Let's Go! - 2007-08-15

Alan and I hiked many many kilometers together as teenage friends in the Boy Scout movement, but it came to the point where lives had to change. It became time for army, varsity, work and family and many other commitments.

But we made a pact that before the age of 40, a hike around the borders of South Africa was a must. 40 came and went, and 50 is hiding in the shadows. So its Cape Point to Kosi Bay in 2009. Not all of the South African coast, but a beginning! 2464km and 163 days or somewhere there abouts!

Its often good to just do things for the sake of doing it, but we have decided that it would be even better if we could do something for others as we undertake this doddle.(ie small or short meandering walk). Alan identified the PHAKAMISA ministry, which exists to serve and uplift impoverished communities through the provision of educational training, resourcing and support. Based at the Pinetown Methodist Church, the team of Phakamisa contribute to a genuine sustainable development project. Empowering people by creating a belief in themselves, and in their own abilities.

Our hope is that all funds raised per kilometer will assist Glenda and her team at Phakamisa.

So over the next few months, we’re hoping to get most of the plan in place…

Basics and How It Happened - 2007-08-16

With Alan being all the way up north it’s been a bit difficult to get together for a good planning session, but after emails titled 'Our little jaunt' and 'The insane hikers club' and 'cape2kosi', the ball seems to have been set in motion. He booked a bus ticket from up north to down south, and ended up spending a planning holiday in Wilderness in July. Bringing with the full box of 1:50 000 topographical hiking maps, 92 in all!

We decided that the basic principles would be:

  • We walk every step of the way carrying a rucksack.
  • 6 days walk, one day rest.
  • Walk along the coast, deviating only where not possible to walk.
  • Starting Jan 15th 2009.
  • Sleeping in a tent. (I hope Alan doesn’t snore!).
  • Most rest days are Sunday’s, so a local church will be sort out.
  • The route has to be completed.
  • Along the route we will ask friends to accommodate us.(not sure about this one!)

Planning Starts - 2007-08-17

We started by marking off rough hiking distances, identifying places to camp and compiling a list of reserves, restricted areas and hiking trails. 8 maps was the most our lounge could accommodate at any one time.

From the lists came a basic next step requirement. PERMISSION!

A Letter Arrives - 2007-09-23

We sent a letter to Minister MP Marthinus van Schalkwyk (Ministry of Environmental Affairs and Tourism) detailing our plans. We thought that a letter from him attached to further requests for permission to pass through other nature conservation and restricted areas would be of great value.

The initial response from the Ministers office was prompt and a comprehensive e-mail was received on his behalf about 2 weeks later from Dr D.E. (Niel) Malan Deputy Director: Coastal Planning and Environmental Protection Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism.

To walk between low and high water marks no permission is required. Permission is only needed in conservation and restricted areas.

With the list of conservation and restricted areas drawn up, we now just have to apply to all of these places for the permission we need.

We’re going to have quite a comprehensive to do list, but at least we got started quite a way in advance!

Alan, baked beans and blankets - 2008-11-21

Alan has gotten into the habit of practising every morning around the roads of Manguzi with his rucksack on his back. For weight it is filled with some old blankets and a few tins of baked beans. Hopefully the hike menu will be a bit more appetising!

He is doing about 7km every morning from 5:30 to 6:45. The locals think he is scatty and the children can’t stop waving and greeting. He has been given these new type of socks with L and R on them! The markings help aim for the correct toe when bleary eyed in the mornings.

Alan is preparing to leave his house in Manguzi and has many people interested in buying all his possessions! When he travels from Manguzi in December, he will travel with just his rucksack.

Oyster Catcher

Happy Hiking Feet in Rocky Sandals - 2008-12-10

I have been walking and hiking in proper hiking boots all my life, and have never really been comfortable. With the change in footwear design, it has become increasingly difficult to find boots or shoes that don't make my feet most sore.

Out of desperation in 2006 i decided to undertake an Outeniqua hike in Rocky Hiker sandals. Since then i have not looked back! Irrespective of terrain or weather conditions i have only used Rocky Hiker sandals. My feet do not get hot spots, i do not have to worry about 1 pair or 2 pairs of socks and they are more cost effective per km than any decent hiking boot.

Depending on terrain i get about 500 - 620km per pair. That's not to the point of being completely worn out, but to the point that if i could get them resoled, i would. Bearing in mind that the above mileage has been based on carrying a backpack abnormally heavy! I have also found that my ankles have become a lot stronger as the sandals do not give the support that boots do, and my body has had to adapt.

The problem i experienced was that i could not get hold of any. I have battled to the point of getting hold of the suppliers Rocky Quad Marketing in Natal. Total disappointment. I finally gave up on leads they gave me, asked my daughter Ruth to try at the outlets in Cape Town as a last resort.No joy. I couldn't believe in economic times like these, that a marketing company would make it so difficult to sell their wares.

I looked at other sandals and other shoes, and nearly went the Hitech route. I thought i would give it one more chance and went to the local Tekkie Town outlet and asked if they would consider placing an order on the supplier.

They suggested that i go to their warehouse and see if someone there could assist. There i met Mr Johan Treurnich. I explained the situation, and within 10 minutes had not only found me 3 pairs of sandals, but arranged for them to be held for my collection at another branch, and located 2 pairs in Mafikeng(North West Province) which he arranged to have shipped to their warehouse in George.

Good to know that there are people like Johan around. A genuine asset to his organisation.