| || || || || || Jan - Apr 2007 Magazine |
Mabukuwene Nature Reserve
Fridays 19:00 - 21:00 hrs
Norman's Email address
With thanks to:- Editor, typist, distributor - Leon Wuyts
UNDER THE PSEUDOLACHNOSTYLIS MAPROUNEIFOLIA
Celebrations to mark the Centenary Year of World Scouting commenced here in Matabeleland
with the holding of the Gordon Park Challenge, in the Matopos. This event was held at the end of
December 2006 to mark the 70th Anniversary of Gordon Park and into January of 2007, in order
to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of World Scouting. One of our Troop members, Assistant
Patrol Leader Dylan Sandwith attended this High Adventure activity, and his report is included in
this edition of Pioneer Trail.
Whilst Dylan was participating in the G.P. Challenge, Patrol Leader Leon Wuyts was attending
the South African Senior Scout Adventure in the Cedarburg Mountains, north of Cape Town. This
too was a World Scouting Centenary event, and Leon reports on his experiences.
The Parentís Camp scheduled for 10 - 11 February was cancelled owing to a heavy downpour of
rain, just as parents were arriving to set up camp. There had not been any rain for the previous
six weeks, but just as we were about to set up camp, the heavens opened and within a two hour
period of lightning and thunder we received 75mm of rain. It continued raining throughout the
night, but cleared early on the Sunday morning. Having experienced a similar wet Parentís Camp
several years previously, it was the right decision to cancel. Besides, I dissolve if I get wet.
The Baden-Powell Camp from
23 - 25 February was well
attended with two hundred
and fifty two Scouts and
Guides in camp. During the
Baden-Powell Day Service on
the Sunday, Patrol Leader
Leon Wuyts received his
Chief Scoutís Award from Mr
Nelson Sakala, Zimbabweís
Chief Scout Commissioner.
Following this presentation,
Leon was announced as the
winner of the 2007 Mike
George Hike Project. Mrs Liz
George presented Leon with
his certificate and monetary
prize on behalf of her
husband, Mike George.
Congratulations Leon on
attaining your Chief Scoutís
Award, and for winning the
Mike George Hike Project.
Our weekly Troop meetings at Mabukuwene, our headquarters in Burnside, have in general, been
well attended. School sports commitments and sundry activities being the reason for most
excuses of non-attendance. Apart from the usual instruction and test passing during these
evenings, new games were introduced, as our range of games was rather limited. Sadly, during
the term we bade farewell to Scouts Shaun Daly and Liam FitzPatrick.
The monthly weekend hikes have all taken place and as usual they have been joyful events. By
sheer coincidence all the hikes, which were held on the first weekend of the month, have
coincided with a full or near full moon. However, from June to the end of the year, we will have no
moon on our hike weekends.
Unfortunately, some of the Provincial Scout events have not taken place this past term. The
situation is not likely to improve, as fewer Scout Commissioners are in a position to undertake the
organization and running of these events
owing to the harsh economic times our
country is experiencing.
Our end of term Sausage Sizzle was held at
our regular meeting venue, Mabukuwene,
on a cold and wet Friday evening. Despite
the rain, everybody managed to braai and
have a nice warm dinner.
During the school holidays, Troop meetings
have continued for those who did not have
any other family commitments. The holidays
also provided an opportunity for myself and
three members of the Troop to undertake a
One Hundred Kilometre hike in the
Matopos. The choice of a One Hundred
Kilometre hike was to make it a Centenary
event. The report of the hike is recorded in
And now, it is back to my hammock beneath my favourite Pseudolachnostylis maprouneifolia with
my floppy hat pulled over my eyes as I dream of the fun to be had on the Join-in-Centenary Camp
in Gordon Park during August, as we celebrate with the rest of Scouting at the World Jamboree in
England, One Hundred Years of World Scouting.
Cederberg Senior Scout Adventure26th December 2006 - 13th January 2007
From when the plane first took off, I knew I was in for the time of my life. The date was the 26th of
December 2007, and feeling nervous and very afraid, I was headed for the National Senior Scout
Adventure in the Cederberg Mountains of South Africa. What an experience for me to go through,
what a joy.
I had never flown before, and the flight from Bulies to Joburg, and then on to Cape Town, was an
experience in itself. I sat with my nose glued to the window for both flights, and felt like an
innocent country bumpkin in the huge airport terminals of Joburg and Cape Town. But with the
trusted old Zimbo sense of direction, I didnít get too lost, and didnít have any hassles on the flight
I touched down in Cape Town in the dark, with the nebula of lights spread out below me, quite a
sight. At Cape Town Airport, I was met by my brother, who took me out to the farm they run in the
Elgin Valley, growing apples and vines, from which they produce their own brand of wine. The
farm was quite different from the farms here, very domesticated and such like, without the real
'farm feeling.' But it was very enjoyable and relaxing being there.
I spent a day with my brother at the farm, looking around, and generally relaxing. The next day,
we woke at the crack of dawn, and getting all my kit together, drove into town at about 5 oíclock
a.m. At the Good Hope Centre, we found no busses but lots of Scouts waiting, and it turned out
that the buses had left earlier, but due to Cederberg planning, we hadnít been informed. Luckily,
one the buses had had a problem, and so I wasnít left behind. This was one of the only oversights
of the camp, the general transport of the participants.
Anyway, it wasnít long before we were all
loaded up, and finding a place on the bus, I
watched as the Cape Town scenery faded
behind me, as we moved into the farmlands to
the north of Cape Town itself. I sat with my
nose out at the window most of the three-hour
trip, savouring the scenery.
We didnít stop for anything, and with much
joking and hilarity, we soon reached the
mountains. With my first view of the
mountains, I was enchanted. A lot like the
Chimanimaniís, they held a special beauty:
rugged and fierce, with an air of age and
grandeur. Bumping along the gravel roads,
tossed from one side to the other, we were
soon at the main Cederberg headquarters.
Feeling like a rather lost and abandoned sheep, I unloaded my kit and took it down to the tents
set up for everyone, after first signing in. I then wandered around, hoping that with my unusual
uniform, and hat (which I discovered was a very rare thing down there) I would be noticed. This is
what eventually happened, and I was greeted by my new Patrol, who quickly made me welcome.
I was introduced to all the guys, and we sat down to wait for the Opening Ceremony.
This was delayed for a long time, as we were waiting for a bus to arrive. And so we stood around
and waited for quite a while, talking and chatting. Eventually, we held the Opening Parade, where
I broke the Zimbabwe Flag, flying next to the flags of several other countries, such as Belgium,
England, America, Namibia and Saudi Arabia, which all had contingents at the Adventure.
Following this, we basically arranged ourselves, whilst our P.L. sorted out our itinerary; I arranged
the food side of things. Both these were very muddled, as our itinerary had been prepared wrong,
and therefore the food rations we were given were also wrong. It was all sorted out in the end,
and as we were to spend the first night at HQ, we found ourselves a tent and relaxed in the
afternoon, looking around the activities prepared for us at HQ.
