After a long day’s worth of roaming the slopes of Khotso Farm the horses return to their field for the evening.
The 2013 Mountain Mutter was different to any of the trail runs that were run before. Instead of having two stages 40 km there, and then 40 km back again, the course was 67 km without a break – a tougher assignment than before. Steve was initially unsure of whether or not to enter the race as he came down with flu not a week before the race. Alas, as we know a little flu won’t ever stop the King from running, and run he did. A 4600 foot climb took Steve 8 hrs and 37 minutes to finish, only 3 seconds ahead of second and third place (Pressure indeed!). It took Steve 1 hr 45 minutes to reach the top of Thule. The wind reached gale force strength and the weather was extremely hot – not ideal running circumstances. After Thule the race wound into Sehlabathebe National Park via the Park Lodge, and then onto Tsoelokane Waterfall. From there they raced to the border of the Eastern Cape, and back down again to St Bernard’s Peak Hotel.
Khotso Adventure guest farm may have the best Horse Trails in the Southern Drakensberg and into Lesotho, but underlying the entire Horse Trail and Accommodation operation is the actual farming of sheep. This month, like so many years before saw the regular Basotho Sheep Shearers visit the farm to relieve 200 sheep of their wooly coats in time for the summer heat. One of the guys (sorter) sorts the wool into different bales according to the quality, this year all our wool got class AM, the best quality! The wool gets packed into wool bales and then sent off to port Elizabeth to BKB, to be sold on the next auction. The price of wool is very good at the moment, so here’s holding thumbs… This gang of Shearers travel all over South Africa and Lesotho cutting wool all year around. They sleep in the shed even if they get offer different accommodation. We give them 3 meals a day, coffee and tea. Very cool!
This month we’ve been particularly blessed to have quite a few South African School groups join us in the Drakensberg Mountains. Normally any given school group joining us for team building, or leadership courses lasts between 2 and 4 days. Our first group this month, 350 odd boys from DHS (Durban Boys High) hiked from Cobham Nature reserve to Khotso Adventure farm. They pitched their tents, went for an hour horse ride, and came just back in time to take another informative hike with Steve Black.
We were also honored to have hosted 60 ladies from St Johns Diocesan in Pietermaritzburg. These girls are tough: Before arriving at Khotso base camp, they cycled 120km and walked a further 15km before reaching Khotso.As they had been camping every night, Khotso represented the first comfortable evening for the girls as they took over the backpackers. Next day the ladies were up for a 2 hour horse ride into the Southern Drakensberg, but turning just short of Lesotho before going back to base camp in South Africa.
Still to visit our farm this month (Monday 26 August), we have 75 Kearsney boys coming for their annual 4 days 3 nights adventure / challenge. One day is all about the horses when they venture on a three hour horse ride into the mountains. They get to learn more about horses; what they eat, how to maintain them, hooves, nutrition, training, and temperament. Another day they hike Bamboo Mountain with Steve Black and Khotso manager Adrian Thomas. Other days are taken up by nature education, leadership skills tests, and basic outdoor survival. These boys have to get their own firewood, and using only the fire, make all their own meals…and are not allowed anywhere close to the vicinity of buildings.