November Newsletter

Welcome to our November Newsletter! It has been a busy month as things are slowly returning to normal.

School, Church and group bookings

The last 10 weeks have been filled with the excitement of  25 camps for 853 people with 1 486 bed nights, while this is just less than half of what our bookings used to be for this period, before Covid, it is very encouraging to have the groups returning and to hear the laughter of children at Hobbiton again. 

Many of our regular clients have showed interest in 2022 and while we only have two bookings for 2022 we are very hopeful and positive that groups will start booking as soon as the new year starts. 

Wild Bird Trust Sponsored Camp

The Wild Bird Trust sponsored camp was held between the 2nd – 7th October and accommodated 54 children from the Esikhululweni, Zingcuka and Sompondo villages. The camps started with a quick lunch of hot dogs followed by a short hike along our night hike trail path.  As the camp was sponsored by the Wild Bird Trust the children needed to complete a basic questionnaire to establish their knowledge of the indigenous forest.  The questionnaire included – What do trees do to the air we breathe, why do we need to look after the indigenous forest and describe a Cape Parrot?  This was conducted to establish a base line of knowledge.
 
The first morning always starts with a morning swim followed by dormitory inspection.  After this the groups walked to either Madonna & Child Waterfall or Swallowtail Waterfall. The group walking to Swallowtail Waterfall were joined by Susan Wishart, from the Cape Parrot Project, who educated the group about biodiversity and the need to protect this with specific mention of the Cape Parrot.  The children were asked to identify different examples of biodiversity and were encouraged to ask questions. Along the way they also enjoyed the beauty of nature and sounds of the fast-flowing waterfall after our recent heavy rains. 

Other adrenaline activities included in this camp were abseiling on our 9 m tower, trapeze jump, zip wire, archery, climbing walls and Jacob’s Ladder. All these activities are undertaken in teams with points awarded for correct completion of them. These points are collected toward receiving their t-shirt and Cape Parrot cap. 

By the fifth day all groups had achieved their 150 points and were exciting to be awarded their shirts and a Cape Parrot cap.  During this day thank you letters were written and the groups prepared for their evening play presentation.  The excitement and nervousness were tangible but all the plays were enjoyable and it was great to see the children’s self-confidence increase as the plays progressed. 
 The next morning started with a time of singing followed by the completion of the Cape Parrot questionnaire. The results of this second
questionnaire were a great improvement on the base line ones and it was a privilege for Hobbiton to be involved in the facilitation of such crucial environment education for the children who live on our forest verges. 

We greatly appreciate the Wild Bird Trust sponsoring this camp and thereby affording these children an opportunity to learn about themselves, each other and the environment. 

All Saints Foundation Sponsored Camp

From the 11th – 15th October we held the All Saints Trust sponsored camp with children selected from the villages between Hogsback and Alice.  The 61 children enjoyed a very similar camp to the Wild Bird Trust camp.  Some of the additional elements included journaling and additional team building activities.  Each child was given a journal and were encouraged to write their most special moments of the camp in this book every night.  The best journal entry, of each day, in each group would be given an individual prize and if written in English the group would also be awarded extra points.  
 
As this camp was more focused on team building, leadership, effective communication, trust and sacrifice these were taught on our middle ropes and group dynamics courses. Along the walks in the forest the children discussed litter and pollution of water sources.  As our forests are mostly free of litter and the waterfall is not polluted it is easy to compare it to areas with dense populations and therefore the negative human impact on the environment.  The children were asked what they can do to improve the situation and reduce human impact in the areas where they live.  In the evenings the children partook in the night hike, videos or games in the hall in the evenings.

Thank you to the All Saints Trust for making this leadership camp available to the children from the valley below Hogsback.

Hobbiton Mountain Bike race

Nowhere else in South Africa will you be afforded a more iconic ride than in Hogsback. Hug the dramatic dolerite rock faces of the three mountains before dipping into the cool indigenous forest filled with squawking Cape Parrots and then ascending onto plateaus of vast grasslands dotted with scented pine trees before the final descent of magical forest and streams back to Hobbiton and the screeching audience of Samango monkeys. 

This ride will take place on Thursday the 16th of December, which is a public holiday. This is a wonderful opportunity to make the most of it and come and spend a long weekend with us in Hogsback!

For more information, and to register, see our Mountain Bike page.

First Aid Course

We will be hosting a Level one and three first aid course at Hobbiton during November. It is a requirement if you run a business to have at least one staff member with Level 1 first aid experience. Book your place now!

Bridging Fund 

We would like to thank each and every person and company who have donated or sponsored prices towards our bridging fund raising campaign.  

Owing to this funding and the bookings above we have sufficient funds to run the establishment for 4 months instead of the previous 1 ½ months.  While this is still far from the stability which we would like it is very reassuring to have this safety net and our team is greatly encouraged by the support from so many sectors of the community. 

Our #hogsbackstay competition has been very successful and we want to once again thank the Stay providers for their generosity!

Congratulations to the various monthly winners:
Cayla Fourie – August Nibelheim winner
Bianca Els – September Maple Grove winner
Lorrinda Thomas – October Windrush winner

The #HogsbackStays Competition will carry on running on a monthly basis until December (Mons Garden). Don’t forget to get your entry in for this months stay at Laragh on Hogsback. You can support us by spreading the news.