The Grand Traverse of the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg is known by many as a definitive South African hike.
It is known not to be an easy hike where physical strength and endurance will be tested.
The Drakensberg Grand Traverse (DGT) starts at the Sentinel Car Park and finishes at the Bushman’s Neck Border Post, requiring one to summit Mont Aux Sources, Cleft Peak, Champagne Castle, Mafadi, Giant’s Castle and Thabana Ntlenyana in between.
Two grade 11 pupils from Treverton College, Jarred van Alphen and Kai Broom successfully completed the 246,7km-long Drakensberg Grand Traverse hike.
They had planned to do it over 12 days but ended up doing it in 10 days.
The 12-day trip summiting peaks including Giant’s Castle, Mont-aux-Sources, Cleft Peak, Champagne Castle, Mafadi and Thaba Ntlenyana – all well above 3 000m turned into a 10-day epic when the team pushed through favourable conditions to finish 2 days sooner than expected.
Van Alphen says he went with his mantra learnt from his teacher’ “When the going’s good, you go.”
The boys spent a considerable amount of time planning for the trip. From their food, which has to be weighed to ensure it wasn’t too heavy to carry.
They also studied the route, the mountains and the area to ensure they would not get lost. They had to make sure they had a support team for any emergencies as well as restock supplies halfway.
The pair also trained extensively doing endurance training, and cardio training as well as mentally preparing for the hike.
“You need to be able to handle the physical pressure you will be faced with each day,” says Broom. “You have to feel comfortable being uncomfortable”
They got lost once or twice once the mist set in and even though they wanted to be back at home they pushed through.
“It was scary,” he admitted, but added, “I learnt that if you push through hard things, rewards will be great.”
Both boys can’t explain enough how this adventure has been life-changing and how the experience will shape their future.
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