As we (MCF) were able to stretch the sponsorship we had received from N3 Toll Concession for environmental activities to end 2012, members of the Midlands Meander Mpophomeni Enviro-club kids were treated to an adventure at Umgeni Valley during the holidays. Charlene Russell, facilitator of the Club. compiled this report.
Some of the newer members hadn’t been on an excursion before, so there was great excitement as we all loaded into the mini-bus, with our back packs and picnic food! The group listened attentively to the safety talk before we set off, and asked many questions as we slowly made our way down into the valley, stopping to talk about aloes, the umlathlankhozi (buffalo thorn tree), paper-bark trees, grazers and bowsers, and the different types of dung and footprints we saw on the trail.
Once down at Shelter Falls camp, we divided into two groups and competed against each other in the obstacle course, the boys team just beat the girls and celebrated with a war cry to suit the occasion.
We then changed into our swimming costumes and headed for the ‘Bum-slide’ which was flowing very fast because of all the rain.
This was definitely the highlight of the whole day, as the kids took turns to slide down the smooth rock in the river and land with a splash in the pool, or (which was generally the case) have me catch them at the bottom. Eventually, when we were wrinkly and shivering from spending so much time in the water, we said good bye to the Bum-slide, and headed back to camp for lunch.
After we had feasted on boiled eggs, peanut butter sarmies, little cheese pies, plums and healthy crunchies we packed up our stuff and slowly trekked up the valley, taking a different route back and stopping to do a Mini-SASS assessment of the river (we were happy to discover that the score was 6.5 and the water was not polluted).
We finished at the Pines. Here we wrapped up the day, by drawing a picture of our favourite thing we had done using natural materials like sand, mud, sticks and leaves to do it. Our timing was perfect, and the mini-bus arrived to take us home just as we were saying our goodbyes to the valley, and leaving a stone behind with our good thoughts in it.
Thank you to all who made the day happen! Next year the Kids have all asked if we may “please please” stay over for one or two nights and camp-out all together!