Basically these activities were a volleyball court and a climbing wall, along with a tuck-shop,
souvenir shop, and of course the bistro, which did a roaring trade when we were around,
especially me! An added feature of the HQ area was the freezing cold river at the bottom, where
we sometimes (when the urge hit us) went to have a swim, with lots of noise entering and exiting
the water, which I could swear actually had little icebergs floating in it!
The next day was our first base, electronics, and was quite cool, as we got to make a digital
clock, which also showed the temperature. I fitted in well with my new band of friends. Most of
them were Germanís from Joburg (as they quickly became known), along with three Namibians;
we were truly an international Patrol. Each guy in the Patrol had his own characteristics, and it
was really great learning about each guy, and getting to know them.
One thing that stuck in my mind real early about my Patrol was our wits, as we spent nearly all
the time laughing loudly about something someone had said. Even our instructors and base staff
were not immune to this, and when they werenít the object of a joke, they too were laughing with
us. A lot of what we laughed at was situational, things that struck us as funny at the time, and
formed memories for me that get me smiling just thinking about them.
Anyway, that afternoon we followed the small river at the base of HQ about 2 kilometres
downstream, to diving. This was a bit of a let-down, as the weather was freezing cold, one guy
even suffering from a touch of hypothermia. Afterwards, we were quick to light a fire, as much for
the staffís comfort as our own, and sat around it and defrosted for a bit, before setting off for our
next base: pizza oven, where we would spend the night.
We soon made it to pizza oven, where we met another Patrol: the actual Namibian contingent. It
wasnít long before we were preparing our own pizzas, and if all our mothers could have seen
what we produced, such mouth-watering examples of fine cuisine, Iím sure we would have
become the in-residence family chef! We cooked our pizzas in a real home-made pizza oven,
straight from Scouting for Boys, so B-P would have been proud. The only complaint we had was
that the pizzas were so small, but they were soon wolfed down.
We settled into our sleeping places quite snug that night, after a quick bit of socialising at the
Namibiansí fire; with the wind howling, and promising rain. I had set up my bivvi in a lovely clump
of leaves, and slept like an absolute log. We were up the next morning at the ungodly hour of four
a.m. all sleepy eyed, as we were set to climb up onto
the Wolfberg that morning. It was freezing cold, as we
were right by a river, and it wasnít long before we were
stamping around, and then hiking off along the road,
to follow a sort of path up the mountain.
When we reached the mountain we separated, and
here I sped up a bit to heat up, and overestimated the
other guysí speed. We met up at the top though, and
had our breakfast (nothing like Matopos Style: just a
packet of rather gruelly oats stuff, which you added
water to, and no time for a nice warming cup of
coffee.) On the top of the mountain, we got a bit off
itinerary course, and missed the Wolfberg Arch
completely, which was a natural rock arch which we
were supposed to see. Following the planned itinerary
proved quite difficult to us, and so we just walked our
own way most of the time.
We made good time along the mountain, following its
ridge, until we reached the descent. We slowed down
a bit here, as it was quite steep, allowing us to have
long chats about all sorts of stuff, such as how the
South Africans saw Scouting there, and having girls in
Scouting. I found that the South Africans, and
particularly Adam, our 'adult' advisor, had a lot of
similar ideas to me, which was great. I say Adam was our 'adult' advisor, because he was both
underage, and very non-adult. He laughed with us and joked with us, and did all the things we
did. He became part of the group, and in many places he was actually the most adventurous and
care-free of us all. We never got into any real hassles though, nearly always due to Adamís
guidance and control.
Down from the mountain we followed a major road until we reached ecology, with a bit of a delay
in passing through a farmerís roibos crop on the way, as we got a bit confused, and made
ourselves comfortable there. We slept the night at ecology, the best looking base of them all, and
had the actual base the next morning. We checked traps that had been set up to trap insects and
critters of the veld, or which we only found spiders and ants, and had an interesting talk on the
flora of the veld.
That afternoon, we left ecology and hiked off up the steep valley pass ecology was at the base of,
and soon reached the Tafelberg Mountain. We climbed over the shoulder, dropped down onto the
other side, and camped the night at a cave just below the actual mountain. It was New Yearís Eve
that night, and we were joined by another Patrol of rather rowdy South Africans, who stayed up to
welcome the New Year. My Patrol on the other hand, was so exhausted, we just collapsed where
we were, and were blind to all noise until morning light.
With a very belated welcome, the New Year started bright and early the next morning, with us
climbing up the Tafelberg Mountain itself, a real monster. We were met by the Mountaineering
Base Staff, really super people, whom
we would keep meeting throughout
the Adventure. We climbed up onto
the tip top of Tafelberg, which has two
beacons (must have been an Irishman
who put up the second one - to be
sure, to be sure) before doing a bit of
abseiling and rock climbing, which the
Patrol all did like real proís! The climb
down was strenuous, but we
eventually made it back down to the
cave where we had spent the night, to
pick up the kit we had left there.
We then climbed off the mountain
completely, descending into the valley
of the river which flowed past HQ, and
following a road at the bottom, we
soon made it to Aids Awareness, the
most boring of bases, where we were
lectured to for about 15 minutes, and then given a lollipop. As we had all had Aids Awareness
lectures like this at school, it wasnít very interesting, but the thought was there.
We soon made it to HQ, where we were to spend the night, and after lovely warm showers, we
relaxed for the rest of the evening, cooking a whole chicken on the braai fires provided. That night
we slept very well, building up energy for the next day, where weíd have the Commando Course,
along with Dutch Oven Cooking, before being transported to Water Base that afternoon.
The Commando Course was fun, though it seemed to test more whether we could withstand
physical pain than work as a team. Not trying for a time or anything, and just out to have fun, we
soon finished, and went for a welcome shower afterwards, before Dutch Oven Cooking. This was
really super, as we made a casserole, bread and pudding, all of which we wolfed down, and even
took some away with us to eat later, which we did not that much later!!
That evening we had our first transport of the Adventure, from HQ to Clanwilliam Dam, in a huge
overlander bus. We first had to get the bus moving - a difficult feat, push-starting a two tonne bus
- and eventually, with the intelligent help of a starter cable, we were zooming along to
Clanwilliam. With some clever bribing we managed to persuade the driver to take us to
Clanwilliam town, where we raided the one and only supermarket there, buying up nearly all their
supplies of coke, sweeties, chocolates and most importantly: condensed milk.
We eventually arrived at the water-base, way overdue, with some half-hearted excuses about bus
troubles, which I doubt were believed, and settled in at our campsite along the dam shore, where
we had our supper and a nice warm cup of coffee. The wind was freezing that night, and I donít
think anyone slept very much, as we were all wide awake the next morning, preparing for our full
English breakfast of toast, eggs, bacon, mushrooms, tomatoes, and onion, all cooked by Adam,
who looked a bit displeased about it, but we all had a wonderful breakfast.
