ZINGELA OUTING – APRIL 2016 – Trip Report
By Frank and Sue…
After the Kosi trip Sue and I decided to do the Zingela camp as a contrast to the different terrain and environment, and we are pleased we did. Meeting up with Danny and Evette, Terry and Lyn, Simon and Ellen and Wendy from Kosi weekend. Sue had taken the Friday off so we had an early start and ambled up to Weenen where we turned off onto dirt just after the garage. The route schedule Kevin gave me to the camp site seemed easy and clear (all 4 instructions) until we got to the Weenen Estate turn off which was a fork in the road. I phoned Mark and Linda (owners of the camp) only to hear we had over shot the Sunvalley turn off. Once we got to the causeway over the Bloukrans river I spotted a red arrow painted on a pillar of the bridge, cool, just follow the arrows to the camp, that track petered out, no tyre marks on the road, we asked some locals for directions to Zingela, all they could do was point in the direction of the mountain. I turned right and over a cattle grid and then up the Bloukrans pass.
For me, 1st gear low range over the rocks, not knowing whether we were on the right road I carried on until we saw some power lines and the tops of thatch rondavel’s. We met Mark and Linda who suggested a cold beer which never touched sides. Mark escorted us to the camp on his Yamaha, along the way we saw and heard the barking of an irate female baboon, standing on her hind legs looking for her baby,we waited until she calmed down.
We set up camp and it was not long after Wendy arrived. As the sun was setting the rest arrived in convoy. Kevin and Jennifer left Durban at 5.30pm to arrive at about 10.00 in a blaze of lights, lighting up the cliff face on the south side. It was an early braai and into bed for us.
The following morning turned out to be cloudy with a menacing wind, Sue and I decided to walk back to the main camp for the excise and then back again but not without incident. When it happened it was over in 3 seconds. To my right, alongside the road was a earth bank. With no warning 4 large warthog, grunting and raving at their disturbance, came blundering out towards us with a branch that had hidden their entrance, then dispersed in all directions, as Sue said, definitely a brown pants moment.
We got back to camp to find everyone sitting beside a wood fire which was really inviting and listened to all their experiences of different trips they had undertaken in the past. That evening it was hot curry, cold OB and into our burrow (the roof top tent) for a good night sleep.
Sunday was a slow get up, with breakfast in the sun to warm up. Kevin suggested we all go for a drive down stream to a picnic spot which he knew and kindly offered Sue and I a lift, crossing the dry river bed behind the camp we found a well corroded track going up the side of the krans, definitely not a jeep track (Cherokee) nor a bike track (Suzuki) only the big t’s, in my novice mind I graded it at 50 up and 60 down but was told only about 5.
We all had time out at the river with snacks and something to drink. I was left behind to guide the rest passed a large boulder which was obscured by grass only to catch a lift with Wendy, then the adventure started, what goes up must come down. Wendy’s sump plate came in contact with a rock, at the sound of it she took a deep breath then exhaled with some vocabulary I cannot print in fear of been thrown out of the club. I then decided to walk the short distance to where Kevin was guiding the guys down the rough stuff. To top it all Wendy managed to get her rear end (diff) lodged in front of a boulder which had by now became loose, with the three of us we managed to bounce the Isuzu over and out. Everyone got out without any oil leaks!!! The Govenders went off to find a cell phone signal to phone Talia as she had returned from Paris. They soon returned with a huge tree attached by a strap to their tow bar. Now that’s fuel for the fire.
Sunday night was an all get together for socialising, cooking, braaing and liquidising until late into the night (for some ) Monday we all decided to leave in convoy at about 12pm. It was at this stage I noticed two large hand prints on my bonnet which definitely were not human, most of us agreed it could be baboon prints, all this wild life!!!! I have photos of them and will make enquiries. Due to heavy dew we packed up after the tents had dried out in full sun. What a lovely day and having to leave a magnificent spot to return to civilisation. We returned the same way and saw two giraffe not far off, then down the Bloukrans pass for a few photos on the causeway. At Weenen some filled up and others took the tar road to Estcourt or Greytown. Kevin led the others on a dirt road, a short cut which came out at Mooi River. Our final good byes as we headed for home.
From Sue and I a big thanks to all who have really made us as new members very welcome.