Rafting at Hadeda Creek Review, March 2009
By Shirley Jooste
Early one Sunday morning, we pack a couple of towels, sun block and hats and head off to the Free State and the Vaal river to experience what can only be termed as a whole lot of “Fun in the Sun”. The drive from Johannesburg is approximately 90 minutes, so it’s not too far for a day's outing, and the children manage the drive without too much hassle. To get to Hadeda Creek, you drive through the town of Parys which is crammed full of quaint little shops and home bakeries (had I known I would have put some time aside to sample some of the wares)
We arrive at Hadeda creek camp and are greeted by the Camp manager, Jean, who gives us a quick guided tour. The camp has so much to offer, and for every age group and family or corporate need. An obstacle course and rock climbing wall are just some of the fun features, and the camp also boasts a conferencing centre. The tents are basic but well equipped and also have electricity (including electric blankets for those chilly winter mornings)
Tea, Coffee and cookies are offered for breakfast and will keep us going until Lunch time (we're going to need it)
A Bachelor party arrives and is already in the “swing” of things. We are briefed that the bachelor party will be going up the river first and we wont be seeing much of them. This is just another “perk” of the camp, you can have your privacy, and tour groups or “parties” can be separated from those seeking a bit of peace and relaxation.
Within the hour we are transported up-river by the camp truck, where we are met by our guides and 2-man “crocs” (no, not crocodiles! “Crocs” are 2-man inflatable rafts!) One of the guides gives us a safety briefing, simple instructions on what to do and what NOT to do on the river. Safety is paramount and we are all equipped with helmets and life jackets. Once we have all understood our responsibilities, we can climb into our vessels, and away we go.
Being the wise parents that we are, we asked the three river guides to each take on one of the children as a passenger, this way we knew they were in safe hands. The rapids can be quite daunting for the average “little one” but the guides were so encouraging that the children were not even slightly intimidated, and were eager to meet the rapids at every step, screeching with delight and wanting “more more more”!
A few hazardous rocks got us stuck a few times but a lot of wriggling about and giggling,managed to get us going again. A good soaking was had by all, and the team all seemed to “bond” once we got to help each other through. A quick stop at one of the more rapid “rapids” allowed us all to have a go a “body surfing”, literally floating down the rapid on your back! A lot of fun, and a totally new experience for most of us.
A few more smaller rapids followed and then we all climbed out and headed back to camp where Lunch awaited us. A quick swim in the pool followed by a very simple but delicious Buffet of traditional South African foods including home made mealie bread and braaied “Chops”(which had all of us going back for seconds and thirds).
Instead of heading straight back home we decided to have a snooze under the trees, which turned out to be a little longer than planned (thanks to the delicious food, and to the WONDERFUL guides who whisked the children away to the climbing wall so that we could have a little time to ourselves)
Once the sun started to settle over the hill we packed up and headed home - one driver and four sleeping passengers! What a day!