The dayís activities were super, with tubing being my favourite. We also tried a bit of water-skiing,
which I fell off countless times, and some of the guys managed to do some parasailing before the
weather turned. The real highlight of the day though was the flying, in which we flew around the
dam in a small four-seater Cessna, with amazing views of the dam and the surrounding
That evening we were again transported back close to HQ, but dropped off along the road, next
to the 4x4 track leading to Sneuberg (the spelling of which Iím still not sure of) Mountain, which
we were to climb the next morning. That evening we hiked along the road, climbing almost
continuously, which led us straight to the mountain hut, where we spent the night.
The next morning we began the ascent of Sneuberg, a huge mountain, with some of the
Mountaineering Staff along with us. Close to the second-most ridge, we left all our kit, and only
carried our bare necessities for the rest of the climb up. This was exhausting, and it took all day to
eventually reach the shoulder of the mountain. Guided by the mountaineering staff, we ascended
close to the summit, where there was a natural ledge, where we stopped the night, after doing a
bit of abseiling first.
At the ledge we unloaded our stuff, made
ourselves comfortable, and settled down
to wait. As the sun was just setting, we
climbed to the top of the mountain, which
had a beacon (just one this time) and
watched the sun set, and the moon rise
just after this. It was quite a magical
moment and well worth the terrifying climb
That night we slept on the platform close
to the summit, waking up real early the
next morning to descend the mountain,
heading for our next base, astrology. The
climb down took only a fraction of the
climb up, and no, we didnít roll down the
mountain, though there were some
spectacular slips on my part, and we were
soon back onto normal, level ground,
zooming along the road to astrology, where we arrived 10 hours early.
We arrived for most bases
much earlier than they expected, as we woke early, and set a good pace, which was excellent
because then we had longer rests at each of the bases.
Astrology was very interesting, though we spent most of the day just messing about; the base
that night was well worth it. We were told a whole hobbo about the stars, and even got to look at
some galaxies and suchlike through the telescopes set up for us.
We woke at the crack of dawn the next day, bidding farewell with a lovely steaming cup of coffee
to some Girl Guides who had camped the night with us, and who were about to climb Sneuberg.
With wicked grins, we set them on their way, telling them it was just an easy stroll up and down
That day we had transport down the road to marksmanship, which was a bit boring due to the
numbers, as we had to wait and wait for a chance to shoot, though the shooting itself was quite
fun. Clay pigeon shooting was especially good, something Iíd never tried before.
We had to hike down the road to our night-stop, archery, which we were scheduled to do the next
morning, though we stopped off at some cave paintings along the way. These were rather small
and insignificant in my eyes, though the South Africanís were quite besotted by them, as they are
very unusual and rare down there.
Archery base the next morning was not the greatest, as the bows were unsuited to some of us,
who kept slicing open our hands when firing and we spent a long time looking for stray arrows.
We enjoyed ourselves though, and as the Adventure was nearly closed, we hijacked most of their
spare food rations, and had quite a feast that night.
That afternoon, we were expecting transport to take us to 4x4, but there was a bit of confusion
here, and 4x4 didnít materialise, so we found our own way back to HQ, commandeering one of
the buses at marksmanship. At HQ, we had a welcome shower before the final campfire, which
wasnít brilliant, but was enjoyed by most of us. At this campfire, the Adventure was officially
brought to a close, though we would have the final Closing Parade the next day.
That night, the Germans were leaving early,
at about 3 oíclock in the morning, so I slept
close to their car for the night to say
goodbye when they went. It had been quite
an experience, and in the short time I had
been with them, we had become firm
The last day dawned bright and early, and I
found myself in a pensive mood watching
the sun rise over the mountains for the last
time. I had grown quite fond of the
mountains in the ten days I had been there,
and it was hard now to leave.
At the Closing Parade, we had some very
inspiring speeches, and then the flags were
lowered once again. I felt proud to stand
there and lower my countryís flag, for to me,
it had shown to the world that though my country faces such problems and difficulties, they can
be overcome. Each time we had returned to HQ, I had glanced at the flags, and each time,
though the others looked dreary and drooping, the Zimbabwe flag had been fluttering free, and
even one of the Girl Guides had seen this and remarked on it. There is still hope, no matter what
After the Closing Parade, I helped to clean up as much as I could, keeping an anxious eye on the
buses waiting to leave. Eventually my bus was ready to go, and I hopped aboard and waved a
final farewell to the mountains. The drive into town was long, and I fell asleep several times. I was
absolutely exhausted, and it was with some relief that I saw my brother waiting for me when we
arrived back in town.
My Cederberg Adventure had come to an end, and burdened by the memories I had made, the
experiences had, and the friendships forged, I felt happy, and at peace with the world, though
tired beyond anything else.
I spent the next three days with my brother, who kindly looked after me, and showed my around
the farm, whilst my sister-in-law showed me around Cape Town. I climbed Table Mountain, and
visited Hermanus and Cape Point, and visited Mr. Carlisle and his wife, who was an old friend of
Normís, which was really great. All in all, it was an amazing time, seeing new sceneries,
swimming in the sea, and feeling the feelings of Cape Town.
I spent the last night in Cape Town with my sister, who kindly drove me to the airport the next
morning, feeling tired and exhausted, but happy and free. My first real foray from home, my first
challenge to the world outside my hometown, had been rewarded with a great feeling of
achievement and amazement.
In thinking back of my experiences, I am deeply indebted to those who made it come true: to
Norman for providing me with the training and inspiration; to those who sponsored and helped me
find the money to pay for the Adventure, my thanks can never be repaid; to the South African
Scouts, who showed me hospitality and love, and gave me a taste of Adventure; to my parentís
for their support; and to my brother and sister for looking after me so well, even when things were
a bit hectic. And my deep thanks to Baden-Powell and the idea he created, for allowing me to live
Flying back home, with the amazing vista of a glorious Africa laid out before me, the feeling grew
in my heart, becoming stronger with each metre I travelled closer to home: there are so many
things left to see in this world, so many things left to do, so many places to go and people to
meet. So many brilliant sunsets to watch, and sunrises to see; would I be able to see them all?
'There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.'
Shakespeare - Hamlet
Gordon Park Challenge28th December 2006 - 4th January 2007
Out of eight challengers, only five arrived at
the Provincial Headquarters at the start of the
Challenge: Jonathan, Bekhe, Lewis, Tumelo
Our first event was with Mrs
Penny Graham, who spoke about menus, and
then it was up to us to plan our hike menu in
order that she could buy and bring the rations
to Gordon Park. After that, Ken Nortje showed
us some of the knots we would be doing for
our Spare Time Activities. At 12:30 pm. we
went for lunch at Mrs Grahamís house, and an
hour later we were on the road to Gordon
Park. Once there, every one unpacked the
trailer, followed by the opening Parade. Ken
took the first session, and asked us why we
were here, and what we were hoping to gain.
