knows I can be speedy when I need to be! 😂
Once we’d completed the high wires, it was Cornelia’s turn again. She opted to climb the 12 metre tree next, but when she actually started her climb, she suddenly became very scared, and despite my great efforts to reassure her, she asked to come back down and get off. What a shame! I am sure she would’ve loved it, but never mind, at least she gave it a go.
Her favourite bit was the target shooting. Portia was kind enough to give her twice the usual amount of paintballs on account of her not the tree climb. What fun she had, firing at the numerous targets! I dunno… she loves playing with fires, shooting guns furiously… should I be worried?!
All of that took about an hour, after which we went back to the main reception so that a) I could go to the loo and b) Bugsy could have some time in the play park. We had a wonderful time there, playing in the pirate ship and on the swings. There were a couple of other families there too, and one of these families had brought their tiny pet tortoise in holiday with them!!! Cornelia went to look at the funny little thing, but was quickly lured back to the trampoline!
A chap called Conor came over to introduce himself. He is the general manager of the resort, and was really interested in our van. I suggested that Ian might show him around, which he did, returning half an hour later, pleased to be able to talk vans with someone!
It has been a beautiful day, and Bugsy was keen to go in the pool, now her previous punishment had expired. We drove back the short distance to our chalet and I made lunch before Cornelia and I went up to the pool, and Ian took himself off for the “Crystal Springs” walk – a five mile hike up into the mountains. The pool was cool, so although I went in and had a swim, I couldn’t persuade Cornelia in any further than her waist. Instead, we lay on our sun loungers (me in the sun, her in the shade), listening quietly to her audiobook. It was perfect.
And then I heard a rumble of thunder… the clouds were starting to roll in quite quickly, and I was slightly concerned that Ian would be up in the hills with a storm fast approaching. Indeed, it started to rain lightly, so Bugsy and I packed up and went back to the chalet. But within twenty minutes or so, the clouds had passed and the storm had not come to much. The sun came back out, so I sat outside with a cup of tea, while Cornelia was allowed a bit of down time with the TV, watching some weird cartoon film.
Ian came back, earlier than I’d expected him, but it just hadn’t taken as long as the guide book had suggested. He did get caught in some rain, just as he reached the summit of his walk, but had his waterproof with him, and actually, as was the same down here, it had not lasted long. He’d had a fab walk and was full of beans when he returned.
Soon, it was shower/bath time for all of us, before we walked up to the main building for dinner in the restaurant. We were surprised that it was a buffet, but not disappointed, as the food was terrific. I had a variety of salads to start with (glossy beetroot, bright green peas, sweet corn, and minted peppers), followed by lamb, mashed pumpkin and veg, and then a dessert mix of marmalade bread & butter pudding, trifle, and chocolate peppermint Swiss roll. So, skipping lunch the last couple of days was worth it! Cornelia had spaghetti carbonara for the first time, and didn’t grumble at all, so was allowed ice cream and chocolate sauce for her pudding.
Tummies ridiculously full, we rolled back down the hill to our chalet, suddenly encountering a flash of lightning and a rumble of thunder. I pity anyone who left five minutes after us, as it poured down with rain, the wind howled around us, and the thunder and lightning continued on and off for the rest of the evening. The rain and wind were so fierce, that our patio doors could not withstand the rain, and our floor was soaking wet. (Thank goodness for the underfloor heating to quicken the drying process… yes, we have underfloor heating here, squeak!!) When Ian was telling Cornelia a Mumfi story, on occasion he had to raise his voice quite a lot, just to be heard!
Once she’d settled down, she called out for me to go and give her another cuddle, but after that, she amazingly managed to go to sleep, with the wind swirling around the high thatched roof above her.