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MPONDOLAND: A HIKE WITH A CAUSE

January 5, 2017

Over a year since my last blog! Shame on me. Now that we got that out the way… Here goes…

There I was, searching for destinations to visit, because there’s nothing as horrible as spending the period between Christmas and New Years in Johannesburg. Of course I was rather later in my search, and a majority of the places I was looking at were fully booked. But alas, there is a God.

One random day a poster popped up on my Whatsapp, advertising an Mpondoland hike. No deliberating was needed. It was an immediate “Go for it.” I booked, got my unfit self ready, and straight after Christmas went to see what the Eastern Cape terrain had.

The territory known as Pondoland or, more correctly Mpondoland, incorporates the divisions of Bizana, Libode, Ngqeleni, Port St John’s, Tabankulu, and Umsikaba, and the plan was to walk the hills with pauses at the villages.

I wasn’t really sure what to expect. All I knew was that I was going hiking (cause it’s what I do right. I hike). Arrival time where we spent the first night was after dark, so I didn’t get to see much of the surroundings. I was rather disappointed at how things were disorganized that night, and the dissatisfied side of me saw me going to sleep rather angry (yes.. yes… don’t go to sleep angry. ok got it.)

team

The next day the trail quickly made me forget the previous nights unhappiness. All I could say was, “WOW – BEAUTIFUL.” Mpondoland coast stretches along the Indian ocean, and has the most beautiful beaches. Un-populated and secluded, the beaches are hidden treasures, which in my opinion should never be discovered by the typical holiday maker.  The rest of the trail was amazing. Not as mountainous as I expected, but nonetheless holds beautiful stretches of green land. The area can  be explained in one word: EXQUISITE.

pano

river  people-beachwalk

As much as the trail and the landscape was lovely, what fascinated me more was that this was not just another “let’s go and discover new territory” hike. I later found out that this was actually a hike with a cause. BREARD Foundation, the organizing company that plans these hikes, have a good cause as to why they do what they do. The proceeds end up back in the communities and villages around Mpondoland.

As we trail from one village to another, we are hosted by the locals. They provide us with shelter, cook us the most amazing meals and share their culture with us. I’m still on about the food. Seven colours every-day. This is food-heaven for me ‘cause nothing beats a HOME cooked meal. I don’t mean the fancy home cooked meals we cook in the burbs, I mean good-wholesome-cooked-like-granny-used- to-cook kinda meals. * licks lips.* I digress. The locals hosting us means that they get some form of financial input into their households, and believe me, it’s needed.

housing

The proceeds of the monies for the hike also go towards socially uplifting educational programs. This time around, BREARD Foundation invested in purchasing brands new school shoes which were distributed to the local children. On any given day these kids walk 5-15km daily to get to and from school. It was humbling, mainly because I was unaware that there was a cause in it all, secondly because it was so cool to see the beautiful hearts of the people that run this foundation having so much passionate about investing into their communities. Jesus said it himself in Luke 6:38 “Give and it shall be given to you.” James 1:27 says  “ Real religion, the kind that passes muster before God, is this: Reach out to the homeless and loveless in their plight…”

shoes-giveaway

It challenged my complacent self to want to do better. Perfect way to end 2016 and start 2017.

dessert  beachwalk

Should you ever want to:  explore your fitness levels, see the beauty of the Mpondoland, indulge in good food, have fun with crazy people and learn more about the Xhosa culture, give back to humanity, all at one go, make sure you making a booking via BREARD Foundation. Email: info@breardfoundation.org.

Until the next one…

“In all things of nature, there is something of the marvelous.”- Aristotle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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