Then he inspected our kit, which we had made
for the four day hike. The catering staff came with our dinner. After dinner we had a Management
Game, in which we had to organise a Troop camp. This took two hours.
On the morning of Day 2, we went for a run at Scout Pace, after which Mr Ken Blake and his
sister Betty came, and we went for a walk around the Park identifying trees. He also told us what
berries we could eat and not eat. He told us the Latin names of the trees we saw. Returning to
the Lodge, Norm gave us maps and the co-ordinates to the places we were going to go on the
hike. After having gone through compass instruction we then plotted our hike route on the maps.
At 12:50 pm we had lunch. Between 1:15 and 2:00 we did our STAís. Then we went with Mr and
Mrs Francis to the Mike George Camp
Ground for instruction on pistol and rifle
shooting and then a bit of target practice.
There Bekhe was silly and pointed a hand
gun at Mr Francis. Mr Francis reacted fast
and told him never to play with a gun as he
didnít know if it as loaded. At 4:30 Mrs van
Aarde took us for First Aid in the Lodge,
where Jonathan wanted to amputate
everyoneís body parts. When it was over we
had dinner. Ken then gave a talk on
hypothermia. He also told us how to make a
Maori oven, as we were to make and use
one latter on during the Challenge.
Everyone woke up early on Day 3 to pack
their bags. We had breakfast and a morning
parade. We then left GP to go to Shumba Shaba Lodge, which was an hour away on the eastern
side of the Matopos. Once there, we set up our bivvies and started on our projects. Jonathan,
Bekhe and Lewis built the raft, whilst Tumelo and I made a Maori oven. After work comes play, so
we had fun on the dam with the raft. Then Mr Parke and his son Mike and a friend Chris came to
stay the night. When we got tired of the raft, Mike and Chris decided to build a dam wall in the
river that takes water out the dam. There we all struggled to stop the water from breaking our
wall. In the end, we built a small wall in front, one in the middle and a very big one at the back. It
was very dark when we got back to camp. And that is when we tested if the Maori oven had
worked. By the time we ate the stew, I thought it was pretty good. In bed we worried about the
rain, and at about 3:00 am, everyone, except Lewis, dived under Normís tarpaulin.
Most of us struggled to wake up on Day 4,
because of the rain, but we still had to repack
and have breakfast. We started the hike on top
of Mwazi, the highest mountain above sea level
in the Matopos. We hiked past Morning Glory
Farm. On the other side, Jonathan asked one of
the ladies there where the path was that led
down to the Mtshabezi River. She then led us to
the path, on the way we met a relative of
Bekheís. Half way down we decided to have
lunch and looked down at the amazing view.
After 10 minutes, we struggled down the steep
path. At the bottom, the bush was so thick that
Tumelo had to throw himself into the shrubs to
make a way through. When we reached the
Mtshabezi River, on the way down river, we lost
the path and struggled through the rapids.
Eventually Jonathan found the path and we flew past the rapids. At 5:20 we came to the
Mashasha Falls. Then a kilometre later we set up camp in the rain.
At 5:10 on Day 5 we were on our way to one of the schools on the Old Gwanda Road, and across
the road was a shop where Lewis and I asked if they had seen a man in a white Land Rover.
They said that he had gone past at 5:00pm the night before. We decided to change course, and
walked about eight kilometres before we had brunch. After three more kilometres, we told a man
we met on the road that we were going to Masiye Camp on the Gwandavale Road. The man said
that he knew a short cut, and so we followed his directions, but on the way Jonathan, Bekhe,
Lewis and Tumelo asked the people the way, just to make sure. I really got annoyed with them
because they said that there was only one path, and we would not find another one, but we
walked a few metres and there were just paths leading in all directions. So we took the one most
used. Then the nest person we met said it was only three kilometres to Masiye Camp, but it
turned out to be much further than this.
Finally, at about 7:00pm we reached Masiye Camp, and very politely I asked if I could use a
phone, but all the phones were down and there was no signal. Then I asked if we could stay the
night, and they were very kind to us and put us in one of the buildings looking down onto the dam
below. Our sleeping bags were very wet, so Jonathan decided to use the grass mats on the floor
At 5:30 the next morning, I woke the others up, and at 6:10 we left Masiye Camp. An hour and a
half later, we reached Mtsheleli Dam. On the way to Silorswi shops, a man gave Tumelo, Bekhe
and Lewis a lift to the shops, while Jonathan waited for me, and we walked to the shops together.
When the two of us arrived, the other three told us that if we gave the man two thousand dollars
heíd take us to Gordon Park, but Jonathan said he wanted to walk, and so we decided to stick
together. As I fell back because my pack was hurting my back, and my feet were painful, because
of the big blisters I had, I was about 500 metres behind Lewis, when one of the men from Masiye
Camp stopped and asked me to jump in. He picked up everyone except Jonathan, who only put
his pack in the truck.
On the way to the turn off to Worldís View, I
looked at Tumelo, and I knew he was thinking
of Jonathan, and how stubborn he was. By the
turn off I decided that I didnít want to see
Worldís View, so we waited for Jonathan at
the curio sellers. The women took one look at
us and made us all sit by their fire and gave us
tea. By the time Jonathan came I had had
three cups of tea. At about 12:00 we were on
our way to White Rhino Shelter, which we
reached in half an hour. On the way down to
HQ, we met Ken and Norm, and went to say
hello. During lunch, we told Ken and Norm
about the hike, and the rest of the afternoon
was spent sorting kit and lounging around.
The next morning, Norm blew the kudu horn to
wake us up, and once we were awake, Norm
told us to stay away from the kitchen, as the caterers wanted to be alone while they prepared the
Challenge Survivorís Dinner. So for most of the day we did some Spare Time Activities. While
Jonathan and Tumelo were getting lost attempting an orienteering course, Lewis, Bekhe and I did
the Six Knot Challenge. That evening, we put on our uniforms for dinner. We had a lovely
butternut soup, followed by a delicious roast chicken with potatoes, butternut and rice. Before
dessert Mr G. Parke gave a beautiful speech, and presented us with our G.P. Challenge
certificates. Then Tumelo gave a speech of thanks. The speeches were followed by ice-cream
and chocolate sauce. We then left the dishes for the next morning.
Everyone woke up excited the next morning, as it was the last day. We started by organising our
kit, then Norm blew the horn again. He then told us to wash the dishes, but we carried on with
what we were doing. Half an hour later Norm came back in a bad mood telling us to go and wash
the dishes. So we ran down and washed dishes.
At 8:30 we had a lovely breakfast. After breakfast we finished washing and put the cutlery and
plates away, and finished packing our kit. At 9:00 we had our Closing Parade, then Jonathan,
Tumelo and I said our goodbyes to Norm and Ken and the other Scouts, and Beverly Viljoen and
her mother brought us home.
