Tag Archives: Travel

The River Sessions

-Lourens de Jager

Hello, gracious reader! It feels as if ages have passed since last I’ve shared our chronicles with you. The summer months are fast approaching and spring is finally here, though my nipples still seem to be able to cut glass. I’m not cut out for the winter…

That said, a few weeks ago Phil “Grizzly” Joubert decided that it would be a good idea for a group of us to get away from it all for a weekend; and considering he owns a holiday home alongside the Breede River (which was currently unoccupied), we had the perfect location to road-trip to! It was still convincingly winter, but a riverside getaway seemed like a godsend. So we organised the trip (on very short notice) and all that was left to do was wait for the weekend…

The first group, comprising Phil, Nick Frost, Jesse Beth and Gavin (Jeff) decided to head through to Breede on the Thursday night already… consequently you can imagine how slowly my Friday dragged by after several texts from Nick about how much fun they were already having. Bah!

Finally, the Friday work day ended; I raced home after work, where Adele was already packed and waiting. We didn’t wait long before Dennis (Demon) Krige showed up and we could be on our way! Car packed and ready, we headed to pick up the final member of the ensemble, Julian Bach.
And so we set off on what we expected was going to be an epic weekend, car weighing a ton, high in spirits and with the music blasting.

I had never been to Breede before and therefore had no idea how to get there; luckily Julian had been there once or twice before and offered directions. Heading through the N2 the traffic wasn’t that bad surprisingly, and about two hours later we approached the turn-off to Malgas. And that was where things started to get a little hairy…

We were on the right road, but it was almost ten at night and it was pitch dark; driving down a dirt road nowhere near civilisation is slightly unnerving. We were also unsure as to how far we had to go… we only knew that we had to get to Malgas which was, apparently, dead ahead. Simple enough, right?
No. Not simple enough. In an cosmic twist of events, The Universe decided it would be hilarious to throw a mist, thicker than a brick wall, in our way. Were I to turn on my car’s brights, a white wall of fog obscured even the road directly in front of me. Luckily, we could see the way forward well enough with my lights on normal, but combined with the fact that it was a dirt road my max. speed was around 30 KM/h. And the longer we drove the more freaked out we got. At one point the mist seem to dance in front of the headlights and the road seemed to stretch on forever; and every direction we looked in was pitch black. We couldn’t see a single light or sign of civilization, and our slow progress was becoming admittedly frustrating. We all silently started picturing the events alike to films like The Mist and Close Encounters of the Third Kind… I was becoming increasingly concerned about potential hill-billies and other unspeakable horrors.

But after one and a half hours of driving we finally hit civilisation. Well, something similar… It took us about thirty seconds to drive though Malgas, and a few minutes later we were at the turn-off to Phil’s place. Naturally, we were ecstatic! We were received by the rest of the gang and it didn’t take us long to get a drink into our welcoming hands. It was well needed.

The rest of the night was a blur. At some point we went off in search of a “haunted” house… Alas, all we noticed was a haunted electricity pole that was shooting blood-red sparks out of its point. Not scary at all, but slightly unnerving when you’re standing in complete darkness. At some ungodly hour of the night we headed off to bed.

Adele, Dennis and I woke up first on Saturday; Dennis promptly grabbed his fishing pole and headed down to the jetty to get his fish on. Apparently is wasn’t his day though, and not too long after he gave up. I got busy making breakfast, and when everyone had woken up it was time for the boat to make its appearance on the water.

Julian decided he was feeling brave and opted to wakeboard first with Captain Phil at the helm. The water looked icy, and I can honestly say I did not envy, what Julian looked to be, so casually volunteering for.

The morning rushed by quickly with us racing up and down the river in the boat… This is when we started getting thirsty. Oh no… Phil knew of two pubs in the area; both accessable by boat. This sounded appealing, and so without further ado, we headed down to to the Bush Pub. Getting to the pub was a unique and slightly surreal experience. We traversed a few kilometres down-river to a solitary jetty amongst the reeds, and followed a narrow path that weaved its way uphill, leading right into another world.

Located in the middle of nowhere, the Bush Pub was truly amazing. You could explore its twists and turns in every direction, or just have a beer in the shade with your toes in the sand, looking out over the majestic Breede River. We might as well have been in deepest darkest Africa, and we couldn’t have cared less… Bliss.

An hour or so later we headed back to the house and another session of wakeboarding commenced. It wasn’t long before we wanted to explore again though, and we headed to a pub in Malgas; this time in cars. Smaller than the previous venue but just as picturesque, The Boat House Pub overlooked the river but at a much wider expanse, and you could clearly see into the distance in all directions. It was beautiful.

The locals of Malgas knew Phil well, so at the promise of a mini-gig they offered us the best compensation in the world… five huge, delicious pizzas, which, of course, were very well received by all present. An hour or two later we decided to head home again, where the party started from scratch… At some point Phil led Nick, Jess, Jeff and Julian on a terrific adventure to a mysterious abandoned airstrip which, to this day, we are still not sure existed. I’m not sure what happened after that…

The next morning we were up bright and early again, and after making breakfast we headed down to the river once more. It was my turn to brave the freezing cold Breede River.

Jeff and I strapped ourselves into some life-jackets and crawled onto the ski-tube, being very careful not to get wet. This turned out to be an exercise in futility, as Phil, unbeknownst to me, had an obligation to try and wrench me off of the tube and into the icy depths of the Breede River; it was an age-old tradition. I will admit, Jeff and I did admirably. We held on for our dear lives but, alas, it took about two minutes before we were soaking wet and with a mild case of hypothermia… but rushing with adrenalin. Eventually, what went up… came down.

I have never been that cold in my life, but it was worth it. Next time I will definitely brave the wake-board. Time sped on and eventually we had to start with a cleanup mission in the house. Unsurprisingly, it looked as if a bomb had hit it after the weekend with us there.

It was around this time that we decided to call it a weekend. We were tired, famished… and did I mention famished? As a last parting gift, Breede gave my car a flat tire, but this was soon rectified with a little optimism and luck. Finally we headed home for some much needed sleep. What a weekend. Thanks to Phil Grizzle for the invite and the hospitality!

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