by Duncan Totman

We Came, We Walked, We Rocked the Daisies

Objective: Minimise carbon footprint

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Destination: Rocking the Daisies

Mode of transport: On foot

Distance: 50kms

Objective: Minimise carbon footprint

This is the story of a journey on foot from Bloubergstrand, Cape Town to Cloof Wine estate in Darling, for the music festival Rocking the Daisies.

Walking the Daisies is an annual event that started in 2008, when botanist Greg Nicolson was joined by his friend and founder of Culturetalent, Nathan Daniel Heller, on a trek of 50km to Rocking the Daisies. Since then Walking the Daisies has grown into a widely acclaimed event that supports the festival's sentiments towards promoting positive environmental action, awareness and protection. With the support of Pick n Pay and Rocking the Daisies, Culturetalent developed the initiative into a group experience and Walking the Daisies grew to 20 walkers in 2009, another 50 in 2010, and 100 in 2011 and 2012. This time around in 2013 the walk hosted up to 200 lucky applicants!

At 7h45 am on October 3, Eden on the Bay shopping centre was abuzz with activity. Fran (my colleague and comrade) and I set out to join some 200 people on The Walking the Daisies journey.

We arrived for registration to find a normally open patch of grass in front of Eden on the Bay, jam packed with people all getting themselves ready for the walk.

Gazebos were set up for registration, a light breakfast snack with refreshments and an overland vehicle was ready to transfer our baggage to the campsite that night. We signed in and were split into groups. The guides introduced us to our fellow team mates and explained our tasks for the walk. We set off on the beach, each armed with a plastic packet from Recycle 1st for the Open Minded Beach Clean-up to pick up rubbish along the 16km stretch of West Coast beach.

After some time we reached Koeberg power station where we were transported around by bus to continue to the other side where we would continue along the fire break. From the fire break we continued on towards the beach and all the way to Silwerstroom Campsite where we spent the night.

When we initially signed up for Walking the Daisies, we both agreed that 25kms a day was not a hard task to accomplish. But after the first day on the beach with the sun belting down on you, we retracted our previous misconception.

The next morning, we were up bright and early to start the day. Legs a bit shaky, but with high hopes that we would be walking on a “flat level surface”… Were we clearly mistaken! We set out inland from Silwerstroom, crossing the R27 to head towards Mamre where we would break for lunch and plant 100 trees with Working for Water and Greenpop. At this point, many were worn out, had blisters the size of R5 coins and were severely sun burnt. But this did not hamper our spirits, we all knew that the journey was almost at an end with just a few more kilometers to go.

We reached Mamre and planted our trees, had a bite for lunch and a bit of a breather. We left Mamre at about 1pm through the Mamre Communal Property Association lands, and along the dirt tracks. We finally got to the base of a hill that may as well have been Mount Everest. With a considerable amount of moaning we pushed on as we knew that on the other side of this “hill” was Rocking the Daisies.

Finally we made it to the top after many stops and more moaning. As we reached our summit we were greeted by an exhilarating view of the festival.

We continued down the steep path and along the dirt road towards the entrance, we were tagged and accounted for and let loose! To our amazement, everyone, no matter the pain, blisters, and sheer tiredness marched on the main stage to cheers and praise from spectators.

 All in all, we thoroughly enjoyed the walk. If we’re lucky enough to partake in the walk next year I’m sure we’ll prepare better physically and mentally.

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