Assistant Patrol Leader
A Spirit of Adventure
The following is Mr. Parkeís address to those Scouts who completed the Gordon Park
Challenge, given at the Survivorís Dinner.
Scouts, Scouterís, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Firstly I would like to welcome you all here and to thank you for allowing me to speak tonight. It is
indeed an honour. To Norman and Ken, a very big thank you for all of planning and hard work
which have made this Challenge a reality. You are probably not aware of the incredible amount of
work and a great deal of expense that has gone into this Challenge, and if I may say you have
been very privileged to be one of just five Scouts to have benefited from this. I hope you are
aware of your fortune in having this pair of 'old codgers' who have given of themselves to lead
you through the paths of Scouting this past week. They are without a doubt two of the most
committed, dedicated and knowledgeable Scouters that this country has seen and is likely to ever
I was privileged to be a member of the 8th Bulawayo (Hillside) Scout Troop when Norman
was Scout Leader, and I also attended Kenís Patrol Leader Training Courses in Ruwa. A big
thank you too to the wonderful catering team and all those who helped behind the scenes.
Speaking of Ken, I must tell you that I used to be quite terrified of him. In his younger days, he
was an exceptionally hard task master and like today, one could never be too sure when he was
joking or being sarcastic or not - with often dire consequences! Actually, when I look at Ken and
Norman now, I think they have both become somewhat soft over the years - maybe they just
never quite recovered from what we got up to or seeing the way some of us turned out!! In our
day, they never molly coddled us like I see they do now. What with tucking you all into bed at
night, making fires for you, and if you could have seen the worry on their faces when you guys set
off on your hike.. quite dismal indeed. Then when you had gone, they worried if you were lost or
cold and wet.. I had to refrain them both from running after you with their treasured pink night
dresses to offer to you to keep you warm!
I would also like to say thank you to you all for hosting me and my family both the other night and
tonight for your dinner. It has been a number of years since I have been involved in ground level
Scouting and spending a night in the bush camping out with you, brought back many happy
memories for me and has been most enjoyable and much appreciated.
Secondly, I would like to say well done on completing the challenge. If I could (and I wonít go on
like Ken, I promise), I would like to take a few moments to congratulate you all. Now that you are
finished, it is right and good to sit back and consider what you have achieved and to sing some
praises and give yourselves a big pat on the back. What you have done is commendable. I have
to say that there are very few boys your age, even of those involved with Scouting, who would
even want to take part in a Challenge like this, let alone to do so with the attitude, gusto and
determination that you all have. I have been so impressed with you all and am really in awe at
what you have achieved. Well done to you all.
I would like you to reflect a bit on why you have chosen to take part in this G.P. Challenge and
more importantly what you have learnt and can take away from it.
Why do a G.P. challenge?
Just as school is not just about Geography and Maths (they are just part of it, they are things that
you learn and may even use a bit later in life), but is about the whole experience. Scouting and
particularly this Challenge is not just about learning about pioneering, hiking and hypothermia.
They again are all good things to learn but it is about much more important things like having fun,
setting and achieving goals, personal development, relationships and being a better person. It
would be interesting to have asked you all before the challenge what your reasons for doing it
were and to see if they are different now.
What you have done (perhaps without realizing it) is to
set yourself a goal. Guys, goals are important and they are what set you apart from those peers
that chose not to do the Challenge and those non-Scouts that wasted their holidays sitting
around. The fact that you are here puts you ahead of them and tells me something about each of
your personalities. The fact that you have set and achieved this goal means that you have set
and achieved other goals in your life and that you will continue to do so. History has shown that it
is those of you that set and focus on achieving set goals that achieve great things and fulfilment
in this life.
What have you learnt?
I am sure that there were times during your hike when you wandered what the heck you were
doing. I am sure when your blisters were hurting and your back was sore, you felt sick, cold and
wet you probably cursed us all and its true you were probably not having fun at that particular
moment in time. I know from some of the ultra marathons I have run when at 70km into the run, I
promise myself never to run again and to take up bowls. The funny thing about any challenge is
that as soon as we have finished we are so happy with ourselves, we forget the hard parts and
start planning the next challenge. Itís that sense of achievement. So how do you feel now? Good
and ready for another challenge I bet.
I can assure you that even if you donít think so now, in many years to come, you will never forget
the experiences of this past week of your life. You will tell war stories of it to your friends and
even to your children one day (you can ask my son Mike here, he is sick of all mine!)
Furthermore, the experience you have gained will not be forgotten and will benefit you for the rest
of your life.
In closing, the memories you have gained, the friends you have made and your Scouting
experiences in general must be treasured. They are valuable and will help you throughout your
life. I urge you to make the most of your Scouting and of what it has to offer.
Norman told me a story the other night about one of his parents who made a comment that their
little son had gone out on a Scout trip as a boy and had returned a week later as a man. They
could not believe the change. I think that some of you maybe came a week ago as boys but can
assure you that when you leave here tomorrow, you will be proud young men.
Be always prepared, be proud, live by the Scout Law and most of all, have as much fun as you
can doing it.
Well done to you all.
The Hula Hula Hike5th - 6th January 2007
Having arrived at Gordon Park from Bulawayo early on Friday evening, Shaunís dad agreed to
take us to the starting point of our hike, which was Gali Hill near Fort Usher. Gali in the language
of the BaRoswi means beer-pot, or so Norm told us.
We, that is Shaun, Dale, Brendan and Norm, were dropped off in the middle of no-where. Putting
our rucksacks on our backs, we hiked for about a kilometre ending up on the top of Gali, where
we found a dale - a shallow depression - nicely covered in short grass with lots of trees, and
made our hike camp. We put up a large trail sheet in case it rained, for a few dark rain clouds
were building up away to the east. As it turned out, the clouds disappeared around 8pm and we
enjoyed the light from a near full moon all night long.
After supper we had an interesting conversation about all sorts of things, but mainly about the
hike and what animals we hoped to see. After hours of chatting, Dale suddenly leapt up out of his
sleeping bag and started to do a hula dance, minus the hula hoop. He was hilarious. It didnít take
long before Shaun and Brendan joined him. Norm just lay there laughing his head off. Finally,
exhausted, we got back into our sleeping bags and dozed off to sleep. At one thirty in the
morning, we all awoke for no reason and started chatting again. Shaun and Dale opened their
sweetie bags and so we had a midnight feast. Then off to sleep once more.
Early in the morning, we woke up and
made our breakfast of mealie meal
porridge. After this we packed up and
got ready for the hike. However,
before we left we wrote our names on
an empty gas cylinder, from Normís
hike cooker, and hid it in a place that
only we know. When ever one of us
camps there again, we will look for it
and it will remind us of the great night
we had had.
We left Gali and headed for Shumba
Shaba hill, which we could see in the
distance. At the bottom of Gali we met
our first villager, whom we greeted.
