Leaders: Mary and Mark Nellist

REPORT BY: Stella Wells PHOTOS: Mary Clover

It was a glorious day as we all headed off to The Spinney, two delightful self catering cottages, located next to the Mkomazi Reserve and just 14 kms off the tar road, where we were welcomed by Jan and Russell, the owners, who turned out to be the most delightful hosts. Those who had arrived earlier in the day did some exploring and then in the evening we all gathered at the main house where a delicious meal of chicken casserole, vegetable tart and rice followed by plum panecotta ,chocolate pudding and cream was provided by Jan at a very nominal cost. Not even this team of hikers could devour the full spread placed before them. After lots of chatter and merriment we all headed off to our individual accommodation where everything from linen, crockery, cutlery and cooking facilities together with unlimited hot water and electricity was available. As we walked the sound of the wind rustling the trees was very prominent and this did not bode well for the next day. During the night the wind escalated and brought the rain. We woke to heavy mist but, after some debate, decided we would keep to plan and venture out to MacKenzies cave with Russell in the lead. The mist and rain showers persisted through out the day and whilst we were not able to take in the scenery we were still able to enjoy the last of the spring flowers and the variety of grasses not to mention the awesome rock formations. After walking for more than 3 hours, crossing several streams and climbing some 600 meters it was unanimously agreed that we would forsake having lunch at the cave and head back to base. Two hours later, after hot showers and donning clean, dry clothes we were again welcomed to the house where hot, home made soup and tea and coffee was waiting. The group then assembled various salads, Rose and Christie plied their skills and produced the most enormous and colourful fruit salad and the fun began. The thought of braving the elements again was not negotiable and if you have never heard of braaing meat on the hearth-well we did! Again a good evening was had by all.

As nature would have it Sunday was delightful and Jan offered to take us on a short walk to view some bushmen paintings. En route we had a beautiful view of the mountains that had eluded us the day before.

The weekend over we all headed back home with more happy memories.

Thanks to Mary and Mark for coordinating and to the whole group for making it happen.