South Africa Trip
Six days surrounded by nothing but the breath taking beauty of the Cederberg Mountains, South Africa. On the 9th of September I set out on an adventure with the pupils of Somerset College. Managing our own food and resources we camped for a week within this unique mountainous landscape. We had different activities and hikes planned for us and every day we had to prepare our own meals. With phones left behind and no technology to distract me I was able to get fully lost in this experience.
What I am most thankful for are the inseparable bonds that grew between myself and others. I felt as though I belonged there with those who had just been strangers to me a few weeks ago. Every Afternoon was spent laughing by rivers with the sun on our skin and smiles glued to our faces. Every night was spent huddled together around the fire sharing stories and making memories. Every day held new challenges that we faced together as one.
We worked with each other to make a difference to the community and environment of the Cederberg Mountains by creating steps and paths around the area and running a litter pick. We got lost, we disagreed and we argued whilst orienteering but alone we wouldn’t have managed to finish our trail or gain the skills we taught each other. No matter what, whether just at the campsite or on the overnight hike, we always looked out for one another, picking each other up when it got tough.
Not only did I experience new friendships but also the most breath-taking and over whelming views. Before every sun rise a golden glow lit up the morning. I watched as dusk pinks replaced the gold until all the colour was drained as the sun disappeared. We slept under skies so clear that you could count every individual star and trace the outline of our galaxy.
For two days I Hiked from morning until night, sleeping in a three walled hut built into a rock with hay as a bed. I walked alongside the shift of scenery, every one more beautiful than the last. First through unending caves marked with tribal paintings and boulders which stacked uniquely upon each other. Then we climbed up steep, rocky hills laced with white flowers, along the side of the mountain face with rivers flowing beneath us. Soon the jagged landscape transformed into lush green mountains rising from every direction, ponds hidden amongst and waterfalls flowing down from each one.
I never wanted Cederberg camp to end but having the most incredible exchange family waiting for me when I got back only made the experience better. My South African exchange, the people I met and the memories I made will always be ones I hold close to my heart. In just six weeks I made relationships that will last a life time. Even though my time away from home was full of countless challenges, the hardest by far was having to say goodbye.