We were all in high spirits as we hiked
along the winding footpaths to
Hlankanza Dam. At the dam, which
did not have much water in it,
although it was now the rainy season, were two Egyptian Geese. Also, Brendan saw shining in
the wet grass, many spider webs. They shone because the sunís rays were glinting off the dew
drops on the webs.
Carrying on we crossed another small dam wall of a few metres in length. Here Dale was the first
to see a pregnant ubabemi (donkey). Shumba Shaba now looked quite close, but Norm decided
to get us lost - the Dodo. So off we walked in circles looking for a path to lead us to Shumba.
Shaun was in his usual dwaal and didnít know that we were walking in circles.
Eventually, Norm the Dodo found the way up the southern side of Shumba after having to go
bundu bashing, crossing little gushing streams of cool clear water and thick jungle bush. Getting
onto a long granite ridge, we followed this to Witch Doctorís cave with its grain bins and a piece of
sable jaw bone. We explored the cave for a while before continuing on our trek to the top of the
kopje. Eventually we came to the steep part of Shumba where we had to crawl on all fours with
our heavy rucksacks. At the top we were greeted by nice cool pools of manzie (water). A cooling
swim refreshed us as we waited for Shaun to join us, as he was not climbing as quickly as we
had. When we were all together, Brendan took out a packet of chips from his pack and shared
Down the mountain we trekked, heading for
Gordon Park. Near the Park we met two
lady cyclists with whom we chatted for quite
a while. We arrived in Gordon Park via the
wall of Lake Scott, putting our packs down
at the stables. Dale and Shaunís parents
were waiting for us, and very importantly
they had tea and cake waiting for us hungry
hikers to feast on.
And so ended our ten kilometre hike at
Dale van Aarde
Matobo Cave Hike2nd - 3rd February 2007
We all got picked up at Christ the King. We first went to Gordon Park, then we left for Matobo
Cave, where we slept the night, taken by Mr Mackenzie. We lit a fire and had our supper around
the fire. In the morning at quarter to six we got up and started eating breakfast. At about 6 we left
for a nearby dam. We had a quick tea break there, and met a guy fishing.
When we left, we started hiking for Mount Inungu. When we finally reached Inungu we climbed up
the mountain following a forgotten path, until we reached the top, and then we came down. We
had run out of water and so we went to a store a short way back along the road to get some water.
Then we had to hike back along the road. We
followed the road for quite a long time until we
reached the path to Worldís View, where Norm,
Leon and Brendan, who were ahead of us, were
waiting for us. When we all caught up we
climbed Worldís View. We climbed up to the car
park and waited there for a while, before finally
going down the road to Circular Drive, which we
followed to White Rhino Shelter, which we
climbed and went over, into Gordon Park. Then
we had a shower and lots to drink - completely
Water, water everywhere!!2nd - 3rd March 2007
Like any other hike, this hike began at Christ the King Church at about 5 oíclock on the Friday
afternoon. Everyone was happy that school was over for another week, and, more than that, we
were going out hiking in the Matopos! What bliss!!
Well, this week for some reason or other only four of us arrived to embark on this latest
adventure: Leon, Dale, Chris and of course the indefatigable Norm. Well, the less the merrier, so
we all climbed into the landie and nosed our way out onto the open road, ready and eager for our
Speeding along in Normís landie, the miles just flew past. At the turn off to Fort Usher, we did the
unpredictable and turned, heading away from Gordon Park and the National Park towards a side
road, branching just before the actual Fort, moving south towards Toghwana Dam. Along this
side road, Norm eventually found the road he was looking for, and we progressed down this road
until we finally reached a kraal, where we asked permission of the lady there to camp close by,
which was quickly granted.
So we moved off about 100 metres and set
up a quick camp, and began our supper
preparations. Chris, ever the pyromaniac,
set off to find wood (of which he found lots -
mainly thorn trees, with the cuts and scars
to prove it) whilst the rest of us cooked our
dinner. Norm was trying out a paraffin
cooker he had dug up out of somewhere in
his museum, sorry, house, and so after
having a brief lecture on how things were
done in the dark ages before gas (with
practical examples - vis the paraffin cooker)
we settled down to our supper.
Not long after, we arranged our sleeping
material in a suitable nest, but as we were
feeling not very tired, we retired around the
now blazing almost-bushfire that Chris had
stoked up, and sitting about 10 metres away (and still losing considerable amounts of body hair
and moisture) we chatted a bit about inconsequential things, such as school and politics,
watching the stars shine above us.
When all nearby trees had been burnt to ashes, we finally crawled into our sleeping bags, feeling
very tired and ready for a good nightís sleep. Unfortunately, in this we were not rewarded, as the
kraal dogs, no doubt alerted by the flaming beacon of Chrisís, soon arrived, and began a howl
chorus, at the top of their voices. We struggled in silence to try and fall asleep, counting sheep,
cows, goats and all manner of mammals in a vain effort to induce sleep, with no success.
Eventually, enraged, Norm arose like a spectre in the night, and clothed in his demonic sleeping
bag, proceeded to give the dogs a fair portion of his mind (hopefully he kept some for himself)
and then picked up the largest boulder in sight (a fair sized 3 tonne gomo in fact) and tried, if
unsuccessfully, to hurl it at the offending dogs. Do not fear, dog lovers, as Norm was in more
danger of breaking his back and pinkie toe in the effort than actually hitting the dogs, as the rock
sailed gracefully through the air, and landed about 2 feet from Norm, who swore, shrugged and
hopped back to his bed place, slumped down, swore again, and smothered his head under
whatever loose clothing he could find.
Unfortunately, he had not smothered himself, as Iím sure his intention was, and woke up the next
morning, aggrieved, and looking much the worse for wear. A strong cup of coffee soon remedied
this, and vowing to sleep well that night, we began to get ourselves organised for breakfast and
an early start on our hike.
This we did, and it wasnít long before we were back at the kraal, where we were to leave the car,
glowering at the dogs with every show of fierceness we could find, loaded our packs on our bags,
and started trudging off along a very well-worn path, which Norm assured us he knew intimately,
and which would guide us straight to Maholoholo Cave, our first stop.
Though we hadnít had a good night, and our energy reserves were quite low, we covered the
intervening ground tremendously fast, moving through lovely forests of Mountain Acacia, chatting
all the while. Norm led most of the way, as he knew this area well, having been on the same walk
countless times with Father Odilo, who loved this area of the Matopos.
We did find one interesting thing, which was an old abandoned Rangerís station. This old stone
building had been used by the Rangers in long ago times, when things still ran smoothly, as an
outpost for anti-poaching patrols. Now it stands lost and abandoned, missing a roof and windows,
left to the plants and animals.
Chatting away, it wasnít long before we began the climb up Maholoholo Mountain, a sort of spur
of rock, with a gentle slope on one end, and a steep dip into a valley on the other. We planned to
cross straight over, visiting the cave first, coming from the gentle side and descending the steep
side. This we did, first reaching the top of Maholoholo, for some breathtaking views of Matopos
scenery, before finding and visiting the cave itself.
