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Peterhouse Boys

B Block Chimanimani Expedition 2021

The Peterhouse Boys Chimanimani Expedition for 2021 started with some itchy noses from the Government administered antigen test, this we had to do in order to facilitate interprovincial travel. Our thanks to the Ministry of Health who gave permission for the expedition to proceed - even at the very shortest of notice.

This made the normally tedious issuing of food, packs, snacks, tents and packing the bus on Sunday afternoon, in preparation for an early departure on Monday morning, happen in a flash.

The prospect of hiking on some steep mountain slopes with a heavy pack for five days was most likely not an attractive proposition for some; while others (enthusiastic ones) were rearing to go.

After six hours in the bus, we finally arrived at Charleswood Farm with the boys’ first view of the imposing cliffs of the Chimanimani Mountains. The news that we are crossing these to get to the bigger mountains behind did not reassure the boys. But it was a learning curve: walking the 6km to the National Parks Basecamp in Chimanimani National Park gave them the opportunity to realise that several changes of clothes and several luxuries must be left in camp because packs were getting heavier with every step.

      

Rising at 5:15 on Tuesday morning with a quick breakfast saw the two groups on their way. One group headed South through the “Banana Groves, past Paradise Pools to overnight at “High Valley” to be within easy striking distance to Climb Mount Kwesa, the second highest mountain in Zimbabwe and a further 20 boys in this group also opted to climb Mt Pesa the next morning before returning to Basecamp via Baileys Folly, a really tough route, in the afternoon.

The other group crossed onto the Bundi River plain via the Eastern Duncar river route. This group encountered some very steep climbs which included a 5km climb to the summit of Mt Pesa the next morning before breaking camp to overnight at Paradise Pools. They then undertook a long walk via Skeleton Pass and Banana Groves back to Basecamp for an evening of sharing “War Stories” with the other group.

     

The boys felt a great sense of achievement after conquering these intimidating mountains. They knew how impossible the task seemed just a few days previously but have completed it and it actually was not that hard; conquering a mountain is how you conquer any obstacle in life - one step at a time! These boys have successfully completed a rite of passage for all Peterhouse pupils since 1967 and can rightfully feel proud of their achievements. Seeing the boys walking out with their packs in the rain on Friday morning made me proud of being part of a school which value grit and determination in their pupils.

I would like to thank the instructors and staff: Aiden Blignaut, Tino Gwatiringa, Nqobile Ndlovu and Cindy Schultz who so ably assisted in making this expedition a great success.

Francois de Kock - Deputy Head

     

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