By Cam "Cambo" Kernes
Last Sunday, Warrick and I were very excited to join Terence Vrugtman and his girlfriend Ash as well as a great couple, Jack and Michelle from Trail Lab to go kloofing in Magaliesburg at a place known as Grootkloof.
To make the +-1.5hour drive from Johannesburg to the start of the hike at Grootkloof more interesting, Warrick decided to give his new Jeep Wrangler Rubicon its first off-road experience up the very rocky and worn away Breedts Nek Road (also a very popular training ascent/descent for mountain bikers in the area). This drive just added to the adventure we were about to embark on.
The hike to Grootkloof was about 3km in total including a stop at an awesome viewpoint which was the first glimpse we got of the kloof we would be descending into.
Just as we were about to enter the kloof we had a black Labrador dog join us. As we didn’t want the dog to follow us, we went back along the path to check for the dogs owners but there was no one around and unfortunately the dog didn’t have any form of identification on it.
We started to make our way down the rocky boulders and the dog just wanted to follow us despite all our efforts to tell it to go home. So we ended up making our way down the kloof by rock hopping and wading through crystal clear pools with a black Labrador following us. We eventually came across another group of people that were resting in the kloof and the dog decided to stay with them.
We eventually got to a section where you have to abseil down a +-14meter drop. Although I have been abseiling when I was a lot younger I was very nervous to do this again after so many years.
Whilst Terence and Ash sorted out all the ropes to enable us all to abseil down, the group of people we passed earlier in the kloof caught up to us joined by the adventurous Labrador. At this point everyone knew that we were going to have to make a plan to rescue this Labrador out of the kloof. As the dog had already come down so far into the kloof it would be impossible for it to go back up again so the only option would be to abseil it down and continue making its way out the kloof with the group.
After much deliberation it was decided that it would be best to put two harnesses on the dog to abseil it down. Ash, Michelle and two of the other groups’ members had already abseiled down and were there to assist with the dog coming down. The Labrador definitely seemed a bit apprehensive and as he was lowered down he tried to hold onto the rock with his paws. Once the dog was in the free abseiling zone of this descent he was lowered quickly and safely into the pool below to everyone’s delight. The dog definitely seemed to be very happy and chuffed with itself almost as if he had done this before. The other group of people then continued on their journey down the kloof with the dog as we still had four people to abseil down including myself.
At the start of the abseil I was terrified as the rock face is slightly slanted and throws you off to the side but as soon as I widened my legs and leaned back I instantly felt more secure and in control of what I was doing. This abseil had a short drop to the first plateau and then you had to make your way to the next ledge of the descent which ended up being the part I enjoyed the most as you got to a point that you could free abseil into the rock pool below with a beautiful waterfall in view.
Once we had all successfully abseiled, we all grabbed a quick bite to eat whilst also trying to warm up in the sun. It is really amazing how freezing cold you can get in a kloof even on a hot day like it was where the temperatures were around 35 degrees outside.
The rest of our adventure down Grootkloof included more rock hopping and climbing, bum sliding into rock pools and just taking in the beauty of this incredible place.
All in all this was definitely one of my favourite adventures to date and I cannot wait to go kloofing again in the future.
See Camilla's blog at Cambo Adventures