We stayed here for a short while,
but as it wasnít yet tea-time, we
didnít have any tea, and just gazed
at the interesting paintings, trying to
make sense of drawings many,
many years old, which perhaps
didnít have meanings when they
were drawn. We will never truly
know, and can only guess what the
Bushmen were trying to show us.
Descending the steep side was a bit
hairy, with the rock slippery with
lichen, but we all made it down
alright, and began the strenuous
climb up the other side of the valley,
on the route to Nanke Cave, our
expected tea-break. The climb up
this side was extremely hard, and
only by just pushing your muscles up and down without stopping did we all reach the top okay. At
the top, we stopped to regain our breath, and then carried on, following a well-worn and well known
(by Norm anyway) path to Nanke cave.
This we soon reached, and climbed down to the cave from the top of Nanke, after a quick
orienteering session on the very top, and had a good look at all the paintings. But, before the
packs even hit the ground, tea was on everyoneís mind, and a billy was soon full of water and
bubbling away, with the biscuits magically opening and being passed around. Dale and Chris
went off to swim in the pools of water on the mountain top, whilst the two old fogies sat over their
cup of bush-brewed tea, munching biscuits and discussing the serious affairs of life, like whose
pack weighed more or hurt most, and such like.
Once tired of this, we packed up our tea stuff, had one last look at the paintings, and went down
to meet Chris and Dale, and began the long trek down the mountain, along an easy forest path to
the Toghwana Dam. This was perhaps the most enjoyable part of the hike, with the sun peeking
through the thick branches overhead, climbing over huge barrels of long fallen trees, until
eventually we came across.. a pool. And, simply irresistible, a beautiful rock slide. Half an hour,
three quarters of an hour, just where does the time go when Scouts are messing around in the
Well, with prods and pushes from Norm, we eventually got under way, down the easy slope to the
Toghwana Dam, following what was basically a tourist path, and here we sighted one of the
rarest sights in the Matopos these days, a sight so rare, even Norm was stunned. There, in the
path ahead of us, bold as can be, strolling up the path towards us without even a glance was a..
tourist!! Yes, a genuine tourist in the depths of the Matopos! It was quite a sight, and returned
hope to our chests that not all the tourists had fled our land for good. The lost ones were still lost!!
Anyway, recovering from this shock, we
eventually reached Toghwana Dam,
after passing the rare ferns along the
way, and several very tempting pools in
the stream we followed. The Dam soon
came into sight, and we arrived at the
spillway very quickly. Here, Chris and
Dale decided to stay and play around,
whilst Norm and I continued to the main
administrative block, hopefully to leave
our bags there, as we were going to
hike back to the car and drive back to
pick up the other two. But we found noone
there. The warden was obviously
having a stiff drink in the back room, no
doubt to recover from the shock of
seeing tourists in his Park, but he soon
appeared when we hollered, and he
allowed us to leave our bags in the
room of the building so they wouldnít get
And so off Norm and me set, and here the real hiking began. It was by now about 12:00 and the
sun beat down mercilessly. It was boiling hot, and every step seemed to take an age. We covered
the time back to the car in record time, and even found a shortcut across the river to the kraal
where we parked the car. By chatting about Normís life, and about mine, and what I wanted to do
with mine, we soon reached the car, and dove instantly into the back to drown in a vat of water!!
After recovering, and paying our respects to the old man of the kraal, who looked close to ninety
in the shade, we drove off in a veil of dust (to confuse those 'beep' dogs) and made good time
back to Toghwana Dam, following an old, almost abandoned Wardenís track to the Dam. Here we
pricked up Chris, Dale and our bags, and began the drive back to Gordon Park, following what we
call the Valley Road up the Mtsheleli Valley right up to the Park gates.
Finally there, the first thing on the agenda were showers, followed by lunch, and then a relaxing
afternoon, away, hopefully forever, from the annoying, pesky, irritating, yapping barks of those
Centenary Challenge Hike16th - 20th April 2007
On Monday we met at Christ the King Church at 3 oíclock, to get ready for our hike. Brendanís
dad was taking us to Gordon Park, where we would leave Normís landie. At G.P. Norm had not
arrived yet, so while we waited for him, we had some of Leonís rusks, which tasted wonderful.
When Norm finally arrived, we all put our packs in Brendanís dadís car, and set off for the hike,
At Mwazi, a kopje on the eastern side of the Matopos, we put on our packs, but left our water
bottles at the car, because Brendanís dad and little brother wanted to climb Mwazi with us. When
we got to the top we took photos and had a look around, and went back down again to pick up
our water bottles, and finally began our hike, setting off for Morning Glory Farm.
When we got to the Farm, it was already dark, and all the farm dogs decided to bark at us. Leon
saw the cutest puppy ever, and tried to steal it and put it in his pack! We had supper there, and
were well looked after by the people there. In the morning we had breakfast, and the little puppy
climbed into Leonís sleeping bag and slept there!
We began our first real day of hiking at about 7:00, heading for our next stop which was the
Chavezi River. We followed the local footpaths, which led to the kraal of a man named David,
who once worked on a neighbouring farm, and was a friend of Normís. This manís son, named
Phineas, showed us the path to the river, and guided us to the cliff leading to the river. We
followed the river downstream to the first high-river weir, which measured the amount of flow into
the Mtshabezi Dam further downstream.
We stopped for only a short time, and soon
met the Mashasha River, which came down to
join the main river. We followed this upstream
to the Mashasha Falls, but before we got
there, we crossed the river, which was not
easy, and Leon nearly got us lost. We reached
the first large pool at the base of the falls, and
all Dale and Brendan wanted to do was to go
We didnít stay there long, because we wanted
to get to the top, where we going to have
lunch. We rested here for along time,
recovering our energy, though we did find the
time to play around in the pools and falls -
and build a highly successful dam to stop the
After lunch we had 7 kilometres to our night stop, which was next to the Lushowe River, and as
soon as we arrived there, Dale got a nice warm fire going. Later we found otter prints in the river,
when we went down for another swim, whilst Leon very cleverly dug a hole in the sand to get
lovely fresh water the next day. Once we had our water, we cooked our supper of steak,
potatoes, beans and onion relish - most delicious. We climbed into our sleeping bags and
watched the satellites overhead.
The next morning we had mealie meal porridge, with tea, and Norm did all the cooking. It wasnít
long before we were headed for our lunch stop, which was at the confluence of the Tuli and
Lushowe Rivers. We followed the river downstream, and once while Dale was leading he saw a
The walk down the river was highly enjoyable,
following a forest path through towering
Brachestegia (Mountain Acacia). We found
several fast flowing, gurgling rapids and
Quite exhausted, we followed the bush paths
to a place on the Lushowe above the
confluence with the Tuli. Here we stopped for
our second lunch, shorter than the one the
day before. We happened to stop by the
crossroads of two major paths, and had a
chance to chat and talk to several local
After we had finished our lunch, we began the
afternoonís hike - we would be stopping at the
base of Torvi, a large mountain we would
climb the next day. We managed to reach
Torvi in time, just as night was falling. We set up our campsite not far from a small stream and
made a wonderful fire (not forgetting to put rocks around it and start it with Ďfuzzí sticks - wouldnít
B-P be proud!) and began to cook supper. This time it was spaghetti, mince and tomato relish -
superbly cooked by Norm again.
