Head for dimpled blue waters

2009-09-25 00:00

LAST Monday, when the rudeness of summer, masquerading as spring, had offended our family sufficiently, we decided to kick off Pietermaritzburg’s duvet for the day. Packing three sweaty under sixes in our back seat and some bicycles, balls and beach toys into our boot, we told our car to follow its nose until it found fresh air.

Twenty-five minutes later and the dimpled blue waters of Midmar Dam came into view.

“Slippy slide,” two-year-old Anna shouted as we passed the water works.

“Um, sort of,” I replied.

“Is Midmar a pond or the sea?” asked four-year-old Joah.

Six-year-old Lael rolled her eyes: “It’s neither. It’s a lake.”

A number of elbow jabs and false identities later and we were through the gates of the reserve.

Soft, green grass begged to be slept upon, breezy branches swung like pendulums and white-sailed boats lulled to and fro.

“Right, what’s first?” three awake faces inquired.

Well, first is a little nap on that patch of grass over there. Second, is a leisurely reading of the Sunday papers. And third is some gazing into the distant horizons.

“Funny Mom,” their faces replied as we got escorted down to the water’s edge.

For the next two hours we scooped up jarfuls of water and fired them as cannonballs into the dam. (My son had left all his weapons in the car and he was feeling rather naked.) Then we collected clay and made paint — red paint, brown paint and red-brown paint.

When we got hungry we made mud cakes, mud soup and mud wine. Some of us even drank it. Then we mashed up mud, got dressed in mud stockings and ran up and down the knee-deep water shouting, “Here’s a little fishy”, to the numerous crocodile noses that kept peeping out of the water. And lastly, when we were sufficiently covered in mud we said: “Nanananana” to the water and jumped in. Only one of us didn’t cry — the water still thought it was winter.

“I think it’s time for lunch,” I said. “And what about that little nap we were discussing earlier?” my husband’s eyes replied.

While the great trees of Midmar dappled shade on our bodies, we picnicked. Sausages, chips, rolls, coke and some whole- wheat bread, just to lower the overall GI. Then, while Lael made the tea and some of us napped, Joah and Anna had a seedpod-throwing showdown.

“Wow, that was far, I am strong. Look here Annie.”

“No. You look me, Doah,” Anna interrupted, as she hurled a seedpod just passed her feet.

While they admired each other’s skills, I admired Midmar. There was so much to do here that our toys hadn’t even made it out of the boot. We would have to cycle next time and then the time after, play ball.

Finally, as the sun dipped behind the dam, we dipped out onto the road. One by one the eyes on the backseat closed.

Aahh, at last, I can turn my attention to the horizon.



MIDMAR Dam is situated just off the N3 and can be approached via the Howick North-Tweedie off ramp or the Howick off ramp. It’s a bit over an hour’s drive from Durban. The entrance fee at Midmar Dam is R20 per adult and R10 per child, although rates are reduced if you arrive after noon. Midmar provides picnic, camping and caravanning facilities and self-catering chalets. Prices vary according to the seasons and so it is best to contact reservations directly. E-mail: info@kznwildlife.com or phone 033 845 1000. If you don’t get excited about mud, Midmar Dam is also a good place to canoe, fish, cycle, walk, waterski and sail. It can also double as an excellent base from which to explore the rest of the Kwazulu-Natal midlands.

• For more information visit www.kznwildlife.com or phone 033 845 1002.

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