Everyone needs a friend that says: “Pack your things, we are going on a river adventure.”
Once a year, after the rain has fallen, Scotty will say something along this line; “River adventure in two days!” This short notice will make any true Capetonian more than a little nervous. In Cape Town we pack our weekends full and we plan them well in advance. Yet somehow after the rain has fallen we find a way to wiggle ourselves out of prior commitments for a rough and uninterrupted weekend of adventure on the Doring (translated from Afrikaans means Thorn) river.
Although our photos were of poor quality, the adventure and adrenaline rush was not! The river was higher this year than usual. We had quite a few newbies and quite a few familiar faces. Our adventure started at base camp. We built a huge bonfire under the African sky while having a fat jol deep into the morning hours. The sky was lit with stars. Our beers was cold and our hearts were full.
We started our adventure bright and early. The higher water meant that we swam at a few rapids. We fell out almost immediately at the largest rapid on the trip as lovely Richard steered us onto a giant boulder. He grabbed hold of the safety rope and I was carried all the way down the rapid. Never in my life have I swallowed that much water.
After a not so lovely swim good old Mikey got hold of my lifejacket and started pulling me onto the boat. I started struggling. As he pulled, the lifejacket started closing in around my throat. He just kept yelling at me that he was trying to help me.
Falling out and swimming aside, I loved being surrounded by this raw wilderness. We set up camp at our usual spot. Scotty’s tent had a few pens missing and he ended up doing a hammock vibe instead. Big fires were made, lekker kuiers were had and the sky was alight with billions of flickering stars.
The evening was freezing and we all dried ourselves and our clothes by the fire. Our bags were not as waterproof as we hoped it would be after the third swim. I was shivering all night long. It gets really cold out there!
The next morning we woke up with our campsite surrounded by leopard footprints. They are usually quite shy animals but the smell of our braai must have enticed one to come closer. Luckily Scotty wasn’t snatched from his hammock.
The peacefulness of the river and the digital detox made this weekend worth the wet socks, the no shower, the river hair and having to pee in the bush.
After a trip like this we are all a little broken, roughed up and ugly, but we are very happy humans!
Our weekend came to an end with a quick pitstop (as per tradition) at Spur to refuel on burgers and chips before making the three hour drive back to Cape Town. Come Monday the team at the office knows better than to ask. What happens on the Dorings river stays on the Dorings river.