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Rafting on the Orange River, Week 3 by Millie Edwards

Our third week was started off with an epic day of invasive tree removal, which was thoroughly enjoyed and pegged as one of our favourite days of the trip. We had a slight incident of an axe to Reds shin but this didn’t stop him from continuing the day with just one leg. Classic Red. Saturday was a slightly different activity of fence removal and was not a popular one within the group, leaving us all with a hatred for wire. On the third day (Sunday) we packed up and headed across the border for our four day rafting trip on the Orange River. This was obviously a very exciting day for us as we’d been told there was, 3G AND a shop to buy snacks. Every 19 year olds dream.

On Monday, after a quick safety chat from Coby - our guide - and 30 mins of drilling into Imi S that there were no crocodiles and hippos, the rafting began. We were quick to discover (after nearly losing them down the rapids) that despite Ivo and Ralphs strong bromance they were not the perfect rafting pair. Base camp for the night was on the Namibian side of the river and after our chicken stir fry (which was incredible) Coby began to ‘impress’ us with his ‘amazing’ jokes... and his rather questionable games, leading to the majority of the group going to bed at 7pm. Sorry Coby.

Day 2 on the Orange River started off with a change in the rafting teams where Ralph was paired with Imi S instead of Ivo. This later turned out to be one of Andrea’s shockingly bad ideas and led to them both having a huge domestic in the middle of the River. “Jesus Christ Imi stop laughing and f****** paddle”. A similar situation arose with Gigi and I, where I (for some odd reason) didn’t trust Gigi and constantly panicked that she wasn’t doing it right. I’m sorry for anything I said Gigi, you were right and I was wrong. However, tensions in the group soon fizzled out after one of the best sundowners of the trip so far and an evening around the fire, involving some more games, which Imi G, as hard as she tried, was not so good at when being partnered up with Ivo and Magnus.

Determined to boost moral on day 3 Ralph spontaneously whipped out the Sponge-bob Squarepants theme tune and continued this throughout the trip. However, as soon as all four rafts set off on the water, a collision involving everyone and one of the most thorniest trees ever occurred, taking at least 10mins to recover from. One of the most beautiful moments of the trip was when ‘megaraft’ was formed. All the rafts United and we’d never felt closer as a team.

With Red never running out of energy, a hike to a gorge along the river was at the top of his list for an afternoon activity. With a few reluctant groans the whole group joined him after being promised it would “probably” be about an hour’s hike. Little did we know he was SO wrong. 3 hours, many a sachet of rehydration salts and energy shots we finally made it to the gorge. It was an incredible sight to see though and definitely worth the advanced level rock climbing trek. Seeing the sight of the truck on the walk back was an emotional moment for Emily and myself, with both of us near to tears (of joy, obviously).

On Thursday morning, getting back to camp with homemade burgers and chips by Raul was certainly a good end to a good week.

With all the love,

Millie and the team.

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