Well it’s been an adrenaline filled last couple of weeks for the leaps in bush house. On Tuesday morning, Ginny, Sven and myself set off early for the much awaited adventure trip to Hazyview. The day got off to a rather hectic start (as expected) on the quad bikes, speeding through the hills of Hazyview with not much control! Sven being a biker himself was in his element but it’s safe to say I think I’ll stick to the horses…
The next activity on our agenda was gekoing. For those who are wondering what this is, you basically sit in a rubber ring that is more of a tube shape and make your way down a river with all its rapids included, holding on for dear life! To all of our amusement Ginny’s arms weren’t quite long enough to be able to paddle in the slower stretches meaning she received the luxury treatment of being pushed along as she lay back and admired the view! The trip down the river also consisted of some cliff jumping (quite literally)… Despite our nerves, after a little persuasion from the guides we all made it off the jumps into the river, including the biggest one which was around 10m. I have to admit the free fall from this particular one was a little long for my liking, making me thing how an earth I wasgoing to manage to do it the big swing the next day! Despite my fears that there may be crocodiles or hippos in the same river we were gekoing down, this was by far my favourite activity of the day; it was like being on a water ride but in the wild, in Africa and ten times the fun! That evening we enjoyed a lovely meal where Ginny and I both tried Kudu for our first time and then tucked into some luxury chocolate brownies, as well as a few drinks at the bar.
The following morning was the big day; time for the big swing. On arrival at Graskop we were greeted by thick fog filling up the canyon meaning we were preparing ourselves to basically jump into the middle of nowhere with no idea where we were going, just under the knowledge that the drop was hundreds of meters below us! The weather remained that way for the zip line, which actually made it more fun as you would just run off the edge into deep fog and slowly disappear into the distance.
Luckily by the time it was time for the big swing the weather had cleared and we could see exactly how far we were going to be falling.. We decided that going tandem (together) would probably be the best option as otherwise we were more likely to wimp out! All harnessed up and ready to go, the guides then announced we’d actually be going off the edge backwards!! We were told to put ours heels over the edge of the plank and and close our eyes. Before we had enough time to think about not going ahead with it we were free falling into the deep canyon below. This has to have been the scariest part as with no tension on the rope you almost forget that you are actually attached to one. In tears of shock and laughter we were both very pleased to eventually feel the jolt on the rope and start swinging from one side of the canyon to the other, finally enjoying the view without fearing for our lives! It was certainly the most terrifying thing I have ever done, but I would do it again in a heartbeat. Despite barely being able to breathe on the way down due to such shock I had a smile plastered on my face for the whole day and have been watching the video back ever since! You could say that we definitely took “the leap”!
More adrenaline fun has come from another trip to the races on Spirit and Hippy Boy as well as galloping right into the herd of rhinos this morning! Temba then gave us a spectacle of ‘a horse challenging a rhino’ as he came head on with the male rhino on Maximus!Luckily they were more scared of the horses than the horses were of them and were soon on their way..
Whilst we have been adventuring Tori has had a more relaxing week with more rides on the elephants and chill time at Bush house, making the most of the African sun before we head back on Thursday. Last week we also all enjoyed the panorama tour, taking in the grand sights of God’s window, the Blyde River Canyon, numerous waterfalls and potholes, as well as buying lots of souvenirs on route – it’s safe to say we’re all going to have an issue with the weight of our luggage on return home!
Ginny and I also had a fun morning painting Hippy Boy, one of our favourite bush ponies, and attempting to ride backwards, lying down and with no bridle! Poor Hippy still has the paint on almost a week later, meaning all the guests from Manyatta have had to enjoy riding a pony with our names painted on his legs and the leap across his body!
Meanwhile Tori did some more substantial painting of the classroom wall at the community, painting an elephant and a lion for the kids to enjoy, whilst Ginny and I (the less artistic) stuck to painting the alphabet, the days of the week, a clock and some numbers.
It’s been a jam-packed couple of weeks and we will all be so sad to leave Kwa Madwala on Thursday. On the other hand, we are very much looking forward to catching up with family and friends and sharing all of our stories and adventures with them.
Let the countdown begin!