This is the 3rd time we have gone river rafting but this was by far the most “adventurous”, or should I say scary trip we have experienced. OK, let me rather start at the beginning…
Maxine and I bought 3 Vouchers for the rafting experience and as it was only for 1 night we decided to pay in extra and rather have a Full Day of rafting and stay another night. All excited and ready for a weekend of fun we left just after lunch on Friday… only to arrive with great disappointment. We were showed to our dormitory were we were to stay for 2 nights… Not what we expected at all!! (The voucher did say we were sleeping in a base camps and could upgrade to a cabin at a small fee. But when you look at the website you don’t get to see this…)
I guess for 1 night it would not have been a problem or even if we knew what was waiting we could have mentally prepared, but somehow we just couldn’t see ourselves in this kind of rustic basic accommodation, so we asked to upgrade to the cabin. After a long wait we eventually got everything sorted out and got to our cabin. With a bee hive box on the veranda… LOL (Not clever if you have a guest that is highly allergic to bee stings)
We eventually calmed down and decided to make the best of the situation and just enjoy the rest of our trip. The other guest arrived (A lady and her 2 sons and later that evening 2 men). After chatting for a while, Debbie and I discovered we were class mates in primary school. What a small world this is… This called for a celebration and we had some wine and a lovely dinner cooked by one of the staff members. A really lovely evening with lots of laughter.
The next morning after a rather small breakfast consisting of coffee, fruit salad, muesli and yogurt we set off in a combi to Nekkies Holiday Resort where our rafting trip starts.
Not sure how this happened, but the combi leaves and we are stuck with one paddle short… Not to worry, our young guide said he will manage with just one paddle and off we go with our 3 lady guides and 1 guy. (Were shocked at how inexperienced the 3 guide girls were as they could barely keep up with the group. Not a good sign, but we already on our way and the only way back to camp was to keep on paddling down the river)
Clarence had to row down and pull some of the boats up the rapids because they were just not managing on their own 🙂 The 1st rapid was great fun and Clarence really treated the kids to some fun rides.
We really enjoyed the morning and even had a lovely lunch stop.
After lunch we rowed for a while and all was great but then the rapids started… We all managed quite well and even had some good laughs.
But then came the last and rather long rapid… what was probably only 5 minutes felt like about an hour. Out of our 6 rafts 4 of us capsized.
This is what happened to my son and I: The strong current pulled us in under the overhanging trees. My son ducked but the branch was so low it hooked onto the side of our raft, tipping it and filling it with water and no matter what I tried I could not hook us loose. The raft tipped over and we were caught under it. I tried to go under the raft that was still being sucked down but because I had on a life jacket I battled to go down. In this case I was very grateful I could not get out… Running out of air, I then decided to find the air pocket in the raft and that is when I saw my son stuck under the raft with me (Not a sight I will forget quickly). I really have no idea where I got the strength or air from, but I swam up to him and pushed the side of the raft where he was up so that he could get out and get air. Somehow this dislodged the raft and I got him to hang onto the raft. At this point I realized that most of us were in the water and I really don’t know how or why but I had both our paddles in my one hand and even managed to grab another as it floated past. My son was in shock and I was trying to calm him down by telling him is all part of the adventure and he must just hang on and enjoy the ride as the rapid was calming down and all will be fine… In the meantime I had to shout to one of the other guys who were hanging onto a tree and getting sucked under, to let go and hang onto our boat. He was clearly exhausted and not sure what was happening around him. The guide who managed to stay in his raft helped me flip ours over. I pushed my son up into the raft and turned to help the other guy in as well only to realize he was no longer there but safely floating down the river.
We rowed the last stretch to the camp, headed for a warm shower and then met on the deck for a quick coffee and chat about our experience with the rest of the group. Adrenalin levels were still very high and thankfully only a few cuts and bruises to show after all that. We all packed up and drove home with quite a story to tell!
A Big lesson I have learned from this trip as a parent… If you likes adventure and want to share the fun with the kids: “Make Very sure that the staff are Experienced and know what to do in a tricky situation.”
“I personally will NOT recommend Bundi to anyone with children to go rafting! Unless they make a plan and get experienced and trained staff to take the group out rafting on the Breede River!” 😦