Two days before any trip is when we usually refer to our “what to pack” lists. We have quite a few of these ranging from packing for a camping trip, caving, sea holidays even to the planned list of foods we definitely would want to eat. So, we pulled out the list and started putting the things ready for our trip. Our little adventure. Our trip to Tranquilitas Adventure Farm, Waterval-Boven for some camping and climbing. Exciting!
My fiance, amazing human being, packed EVERYTHING! I got sick and was bedridden for a few days before the trip… So he did it all. He thought about the menu for the few days, shopped for it, packed everything - all the while taking care of me ( yeah, what a man!).
We were waiting to see if I am healthy enough to actually go on the trip but at least the car was packed. Luckily I won the illness over and we could leave for our adventure on the planned morning.
I always get a little childlike when leaving for a holiday. That feeling when we set out on the highway, music lightly playing in the background, chatting the kilometers away and I know: RELAXATION STATION IS NEXT! An absolute given in our car when leaving for vacation, is the crate with a flask, coffee and our travel mugs: coffee-on-the-go! We never stop a lot when driving (only for the loo, as needed!)
And there it is, the endless mountains, rolling one after the other; rock peeking through the soft looking grass here and there; the clouds thick on top of the mountains: “We are here!” My fiance quickly jumped out to pay for our stand while I admired this sight. A short drive from the gate, we found the stand alongside our friends’ who were there already. They had arrived a few days earlier, so their campsite was already a home. As we started unloading the tent from the car, a heavy rumble greeted us from the overcast skies… We looked at each other, and as one we hurriedly put up the tent; I made the beds inside while my fiance unloaded the rest of our things - food mostly. Mission completed! We were done before the rain started to fall. There was something soothing about the rain drops lightly blowing onto my skin as the wind shifted it under the tent’s awning. It was the sort of feeling you get after completing an impossibly hard assignment and you get to celebrate that victory… Then, we got a cold drink from our camping refrigerator, sat on the chairs, and enjoyed the dripping drops and serene moment: This is relaxation station.
When our friends arrived back at camp, it was the meet-and-greet followed by everyone getting a chair positioned so you didn’t end up soaking wet. That night, for a brief hour or 4, the rain stopped just long enough for us to enjoy a lovely campfire; braai some chicken pieces (my fiance and I had chicken with boiled sweet potatoes cooked on a gas stove) and end off the evening lazy, relaxed, and very ready to hit the pillows. Rain started falling again that night, like a curtain drawn over a stage. A perfect setting to settle into a deep sleep.
We woke up, refreshed. Ready for the day: We had planned to go to the Waterfall at Waterval-Boven. Unzipped the tent. We rubbed our eyes. And again. But still, the foggy white mist remained. A light drizzle rain still hanging in the air. Not quite suitable weather for rock climbing. Plans had to change. It ended up being an awesomely relaxed, slow-moving day. We enjoyed each other’s company at camp; made food when the hunger struck; settling in for afternoon naps… A day of real rest. When the others took the first nap of the day, at around midday, my fiance and I walked over to the edge of the cliffs. We were situated at the top end of the cliff. Looking ahead at the mountains, they were so daunting, looking so magnificent. I thought about how small I felt when being surrounded by such magnitude of rock and nature. When I looked downward, I couldn’t find the ground anywhere. All I could see down there were treetops. And then, then I felt small.
In the afternoon, we all felt the need to escape camp and do something. Since the rain stopped, we hopped in the car and decided to go to the waterfall afterall - just not for rock climbing, but sightseeing! We parked at the end of a tunnel, and walked through it to reach the waterfall. An adventure of its own. The tunnel is around 250 m long, in complete darkness for the middle part, and realising that the structure was built most probably by hand at least 120 years ago made it feel like a miracle. When we reached the other side, we saw it. Majestic. Masses of water crashing down. Water droplets separating from one another so you can follow it with the eye (at least, the drop to the ground was so long that is what it felt like!).
That night, there was no rain. So a BIG campfire was in order. We played Charades around the fire and it felt like some movie about a circle of close friends, out in the middle of nowhere, in a scene with happy, content music in the background when they realise their lives are all figured out and working out for each one… I count myself so lucky to have experienced that feeling. We braaied (actually, I braaied, haha) lamb chops, sweetcorn and “braai broodjies” - which is a sandwich that gets toasted on the fire. It was delicious… Or, maybe, it was the beautiful surroundings that made it taste even better. The mist continued and we wondered if rock climbing is ever going to happen on this trip. We let the plans for the next day hang in the air along with the white fog when we each went to our tent for the night.
SUN! We were baked out of the tent by 7h30 AM thanks to the glaring sun. But we didn’t mind. That meant we could go rock climbing! We also had to leave that day… Bleh. So we prepared breakfast, packed up the camp all at once as to not waste any time. Then we were off for some rock climbing - at last! I only climbed one route that day - due to time, and my heart was racing so badly I couldn’t face another set of heights, unfortunately. But, WOW. Lush bushes surround you at the bottom of the rock wall. When you emerge above the densely bushed cocoon, I’m almost certain you can see 300 km far. The cliffs hanging massively tall. No building or sign of civilization anywhere, it really took my breath away. Along with the heights, which also stole my breath! Somehow, it felt like I’m supposed to cry at this beauty, and see my future play out in the clouds which appear a lot closer from up there! Relaxation station then turned into ONE-STOP-ADRENALIN-SHOP.
We headed back to camp. Said our goodbyes. The trip had come to an end, as we headed back home. Obviously, with my coffee-on-the-go ready for the drive, in the crate, on the back seat. Now, we can’t wait for our next trip. Our next adventure! Who knows where we will go, but we still carry our excitement, and “what-to-pack” lists with us!
Until the next travel,