Every year, the whole of my high school goes away and spends a week in nature, be it hiking or paddling. This year, as is a custom at my school and many other schools across the country, we spent five glorious day on the Orange River, which serves as a border between South Africa, and our neighbouring country, Namibia.
We drove up (it took almost 12 hours), and after multiple toilet breaks and burger stops, we finally got through border control and were in another country (!!!). Being out in nature with school always make my heart so full. Without much signal or technology (I always make a point of leaving my phone at home), we have so much time to just chat to each other and engage and connect in ways that the busy everyday school life doesn’t really leave much room for.
We paddled for three of the five days, and the other two days were for traveling. The Orange River is so beautiful. We’d start in the morning, and pull up to a sand bank for the night just as the sun was setting.
I can’t quite put into words how it feels to fall asleep after a day of paddling down the river, with the moon and stars above your head, huddled in a little group, sleeping amongst some of your favourite people, whilst listening to the sound of water running gently over the rocks, and listening to the chirp of insects. It’s magical to say the least. Whilst the paddling was physically taxing at times, it was so fulfilling and it makes me a little teary if I think about it for too long because my longing to go back is that great. We have a beautiful continent, that’s for sure.