THE GREAT SAND RIVER WALK
In an unprecedented partnership between &Beyond Exeter and our neighbours Londolozi and Singita, 8 young men made Sabi Sand history by completing a 48 hour 45km walk along the southern bank of the Sand River.
As we coursed through lush reed beds broken by hippo and buffalo paths, walking over fresh lion and leopard tracks, we paused to rest under stately Ebony trees before forging on through the summer heat, finding ourselves forever drawn onwards by the ancient river.
Team leader Adam Bannister suggested that by walking we ‘became animals’, and in doing so returned to our vulnerable ancestral place within the landscape. That is not to say that we took ourselves too seriously, and many a manly moment was shared over a beverage. Guitars were strummed, songs were sung, stars were gazed, tales were told, steaks were seared, river-crossing lions were admired, and comfortable silences were shared as a community of like-minded men was brought together under a flawless summer night’s sky.
The Sand River connects the three participating reserves, and has for centuries been the lifeblood of the Shangaan people and the San who preceded them. For countless unpeopled years before that the river brought colour and life to the Lowveld since the formation of the Drakensberg mountains. With the river’s significance in mind, our journey was as much spiritual as physical.
Many thanks must go to the Londolozi, Singita and the &Beyond Exeter River Lodge teams for their respective contributions to the forging of friendships, burying of hatchets, and the making of Sabi Sand history.
Well done to Adam Bannister, John Holley, James Hobson, James Tyrrell, Dan Buys, Rich Laburn, Dave Steyn and Craig Hayman. A walk of this length and route is without precedent in this reserve. Our next project sees the walk expand to include &Beyond Kirkman’s Kamp in a 72 hour walk from the confluence of the Sand and Sabi Rivers across the river’s entire northern bank.
Posted: Exeter Lodges by Craig Hayman, Date: 24 February 2011