The Old Pont

There’s a lovely spot on the Mtumvuna that divides old Natal from old Transkei. We went with Sue and Mike Barnes in 2009. They own one of the unique semi-permanent ‘cottages’ or fixed tents there and arranged another for us to hire.

Old Pont collage 1The Old Pont collage 2

Before there was a bridge downstream, there was an old pont here. Nowadays there’s an informal do-it-yourself ferry.

The ferry - The Old Pont collage

Mike builds beautiful boats and had one of Mallards best there:

The Old Pont collage 3

Good people, lots of kids, lots of action.

The Old Pont collage 4

We did some mountain biking in the gorge overlooking the river upstream and visited Beaver Creek coffee farm.

The Old Pont collage 5

Mike taught Tom to wakeboard and he loved it. Took to it like a grebe to water. I set him off and Trish photographed him from the boat.

Tom's First Wakeboarding collage
Tom’s first shot at wakeboarding – chuffed!

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History:

heritage Old Pontheritage Old Pont_2

On our bikes we came across the sewage treatment plant. Acres of dried kak in interesting patterns. Sorta like chocolate. That’s what the kids have remembered longest about The Old Pont.

old pont sewage sludge.jpg

 

Money’s Worth

Hey, I went haring around on my bike on Sunday – first time in a long time! A friend took the kids on the 10km fun ride, so I had no-one to shepherd and could indulge meself.

This was just like the old days. Single track, through pine forests, up and down rocky paths, across streams and along game trails. Flat-out downhill, bones shaking apart and quite often thinking Oh, sh*t, now I’ve gone a bridge too far and I’m going to see my rear end!”, but I only fell once and then in slow motion down a very steep rocky path when my front wheel jammed against a rock and I slowly went over the handle-bars to land safely in the grass.

On some of the tight turns they had banked corners, so you could hit them leaning right down and squeeze your back brake and skid round and jerk upright just in time for the next corner. Lekk-aah!

The trail started near the Umtamvuna river and the high point was on the cliff-edge overlooking the gorge in the wildlife reserve with the white-water rapids far below – stunning! (see feature pic – not mine)

Uphills, though “r not us”. I get off and push and enjoy the scenery. Everyone granny-gears their way past me, then I whizz past many of them on the downhills.

Gravity likes me.
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Gayle, who had accompanied the kids gave this report: At the top of the first long climb, not 2km into their 10km ride Tom turned to her and asked:

Gayle, how much did it cost to enter this?
Twenty Rand Tom, she replied.

Well, I think I’ve had my Twenty Rands’ worth, he puffed.

They huffed . .
Tom into his stride through the bananas – 2008

The next year we did it again, the kids old hands by now: