My initial reason for doing the Giants Cup trail last year was to ascertain whether we were fit enough to hike the Fish River Canyon this year. We only completed the first days hike to the Mzimkulwana Hut.
I re-booked the trail for this year hoping for an improved performance.
Instead it was a comedy of errors with all concerned conspiring to effect a coup by refusing to hike any further than Mzimkulwana Hut. Instead we drove to Swiman’s Hut and spent two days developing excuses for why we bailed the hike. This was accompanied by two cases of Clos Malverne kindly donated by Kurt and two boxes of beer donated by Malcolm.
Even I was forced to have a beer or three or five over this period of commiseration at the state of Quo Vadis.
By Sunday everybody was ready for a hike but the best that we could do was to take a stroll up to Mermaid’s Pool.
Even our renowned sense of direction failed us. On the hike to Mzimkulwana, we took the right hand fork to Pholela Pools instead of the left hand one to the next hut. Peter came to our rescue by suggesting that we take a short cut straight over the mountain, which we duly did.
Dissention rose in the ranks but no rebellion ensued. To the sound of much grumbling by the participants, we reached Mzimkulwana.
The “road” from the start of the reserve near the dam to the hut was almost impassable. Even the 4x4s battled. I am not sure what explanation Malcolm would have provided Janine if he had got stuck especially if Kurt had not been able to winch him out.
On a positive note, the beers were great, Peter’s potjies up to his usual high standards and above all else, the camaraderie excellent.
Two interesting incidents with animals arose:
- Whilst performing the reverse expedition over the mountain after getting lost, we followed a jackal for about 300 metres. It would stop every few metres and look back at us as if it wanted us to follow it.
- The second incident was when we were driving on the “Goschen” gravel road back to the Underberg – Drakensberg Gardens Hotel Road. Just before we reached the main road, a buck was trapped between the two fences. About 200 metres in front of us, was a buck trapped between our vehicles and some black boys walking towards us. In spite of five pairs of eyes viewing this animal, none can identify it. Options advanced were blesbok, bontebok and mountain reed buck
Our guests at Swiman’s hut were again not the Woman’s Hockey Team but rather a German couple, Nora and Sebastian, both pilots. Peter put on his best manners and refrained from swearing as he taught them how to prepare genuine South African potjie.