Finding the jewel of Kgatleng

Leungo Mokgwathi
BEAUTIFUL VIEW : Ramotlabaki at its best

A mesmerising journey through the Seanokeng festival venue

Wednesdays in the newsroom are always cutthroat, and after a long day clicking on the keyboard aggressively in hopes to submit stories before the deadline, we always look to Thursday to catch our breaths before hopping back on the watchdog trail. You can imagine how thrilled I was after receiving an invitation to the Seanokeng Camp Festival Media Tour in Ramotlabakaki, excited for the adventure and the opportunity to unwind after a hectic week.

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Time isn’t really my strong suit (I know that you are probably wondering how ironic that is for a journalist), so I arrived at the pickup point a few minutes later than the stipulated take off time which was set at 6am. To my surprise, only two team members had arrived before me, and we waited anxiously for almost two hours before everyone had gathered for take off.

After a prayer and quick briefing on the day’s events, we hit the road, packed comfortably in the new Ford Ranger 4×4 double cabs which are renowned for their unmatched performance, comfort, safety and cutting-edge technology.

The comfort was much needed considering the off-road track we hit as we cut across the dusty countryside of Kgatleng District, making our way to the serene banks of the Limpopo river.

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As we neared the river, the dryland which was recovering from the cold winter, made way for the greener, luscious vegetation, signalling that a water source was closeby. There, on the banks of the Limpopo river, the villagers waited with beaming faces for the company the faraway village isn’t used to.

As with every occasion, the media tour commenced with official proceedings to welcome us to Ramotlabaki, and most importantly school us on the Seanokeng Camp Festival which will take place almost a month later in the same spot where we sat. Even on fun excursions, there’s always that part where we have to pull out our notepads and pens to take notes through the speeches-this was it.

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One by one, different speakers, from Ramotlabaki’s Kgosi Modidi who welcomed us to his land, the Assistant Minister of Local Government and Rural Development who is also the area Member of Parliament Hon. Mabuse Pule, The Voice Managing Director Marc Kasale, a representative from the Wildlife and National Parks, Tumelo Lekolwane from Indigenous Routes and the Ramotlabaki Village Development Committee Chairperson Tefo Paledi, each said their piece. In this semi-formal setting, they each shared a message and the reporters listened attentively to capture the most important points.

I, on the other hand, had earlier been given the incredible task of making sure that all the guests were comfortable and had everything they needed, so, when my colleagues were taking all the information in, I was running up and down catering to their needs. Thank God for recording features though, I at least was able to listen to the speeches at a later time to craft stories.

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To cement the camping concept, we were then guided to the camping site where three camps were already perched. I have never been for outdoor adventures, mostly because I don’t understand why anyone would willingly choose to sleep in a bag on the ground. However, after what I saw, I might just turn into a camping-gal! Now, these were your normal canvas camping tents, but, inside screamed luxury and comfort. I could imagine myself, after plenty of dancing and having fun on the 9th, taking a shower and then resting on white sheets. Now that’s life!

I was thoroughly impressed with the camping site, but, just like my colleagues, at this point, all I was thinking about was the food which was being placed at the serving point. Remember that take off-time was set for 6am, two hours earlier than the 8am we are used to, so most of us ran late and missed breakfast and we were famished, which is why most of us didn’t hesitate when we were called in for brunch. I can’t say the same for myself though because there was no way I was going to get food before making sure that everyone had eaten.

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Goodness me, a few minutes later, I kind of wished I wasn’t so morally upright because the chaffing dishes were emptied right before my eyes and eventually there was nothing left for me. Luckily, a colleague who noticed my stress, gave me a chicken thigh which I devoured in less than a minute.

There was only one hour between us and lunch time, so I held onto faith that I would get something to eat then. On this trip, there wasn’t a minute to sit around doing nothing, so after all the plates were cleared and I had licked my fingers of the sauce from the chicken, we once again boarded the double cabs and travelled for about 30 minutes before we reached the confluence that I had been making voice overs and writing so many stories about over the past two months. I was finally going to see what the fuss was all about!

Being only 154cm tall, my short feet always place me last on hikes and so, I was the last to arrive at this grand spectacle where the Limpopo and Ngotwane rivers kiss. Interestingly, although the water level in the Limpopo River was low, it flowed seamlessly, however, the area where it branched off into the Ngotwane had dried up, which was a marvel to the eye. This stunning landscape called for selfies, so we toured the area, making sure to capture ourselves from every possible angle.

I then noticed a few gentlemen who couldn’t be bothered by selfies, but instead surveyed the dryland for snail shells. I overheard someone explaining that the shells were used as medicine, specifically to boost libido. They were everywhere and these men seemed desperate to collect as many as possible.

It seemed others came prepared, as they pulled out 2 litre bottles to collect the water from the river. This was no surprise because river water is believed to have a spiritual effect of cleansing and purification. All I took back home was a phone which was almost running out of storage because of all the photo and video content.

I did mention that the Ford Ranger was extremely comfortable, but the only explanation for my excitement to go back was because it was lunch time. This time around, there was plenty of food for everyone. The ladies from the village had prepared the perfect outdoor meal: phaleche, chakalaka and braai meat, and paired with a cold beverage made it even more perfect.

We kicked back our feet and did the unwinding we had all set out to do. At this point, throats were wide open and everyone was having a good time. The cherry on top was a performance from one of Kgatleng’s most esteemed dikhwaere groups which thoroughly entertained and showed us what we don’t want to miss out on at the Seanokeng Camp Festival.

As fun as it was, there was a clock to it and when the time struck, we had to head back to Gaborone. That morning, the ride was a bit nerve racking because I happened to have rode in the same car as my boss and everyone was on edge, but the ride back was a fun one. I suppose everyone was relaxed and the booze may have played a part in that loosening up, at least that is my theory.

Overall, fun was definitely had, and Ramotlabaki, see you again on the 9th December, because clearly you are the perfect haven for a fun adventure amidst nature’s embrace.

Finding the jewel of Kgatleng
SATISFIED : Media team at the end of the tour
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