A Grand Adventure

The Midlands MagazineOctober 6, 2023

Treverton College Students Take on the Traverse


It’s incredible what people can achieve when they really put their minds to it. This can be said for the Treverton College students and staff who hiked the 250-kilometre Drakensberg Grand Traverse in 13 days, summiting the five highest peaks.


Two female students (Karijn Kooy and Georgina Thompson), three male students (Alexander Giokos, Konstantino Giokos and Daniel Jonck), Headmaster Kean Broom, and three other staff members (Derek Brown, Channelle Oosthuizen and Shaun Robertson), as well as film graduate Ethan Lundy (who documented the hike), made up the team. What made the expedition even more special is that Karijn and Georgina are the first school girls to finish the traverse as part of a school group!


After extensive planning and training, the Treverton hikers set off on 25 March from Sentinel Car Park. “On the trip, we were immersed in a world of big mountains, deep valleys, fresh crystal clear water, inclement weather, constant companionship, and the satisfaction of completing the day’s walk before settling down into our tents for the night,” says Shaun. “Wide open spaces, physical effort, and the simplicity of living in this foreign environment have a magnetic effect on the hearts of those who choose to wander into them.”


Overall, the weather was on their side, allowing for phenomenal views of the KZN Midlands and Lesotho. However, storms and strong winds hit on their way to, and the night after summiting, Thabana Ntlenyana. Respite soon came when they stopped at Sani Pass pub, the highest pub in Africa, for a hot meal, after travelling across frozen ground.


On top of carrying their heavy bags filled with their provisions (as well as filming equipment!), the students overcame many challenges to finish their journey. After dropping hot water on his foot, Daniel continued hiking with second and third-degree burns, earning him the title “Dan the Man”. Alexander struggled with his stomach, resulting in him feeling very weak. Derek fixed him right up by creating an ‘elixir’ with ash and water. Karijn spent many nights coughing due to a respiratory tract infection, which concerned the whole team. However, she persevered without complaint or struggle. Shaun adds, “While these troubles may seem somewhat trivial in our modern world, small problems become big problems in the mountains very quickly if not dealt with. The students worked through their individual struggles bravely and finished well.”


There were many others who helped this 10-person team along their journey. On day five, another group of Treverton College students hiked up Organ Pipes Pass to drop off much-needed food and other supplies. The second restock was driven to Sani Pass pub on day 11. Companies and individuals also lent a hand by sponsoring food, clothing, first aid kits and camera equipment.


On day 13, the hikers ended their expedition at Bushman’s Neck Border Post, feeling incredibly proud of their achievement. “The trip was a great success. This would not be the case if it wasn’t for the perseverance and determination of the students and staff on the trip, and I am so pleased with the character that they displayed throughout. I am also so thankful to those who helped and supported us,” says Shaun.


If you would like to experience just a nugget of their hike of the Drakensberg Grand Traverse, you’re in luck. Barry Smit has used Ethan’s footage to put together a documentary that follows the adventure, filled to the brim with out-of-this-world views and the hikers’ smiling faces. We are in awe of what these Treverton students and staff have accomplished!