Learners tackle a once in a lifetime journey
The next time you drive the 54kms between Graaff-reinet and Nieu-bethesda, take cognisance of just far the distance is and how long it takes in a car.
Then imagine walking this distance (in fact - walking 65km), carrying all you need to survive on your backs for five days.
This year marks the third year that the Grade 10 class of Union High School have participated in their ‘Odyssey’ down the Gats river canyon, starting in Nieu-bethesda and ending in Graaff-reinet.
This year’s learners walked the furthest distance yet - covering 65km on their journey - averaging 15km per day.
Union’s Odyssey is indeed a journey of selfdiscovery for these learners who are afforded the privilege of walking through some of the most pristine wilderness that the Karoo has to offer.
Thanks are extended to the generous landowners - namely Pierre and Elizna Fourie, Julian Murray, Johan Derksen and Patty Coetzee who allow them access and campsites on their farms, Union’s Grade 10s are fortunate to call the Gats canyon home for five days and four nights.
Carefully selected stopover points are chosen for camps each evening. A policy of zero impact on the landscape is adopted, and there is absolutely no evidence that anyone passed through these places when they leave.
The learners are given stringent talks on litter, pollution and the impact that humanity has on our planet. It is indeed heartening to see the respect that those who partake in Odyssey show the environment that they are privileged to use.
This year, thanks to the good snowfalls during the winter, the river was pristine and could be used for drinking and swimming. Although temperatures were still chilly in the evenings, hikers enjoyed refreshing swims during the course of the day which soothed aching bodies and tired minds.
The Grade 10 class of Union High School recently participated in the annual ‘Odyssey’ down the Gats river canyon, starting in Nieu-bethesda and ending in Graaff-reinet.
Carefully selected stopover points are chosen.