The Highs of the Lowveld
MEN’S CORE 2017
by Karl Reiger
The first one and a half weeks of this third term have been extraordinary! Chimanimani and Malilangwe were truly amazing and the memories made will not be forgotten for a long time. Climbing peaks, gazing on the countryside a 1000m below, training with anti-poaching rangers and watching elephants, buffalo and rhinos may well be a highlight of the Quest core programme so far.
Leaving on Wednesday, the first of July, the Overlander made its way into the lower mountains in the Chimanimani national park. After a rainy night the guys climbed and hiked up the rocks into a remarkably beautiful valley. The long yellow grass and mountains on either side looked like a strange mixture between the Scottish highlands and the Alps.
After setting up tents and eating a small lunch we set off to climb Ben Nevis, a grass covered peak on the border to Mozambique. It was a shame though that after a tough and sweaty climb the clouds moved in and covered us in a thick layer of grey cotton candy. Nevertheless it was still worthwhile as the clouds deafened every single noise making the silence around us complete. A strange but interesting experience. On the way down some trouble arose. Due to the moisture of the clouds and the air, most guys found it difficult to remain on two feet whilst hiking down on the clay slopes. I think that Davie Wheeler and Daniel’s attempt to ski down the mountain are an example of the incredible ingenuity found amongst the Questies.
The next day was a tough challenge. Ahead lay a 2400m high mountain that looked very intimidating if not somewhat impossible to climb. However, under the strong leadership of Mr Randle and our beloved Mr Mpofu, the guys prevailed and after a three and a half hour hike we were up on top. The reward that such a climb gives you is great and behind the tired faces everyone was quite proud of their achievement. The thing that stood out most for me were the views different terrains and possibilities that exist up there in the mountains. I will definitely come back one day and camp in one of those small valleys that are surrounded by rocks on all sides and completely isolated from the busy world we are used to.
Our last day in the mountains was spent hiking along a small creek onto a big waterfall. There we found that it was possible to jump from an eleven metre rock face down into the icy current of water that flowed between the rocks. Some Questies proving to be a bit braver than others. However I must admit that it took me a few seconds of hesitation before I finally jumped. At our last overnight camp the view was astonishing over the mountain range that was bathed in orange and red light by sundown. The last night was also marked by some very healthy banter on Wheeler’s side that resulted in lots of laughter by all involved with the exception of a grey ex-army major with a few extra grey hairs as a result of the ruckus errupting.. “DAVIIIIIID”.