By Aphiwe Ngowapi
Freedom Day proved to be a day of freeing the mind and soul indeed with the Makhanda Wild Hikers Crew, and some locals, as they took on the pristine Diepkloof Private Nature Reserve for a hike. The reserve is home to a number of animals such as zebra, blesbok, impala and giraffes. A few dairy cows and Nguni cattle were also spotted on the reserve.
“Makhanda Wild Hikers Crew was established 09 September 2020. The idea was to provide people from our local community an opportunity to go out and explore the natural areas surrounding Makhanda. Our biggest focus was getting people outside, especially after the Covid regulations and lockdowns,” said Makhanda Wild Hikers’ coordinator, Melumzi “Mazzi” Matiwane.
“We try to have atleast one local hike a week. This is to encourage people to stay fit, get some free time in nature and also hopefully aid with mental health. We believe the more we get to be out and about and stay active, the better the body and mind will be,” says Matiwane.
The first experience on the nature reserve was so breathtaking that the crew decided to invite the community for round two. The owners of the reserve are always happy to have the public visit and walk around, provided they call and confirm with them first, as it’s a private reserve. The reserve has no other activities yet, but promises to give views of vast verdant hills, quartzite rock, and a breath of fresh air. The day was concluded with a braai and some refreshments.
The Crew’s next big hike is in September 2023, where they plan to travel to the wild coast and explore the Transkei. On the agenda are places like the Hole in the Wall, Cathedral Rock and Magwa Falls.