Sunday, April 24, 2011

"Surviving" Paarl Mountain

My 4-year old son has become a big fan of Bear Grylls from the Ultimate Survival series (aka Man vs Wild and Born Survival). Playing survival in the back garden unfortunately according to him is not "wilderness enough". Finding a suitable environment where he can put his recently acquired "survival skills" to test is a bit tricky, especially if finding water, shelter, food and ultimately other human life has to be part of the exercise. I have been thinking of places to take him, but unfortunately we usually find the "other human beings" before we find the need for water or food, so I had to extend my search to a more remote place. Even though I knew that human beings will usually form part of any safe area around Cape Town, I remembered that my last trip to Paarl Mountain was quite "in solitude", apart from one or two mountain bike cyclist and the visitors to the Afrikaans Language Monument. So that is where we "were dropped off" for our survival experience.

We first explored a small ravine with a very unexpected waterfall. I could see that he was anxious in moving on after we've found our water source, not preserving any of his energy at all. From there we went straight to the Paarl Mountain Nature Reserve, hoping to find food and shelter and to continue our search for human life that could probably save us from perishing in the wild. Even though Bear always moves down into the valley where finding humans are much more likely than at the top, I still wanted to stand on the top of Paarl Mountain "just for the T-shirt" award, so we headed upwards instead of downwards. (Un)fortunately we ran into two ladies taking pictures. My son decided that they looked "human" enough for "our rescue", forgetting completely about the shelter and food that we haven't found yet. There were enough overhanging rocks and caves which he later pointed out as the perfect place to shack up for the night, but I had no intention on staying up there in any case, especially not after seeing earlier on the weather forecast that a cold front was heading towards Cape Town. By the time his stomach reminded him that we never actually found food either, my wife came to our rescue with croissants and rusks...and coffee for the exhausted expedition leader. Thankfully there was no need to catch and skin wild life after that, which I knew was not a good idea in a Nature Reserve anyway.

Apart from the fun I had pretending with my son that we were in the wild and having the adventure of our lives, I was amazed by the beauty of the rocks and vegetation. I had plenty of time for pictures, although it is not always easy when survival is your main concern. Watching him in the rear view mirror fast asleep as we headed home, I could see that he was very pleased with being "rescued" at last.

Paarl Valley..civilization at last!


  1. Lets hope there are many more adventures that lay ahead for our brave explorer, and more stories to be told.

  2. How to Make Pemmican The Ultimate Survival Food

    Invented by the natives of North America.

    Pemmican was used by Indian scouts as well as early western explorers.
    These people spent a great deal of time on the go and depended on having portable, high-energy, highly nutritious, and filling foods that would last for long periods of time without refrigeration.

    Click HERE to Learn How to Make Pemmican The Ultimate Survival Food !

    People really should avert their gaze from the modern survival thinking for just a bit and also look at

    How folks 150 years ago did it!

    These guys were the last generation to practice basic things-for a living-that we call survival skills now.

    Survival Things Our Great Grandfathers Did Or Built Around The House!