Michael Ridge

Every week Perdeby sends their journalists to experience something different and exciting.  This week Michael Ridge hiked the Mweni Pass in KwaZulu-Natal with Exlporatio, UP’s adventure club.

I have always found that a hike is the very definition of soul-food activity, an adventure that excites the body and mind while calming the soul. This particular hike up Mweni Pass was no exception.

On the morning of thehike we woke up before the sun had even thought of rising, piled into a couple of bakkies and started our adventure.

The first 5 km of the hike were the easiest I have ever done. This was likely because we were cuddled on the back of the bakkie. Guy might disagree with my sentiments about the ease of the hike’s beginning as he had to drop the car off and run 9 km to catch up with us.

The rest of the first day was about as flat as it gets in the berg, but what we lacked in ascent was more than made up for by the scorching heat. Naturally, the heat meant that at the first sign of water we were all frolicking.

We then plodded on, lead in chorus of song, and managed to reach our camp site before 16:00. Here was where one of the best parts of a hike commenced. Mafia (or as some call it, werewolf), a game where you find out who should be silver-tongued lawyers and who can talk the most rubbish, was played. This was followed by a modest supper for us all, except Rohan, who with his curry, finished with fresh vegetables he had lugged up the mountain, could never be described as modest.

We had a comparatively late sleep, waking up when the sun started painting the cliffs. That day we only hiked 5 km, but we went up the pass, the most difficult part of a hike. We then sauntered along to the cave we were to sleep in that night and chatted, chowed and chilled.

The slog uphill was worth it the following day when we woke up to see that we were above the clouds and the sun was rising below us. Such majesty is simply indescribable. The view is, in the true sense of the word, awesome. To look down and see nothing but nature in all its undisturbed glory refreshes even the most troubled soul.

We then hiked down the Rockeries Pass with the singing that we were now accustomed to, as well as the occasional sprint downhill to sate our competitive souls. We ended with a dip, of the skinny kind, in a beautiful waterfall-pool. Upon completion of the hike there is one more beautiful view that every hiker looks forward to, the largest possible plate of the unhealthiest food you can find on the menu. This was, without a doubt, the best way to start the year.


Image: Michael Ridge

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