By Cita Penn.
The Orange River Dash took place on the weekend of 24 and 25 March after a long time of planning. We all arrived at Oewerbos, our base camp for the weekend, on Friday the 23rd. After a swim briefing and delicious pizzas, it was off to bed for our early rise on Saturday morning. The 26km group left camp at 5:30am and the 10km group at 6am.
Despite sluices at Vanderkloof being opened a few days earlier, unfortunately the level of the river was not enough at the originally planned starting point, so the 26km group had to start 2km further downstream where there was a little more water. We set off after sunrise, and with water levels quite low, there was a fair amount of walking, leopard crawling over rocks, wading through grass, and jumping on the boats to get down rapids and weirs or through the really thick grass.
We completed around 19kms and ran out of water, so the group jumped back in the vehicle and went back up stream in order to do another short distance, so we completed 22.5kms on day 1. Day 2 entailed us going back to the point where we set off for the second stint on day 1 to swim around 3kms back to camp, where we picked up the rest of the group to swim downstream to the end of day 1’s point.
The water levels had risen quite a bit during the night, so the swim on Sunday was much better, although there was still a fair number of shallow sections. We completed 10.7kms on day 2, totaling 33.2kms for the 2 days. This swim was an absolutely incredible experience, with amazing new and old friends, camaraderie and support that was beyond all of our expectations. I am sure we will all be back for more…..
A big thank you to Rapid Adventures for all the organization and keeping everything going according to plan. Another big thank you to RaceFood for supplying FarBar and FastBar for the duration of the event to keep our energy levels up during the swim.