Under, up and over! – The story continues…
By Cousteau Tent – Matteo Bidoli (Quentin Fournier and Luke Walters)
On Sunday we did our group swap and arrived at Farvic Mine. To our surprise we all had brand new mattresses and such nice 8 man rooms! Chum made an amazing Lasagne that night and Jabu, our driver, kept us entertained with his music played from the overlander.
The next day we had our safety briefing and got all our mining gear. We also had a detailed tour of the working of the mine above ground. The next day went down the mine at about 9am. Everyone was very nervous and excited as some of us had never been underground before. Luckily it was not as hot as we all thought it would be, but it was very humid and after having gone to the 9th level (150m) down the stairs everyone was sweating! Each person got dropped off at a different spot with 2 mine workers. I got to drill which was very wet and insanely loud! After the 8 hour shift some of us were more exhausted than others depending on the job you had been doing. The guys who pushed the co-co pans had the hardest work as the pans are like a little train that you have to push along its tracks, full of rocks. Thankfully, afterwards we were allowed to use the mine manager’s swimming pool which refreshed us all.
The following day we went down again but changed jobs this time. Some of us were also lucky enough to witness the smelting process and even handle the end result.. a beautiful cone of gold!
Both groups then joined up and we headed into the SE end of Matopos to cycle and hike. The first night we camped at Mtshebezi Dam where most of us were destroyed playing Napolean Bonaparte paintball games! We also did some abseiling and jumping off the dam wall.
From Mtshebezi we had a 21km cycle to Lumane Falls and had a very cool campsite next to the river. The following day we set off for a 16km hike to Diana’s Pools in the pouring rain, and it did not stop. Swollen rivers, waterfalls created by the flash floods and underwater paths all the way! Both Luke W and George decided to ‘jump’ various streams and ended up falling in the rivers with backpacks and all. Luke even had his sleeping bag on the outside of his pack and it was sodden. After the 16km we arrived at Diana’s Pools and went for a cool slide down the rocks into the big pools.
Everyone was very relieved that we then headed back to camp and did not need to spend another night camping in our saturated tents and sleeping bags!