For those not yet headed for Bushcamp, life was certainly not any easier. The boys’ first major challenge involved a cycle from the Quest campus to the mouth of Bushman’s River – this would be the furthest cycle any of them had ever undertaken.
This particular route is one of my favourites to cycle and today would prove even better as I had discovered a track that we could follow which would mean avoiding a lengthy chunk of asphalt which is normally a bit of an anti-climax to an otherwise stunning cycle. The route takes you out of the Kaba Valley up a rather unpopular climb and then does a bit of a U-turn before heading down the district road that takes one to the coastal resorts of Canon Rocks and Boknes. The road bisects the magnificent forests of the Woody Cape section of Addo Elephant National Park. What makes it all the more enjoyable is that this particular section of the route is a fabulously long downhill so one can enjoy the sights and sounds of the forest whilst effortlessly free-wheeling downhill.
From there the road bends east and affords splendid views of Woody Cape and Bird Island set against the backdrop of Algoa Bay and the verdant pastures of the ‘golden mile’. The wind on the day was favourable, coming in fresh from the west and helping us along to our destination. For some guys, Boknes was a good enough achievement – a distance of forty-five kilometres and a fine effort. We stopped at the little minimart and enjoyed a well-earned drink and sustenance. Thereafter, a handful of us continued on through unexplored territory to our ultimate destination.
Fifty-five kilometres later the glistening waters of the river appeared as we wound our way through the quiet streets of Bushman’s Village. This settlement was established in 1897 when farmers from the interior were given permission by the Department of Forestry to camp along the banks of Bushman’s River during the Christmas holidays. The river is said to be the second longest navigable river in South Africa. It stretches roughly 291 km from its source in the Karoo, to its mouth at Kenton-on-Sea. After the cycle, the boys had their first taste of paddling canoes (K1’s and K2’s) and got to know the river fairly intimately – some more so than others!
Dylan Weyer – Quest Africa Guide, 9th March 2012