My name is Courtney and I was born and raised in South Africa, I stay in the big city, the motherland, Johannesburg. So, no doubt I am definately a city girl with first world problems, like when it rains I have to revert to playing cellphone games because the cable tv has gone fuzzy and has no image or when my phone dies and I can’t remember where I left my charger. My point is, when you’re a city girl you become used to a certain standard of living, this perception changed for me the first time I went to a festival and camped.
So for the first time going camping I packed all the essentials. I packed all my food, cooldrinks, minimal water because there would likely be clean drinking water or shops nearby and a large bag with clothes and makeup and of course the bug spray and the pepperspray to ward off unwelcome pests.
So, myself and my friend and camping buddy were well on our way. We had GPS to tell us where to go and snacks in the car. This is where we get lost because the GPS lost satellite signal and the radio went fuzzy and phones stopped sending messages because there was clearly no signal-we thought we were about to die in the wilderness. Needless to say, we found our way back to Rustenburg and then to Megaliesburg after being lost and going all the way to Krugersdorp and Ventersdorp and then to Pretoria. I don’t think I’ve stopped and talked to so many strangers before in my entire life to ask for directions. I thought hitchhikers were going to jump in the car and probably kill us both, but we overcame the fear and sucked it up.
It was already lunchtime by the time we had travelled down a 2 kilometre mountain road and parked the car on a sand road to unpack our tent and luggage. We were hungry and we already ate all our snacks while getting lost. We had unpacked all the necessities and walked across a wobbly and unstable wooden bridge with roped holding it up over the river to get to our camping spot under a huge shady tree which was perfect because I brought along my hammock and tyre swings. We tried to set up the tent which took at least thirty minutes until we realised that it was time to read the instruction manual or call a friend. Needless to say, we eventually set up the tent, tyre swing and hammock, blow up beds and balcony. We were so tired and hungry that we decided to retreat to our designated bedrooms in our tent and just sleep for a while. After about an hour of rest we were practically surrounded by flying insects that flew in the front of the tent, which is when we decided to keep it closed. Meanwhile, while my friend closed the bug net over the front of the tent, I was spraying my doom everywhere, which led us to go trek to the swimming pool to cool off and because the doom wasn’t odorlous and we could no longer breather n the tent air.
I’m glad I had chosen to wear my Superga’s because the trek to the swimming pool area took us at least what felt like twenty five minutes, which was fine because the music areas and bar tents has finished setting up and was time to dance by the dancefloor.
We eventually were so tired by the time it was dark and went back to the tent to get changed out of our wet and dusty clothes into something more comfortable and clean.We just lay there on our beds staring at the tent ceiling at the night stars.That was the first time I saw so may constellations in one glance without there being a building in the way of my view. It was beautiful.
The next morning we looked like savage zombies with messy hair and dark circles under our eyes because there was so many people making a noise at their tents, shouting and screaming and dancing and playing load bass music and the dance floor continues throughout the night, we got no rest. We eventually decided to do that long trek back to the swimming pool area to see for ourselves what was happening there and to decide if we anted to swim again or dance or just walk around and explore. We alnded up doing all of it, we explored a small and narrow rocky pathway around a clear river bank that had white riversand at the bottom where we stumbled upon rock divers. We were terrified when we saw two men climbing the rocks and made their way to a steep edge where they were just about to jump when my friend screamed to them not to. My friend screamed to them to go to the next rock under them otherwise they would jump straight onto that rock ad get hurt. They did and they jumped while we cheered them on. We then made our way back to the dancefloor completely sunburnt and realised we hadn’t eaten dinner the night before or anything that day either, so we went to the bar and bought ouselves slush puppies and some water and made our way back to our tents again.
That evening the atmosphere was pumping with so many tents lit up and music playing, people conversing and fire dancers making their way through the campsite. We met many interesting people some who were sober and some who were not and we had many weird and enlightening conversations. A man who had been walking beside us had heard some of our random discussions on the pathway and decided to join in with us and eventually when we ahd reached our destination back to the dance floor he hugged us both and greeted us politely.
We walked away feeling enlightened and went back to our tents to relax. ON our way back, there were no longer any lights or fire dancers and we weren’t sure where our tent was so we walked into a tent that looked like ours. The people in the tent were so friendly and even came with us to help us find our tent and we landed up hosting a communal braai with all of them where we sat around a camp fire and just talked.
By the end of the festival, we had both endured having nowhere to shower and we learned very quickly to bring more water because the water there was contaminated so we had to buy bottled water once we ran out of our own we had brought with us. We also learned to survive by using clever tactics like going for a swim early in the morning and using a towel to dry our hair so it looks clean. We forgot to eat and did so much walking and hiking that we both went home toned and slimmed.
As a city girl, I realised when I arrived back in Johannesburg that the country side in Rustenburg has cleaner air and if anything, the people are much friendlier. I survived without a phone and a tv and any form of technology for an entire week and needless to say I didn’t use my make up once. Although I went home excited to take a long shower and go sleep in my own bed, the camping trip was one of the most amazing moments in my life.