‘Go to hell!’ No, not the words from a dumb motorist to a screaming road rage lunatic, but an email sent to three carefully targeted couples. What proved more of a shock was that it came from folk not known for blasphemous and rude utterings.
It was with relief as we read on that it was an invitation to spend a weekend in the Hell, a place of notoriety in the Gamkaskloof via the Swartberg.
So it came to pass that the couples set off in three SUVs packed to the hilt with food and drink.
Had they known what they were in for, it’s doubtful whether they would’ve attempted the trip. As expected the road to Hell was, well, hell! It was built to carry a donkey cart, the narrow kind, certainly not for modern day vehicles. So not only was there the ever-present danger of tumblingover the edge to valleys so deep you couldn’t see the bottom, but wheels and tyres could at any time be wrenched asunder. Jutting stone and rock had to be carefully negotiated by drivers Mole, Mieliestronk and Meerkat. While they concentrated on avoiding the pitfalls, Hapless Henry and the four lady passengers meditated with eyes shut and sweaty hands prayerfully clasped. And legs so tightly crossed for so long, the threat of deep-vein thrombosis an added fear.
After almost three hours and 48km later, the party arrived at their destination. Strange thing, as they alighted from the vehicles, they started acting childlike with funny gesegdes and a big dollop of giggling throughout the stay.
The childish frolicking didn’t end there. At the reception area was a children’s playpark meant for under-12s. It didn’t take them long to take to the swings, slides and jungle gym. Mole ended up with a numb posterior, Mieliestronk and Meerkat with stretched hamstrings and Hapless Henry with an inflamed kneecap.
The cackling ladies on the swings escaped injury. Or so they claimed. One was seen to hobble a bit after flying high.
The other surprise element was the lack of fire. In fact, it was so bitterly cold that words uttered around Mieliestronk’s braai became icicles and could be clearly read. Refreshment cans solidified.
Safely back home, the party agreed: If hell meant going through a second childhood without fire and brimstone, it can’t be all that bad. Or can it? Time will tell.