A hot summers day
- 30 December 2012 -

When I was much younger, I'm guessing about 12 years old, I used to accompany my brother John and his friends to a place called Nkwe, out on Lynnwood road in Pretoria. I hadn't been out there in a long time and was wondering if the place still existed and if it was how I can remember it. A quick search online proved that it was still around, but it didn't tell me if it was still the setting I remember as a kid, so I called up 2 of my friends, Scott and Mike and headed out that way.
It's about 20km from the closest highway and slightly outside of town, I would estimate about 30 - 45 minutes travel from most areas in Pretoria. 

I remember the place as a remote and secluded spot that has a decently sized water hole where you can jump from the rocks into the water. Socialising with your friends on a hot summers day was the idea, I guess I could refer to it as a "natural" pool party.

Once we entered the premises which cost us a small R40 per person, we drove down the road in search of the water hole, but it didn't take me long to recognise the familiar setting. It looked pretty much how I can remember. Except I can't remember as many people. The place was busy but not unbearable, there was still plenty of space to go around.

The first thing I looked for was the main rock and the highest point to jump from, it was not hard to find. Just look out for a crowd of spectators.

I would estimate the highest point is about 10 meters high, give and take, which isn't the highest in the world but about 3 stories high. To my knowledge there are places around up to 30 meters which people jump from, but then it gets a bit dangerous. 10 meters is just enough to give you some excitement, but also keeping it safe.

We walked around a bit and noticed there was an additional pool a little higher up. We headed there first.

It was about 33 degrees Celsius, so a fairly warm day, so I decided it was time to cool off. The upper level pool also has rocks to jump from, but probably half the height as the "man" jump. We decided to give that a try first.

I lotion'ed up, as the South African sun can be quite harsh, and found a rock to jump from that didn't make the hairs on the back of my neck stand up, and leaped in. 

It was refreshing. I did touch the bottom with my feet. But it's far from dangerous, by the time I reached the bottom my speed had been drastically reduced and the pool floor acts as a nice board to push oneself back up. According to my previous knowledge, the main pool's floor is unreachable.

Turns out, jumping from the rocks isn't the only fun thing to do. There were plenty of people just relaxing in the water with a drink or taking a pleasant swim. The water temperature was just right for the hot day. Cold enough to properly refresh, but not too cold either. Mike also joined in but Scott wasn't in the mood...

I repeated the jump 3 times in total, then decided it was time to move on. 

We decided to go check out the higher "man" jump to see how hair raising this was. Well both Mike and myself had jumped from this in our younger years, but standing on the edge, it does look higher than observing from the bottom. I wasn't planning to jump today though. Instead I focused on getting some photos of the men and woman brave enough to leap in.

Obviously there are more men than woman jumping, but you do get them. Since I last visited Nkwe I notice they have applied concrete to the edge of the ledge to jump from, this supplies a good rough surface to get a good grip when kicking off, making it safer.

Some of the men jumping were quite adventurous in their techniques, including back flips and head first drives. I'm not sure I would try that!

Getting back up for another jump is a short climb back up or a long walk on a path around the back.

Despite me not jumping on this day, I'm sure I will jump next time. I mentioned to Mike and Scott that we should arrange a whole day outing. We can have a braai, bring a couple of drinks and a larger crowd. Today was meant to briefly evaluate the setting.

Kids seem to love it here too, there are smaller pools where the younger kids can play in the water, facilities to have a braai, and large grass patches under massive tree to relax and socialise. We will definitely be back.

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