Once again, tired but happy, we snuggled into our sleeping bags and watched the satellites go
past - two seemingly almost colliding - until we slowly dropped off to sleep. The night was a bit
cold, but we all slept fine, and woke refreshed the next morning, ready to climb Torvi.
But not before a hearty meal of oats
and coffee, quite delicious; lugging
our packs on our backs we headed off
up the rocks to climb Torvi. Half way
up the mountain, we hid our packs in
a small hollow, and taking the maps,
water bottles, cameras, and most
importantly, biscuits with us, we
continued up to the top.
Close to the top, we found a forest, in
which we searched for the big bad
wolf - commonly known as Leon. We
went around the forest, and climbed
right to the top, where we ate our
biscuits and took lots of photos. Then
we headed down, because the wind
was quite cold.
We retrieved our packs and climbed
down into a valley and followed this
down into the communal lands at the bottom. We followed the bush paths we found to the
Toghwana River, which we had to cross.
He we met a bit of a problem finding a suitable crossing over the river, though we did find one
below where we intended, below the confluence of the Toghwana with the Mtsheleli. We were
quite close to the main road to Silozwe.
This we followed to our lunch stop at Silozwe School, at the base of Silozwe Mountain - a huge
massif, rising from the surrounding lands. We stopped at the school for lunch, and stopped for
even less time than we had before. After a short rest we set off again - suitably refreshed. We
followed the bush paths past Silozwane, which had an interesting cave painting on it, but which
we didnít go and see.
We followed the paths we found to the National Parks fence, between the mountains Mtombo and
Nyamangwe. Here we entered National Parks, and as the light was fading fast we made as much
time as we could to the Maleme River. By luck, our path led us right to a suitable campsite, right
next door to some lovely gushing rapids.
Here we lit another fire, and got supper on
the go before going down to the rapids to
bath. Supper that night was soya mince and
rice, again cooked by Norm. He only
realised then that he had cooked all the
meals for the whole hike. No one
complained as each meal was excellent.
We didnít stay up long, and were soon
sound asleep. We woke up early, and had
our last hike breakfast: mealie meal and
oats mixed. Soon we were on our way up
the Maleme River, to the compound at
From here on, it was all tar roads home. We
were getting close, and the feeling that each
step was one step closer to home was
This was perhaps the longest part of the hike - in thought, though not in mileage. The sun blazed
down, and with much hilarity to pass the time, we made great progress to home. Eventually we
crossed over White Rhino and began the long walk to the final stop. Much joy and happiness
when we finally arrived!!
At last, us four rugged adventurers had beaten the odds, had stuck together through 100
kilometres, had laughed, seen, talked, listened and all the other hundred emotions felt on such a
hike, when each passing kilometre brings with it something new. The four of us together had
celebrated the 100th Anniversary Year of Scouting in real Matopos style, with the same
determination and steadfastness shown by the hundreds of Scouts who had come before us.
Truly, luck had been on our side the whole hike, and God had watched over us. In so many things
we were blessed: we had perfect weather throughout the whole hike, with not a drop of rain to
dampen our spirits; we always seemed to find the right path, and when once or twice we strayed,
we always made it back okay; we always managed to find the best place to spend the night, close
to water nearly every time; and, the greatest co-incidence of all, it occurred to us that if we added
all our ages together, we reached the total.. go on, guess.. 100!!
And so, in the midst of the fierce Matopos bush veld, loved and adored by so many, not least
Baden-Powell himself, us four rugged adventures welcomed the 100th Year of World Scouting
with real enthusiasm; and may there be many, many more such starlit nights around a blazing
campfire in the majestic Matopos.
The Rugged Adventurers
A Thought of Inspiration
The following poem was found in an old edition of Tramp, the 8th Bulawayo (Hillside)
Scout Groupís magazine, and encompasses in it all the values and ideals of the
(with apologies to Rudyard Kipling)
If you can light a fire with soggy matches
While standing in a steady stream of rain,
And see it fizzle out before it catches,
And hold your tongue, and light the thing again;
If you can fix a brew for all your brothers
When they are in their blankets, warm and dry,
And rather you get wet than all the others,
And laugh when you are tired enough to cry;
f you can tie a knot that never fails you,
And trust it, if the worst comes to the worst,
To save your life when nothing else awaits you,
But put the other fellowís safety first;
If you can give first aid to those who need it,
And treat for shock when you are shaken too,
And though you suffer badly, never heed it,
Until youíve done the best that you can do.
f you can go on working when youíre weary,
And go on singing till your throat is dry;
If you can meet with sadness, and be cheery,
And when you fail, just have another try;
If you can trust your friends and those about you,
And yet forgive them if they should forget,
And though the whole world sometimes seems to doubt you,
Be loyal to the task which you are set;
f you donít put yourself before the others,
And never your Patrol before your Troop;
If you salute all races as your brothers,
In one united, universal group;
If you can see the aim, and help to win it,
And never falter till the job is done:
Yours is the Earth and everything thatís in it,
And - which is more - youíll be a Scout, my son!
1st Bulawayo (Pioneer) Scout Troop
100 Years of World Scouting
One World - One Promise
Troop Programme of Activities for May to August 2007
4 - 5 Monthly Hike
7 Schools open
11 Troop Meeting: Mabukuwene
12 - 13 Pioneering Course (Provincial)
13 Gordon Park Service: 12:00 noon
18 Troop Meeting: Mabukuwene
25 - 27 Voluntary Service: Round Table Conference: Gordon Park
1 - 3 Colin Turner Memorial Pioneering Competition: Gordon Park
8 - 9 Monthly Hike
9 - 10 Parentís Camp
10 Gordon Park Service: 12:00 noon
15 Troop Meeting: Mabukuwene
16 Voluntary Service: Matopos Conservation Society
17 Matopos Conservation Society Outing
22 Troop Meeting: Mabukuwene
29 Troop Meeting: Mabukuwene
6 - 8 William Arnold Carnegie Assegai Competition
8 Gordon Park Service: 12:00 noon
13 - 14 Monthly Hike
20 Troop Meeting: Mabukuwene
27 Troop Meeting: Mabukuwene: Sausage Sizzle
1 Sunrise Ceremony (Provincial)
3 Schools Close
3 - 4 Monthly Hike
10 - 13 Centenary Camp (National): Gordon Park
12 Gordon Park Service: 12:00 noon
17 Troop Meeting: Mabukuwene
24 Troop Meeting: Mabukuwene
31 Troop Meeting: Mabukuwene
Additional Activities may be added to the Programme