BOKMAKIERIE HIKING CLUB
   
 
HISTORY OF THE BOKMAKIERIE HIKING CLUB

The Bokmakierie Hiking Club was originally formed when a group of friends, who had been hiking together for a short period, decided it would be fun to start a hiking club. The official formation of the Club took place on Saturday 10th September 1988, after doing the 10km 'Bokmakierie' hike at Suikerbosrand near Heidelberg. After completing this particular hike the decision to name the Club Bokmakierie, was unanimous! The original group all invited other friends whom they thought might be interested and the first meeting was held in the Picnic site at Suikerbosrand, where approximately 30-35 adults/teenagers/small children officially became members.

The first weekend hike took place on the weekend of the 14th October 1988, at the Elandskrans Hike near Waterval Boven. Many of the new members did not have proper boots yet and hiked in takkies and trainers, with borrowed back packs and sleeping bags - but there was great enthusiasm and much fun and laughter along the way as everyone helped each other to become acquainted with the pros and cons of hiking, sleeping together in a large dormitory with bunks on 3 levels, the snoring and the lack of sleep!

Over the next year many hikes were booked - weekend hikes, day hikes and longer hikes and by the first AGM in September 1989, the membership had grown considerably, and this growth continued annually with membership reaching about 120 within the first 5 years. A few dropped by the way, but the original core remained with others joining on a regular basis. For 10 years or so, the AGM's were always held at a venue that could accommodate 80+ members with large enough kitchens, ablution facilities and also a hall large enough for our annual dinner and concert. The weekend revolved around a particular theme and was filled with short hikes, games afternoons, the meeting and a supper and show. There were some wonderful shows, skits and theme evenings - The Sound of Music, Olympics, Barn Dances, 60's evenings, medieval dinners and many more, with the many teenagers in the club keeping everyone going well into the evenings.

Participating in a hike meant booking and paying well in advance as places were at a premium - but over the years there have been many weekend hikes in various parts of Gauteng, Limpopo, Mpumalanga and the Free State. Day hikes on a regular basis within a fairly wide radius around the Johannesburg area and lots of beautiful longer hikes all over the country - from Magoebaskloof to full backpacking on the Wildcoast between Port St Johns to Coffee Bay (where two hikes were run simultaneously, with accommodation in very basic mud huts and bathing in dirty rivers!!). The Otter Trail, Fish River Canyon, Outeniqua, Kosi Bay, Brandwater, the Whale Trail, Wildcoast Meander, 5-day Drakensberg Traverse and many more. These hikes still continue on a regular basis.

Sadly as the original core group of children and teenagers grew up and finished school, they went off to do their tertiary education and to move on with their own lives which left no time for hiking. Several families have moved away from the Johannesburg area to the Cape and some overseas. However, as the Club has lost some members, it has gained others - with a handful of the original members still a part of the club. The club is smaller now, but still has a very active and enthusiastic bunch of members.

Bokmakierie Hiking Club continues to hold a very special place in many people's hearts, as it has always been known for the incredible camaraderie, enthusiasm and loyalty among its members - and the many truly great friendships that have been formed along the way.

 
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