The FabMags family was hosted for an epic team building experience by the team from Adventure Valley, one that challenged our strength, minds and took us to new heights.
Do you ever feel so much excitement that you struggle to sleep? The last time I felt that way was Sports Day in high school. That’s the day you get to represent your team; I was a proud Shark. On Wednesday, 24 August, I was brimming with emotion, being new to the FabMags team, I was excited to get to know my colleagues outside the office. The FabMags family drove a short 12km from Ballito to Hopewell Farm, a scenic hidden spot at the end of Esenembe Road in the stunning sugarcane valleys. We went down a little dirt road pathway before arriving at the reception, where Johann and Chantel were waiting to meet us. We entered a building with a cute shop that opened into a massive, pristine pool area, where our Adventure Valley hosts seated us. We then filled out indemnity forms as Johann explained that the experience is split into two parts. The first part is known as the Amazing Race, a challenging feature of their package.
The Amazing Race
Johann directed us to our meeting point. Muffins, chips and salted corn were readily available while we refreshed ourselves with juice, coffee and tea. Johann counted 12 heads and decided that our team will be split into two teams of six. After a good 25 minutes of an energy-filled breakfast, we appointed Sharlene and Lucille as the team leaders and Johann made them choose between Blue and Red wristbands; Sharlene got Red and Lucille took Blue. To make it fair, Johann made everyone else choose a coloured wristband from a bag – I got Team Red! The teams sat at their respective tables and Johann began explaining the rules.
We were given items and had to designate specific jobs to certain team members. The most trustworthy member had to carry the backpack of supplies, and that duty was given to me – of course! The member who could read and give instructions well carried a small travel pack with numbered instruction cards and country flag cards; that duty was given to our journalist Cristina. The member who had the best map bearings and could identify routes and lead the team was given a laminated map of the course; Amy carried out this duty. The map consisted of various location points, all locations were numbered and some were numbered with a country flag next to it.
To level the playing field, our team leaders randomly chose a starting point. You could play in any order of the locations, as long as you completed the tasks before the other team did! Each team was assigned a guide to help us on the journey and ensure that nobody cheated. Thank you Ben, for carrying our emotional baggage! The adrenaline was pumping. The location points attributed with a country flag had a general knowledge question about that country. I can’t tell you what it is because that would ruin the genuine experience. Team Red performed each task with caution and we had to give our answers to Ben. If we answered wrong, we had four options: detour, nominate a member, timelapse or take a chance – all tailored to waste your time! Team Blue rushed ahead.
There was a healthy combination of physical and mental challenges, including archery, exploring a maze blindfolded and building a perfect cube from giant puzzle pieces. I was in my element. We finished at the meeting point, only to see Team Blue’s flag raised high. Really guys? How did they get that complex math question in under 10 minutes? Anyway, I learned more about my teammates and something about our world. We graciously received silver medals and congratulated Team Blue for gold. After the strenuous exercise, Johann treated us to a delicious lunch that included braaied chicken, lamb chops, sausages, garlic rolls, vegetable lasagna, roasted veggies and salad – a festive feast to replenish our energy. Once everyone had their fill, Johann explained part two of the adventure.
The Zipline Tour
Have you ever been on a Zipline Tour? You glide from one point to another, suspended in mid-air on an inclined cable equipped with a pulley and a harness. The second part of the experience didn’t require teams and consisted of five ziplines. A family from Johannesburg also joined the FabMags team on tour and shared the experience with us. I finally met another girl with the name Toni; what a coincidence! She was just as ready as I was, so I felt the adrenaline kick in once more.
Before embarking, the Adventure Valley team guided us into a room to fit on latex gloves for hygiene, with safety gloves over, and we lined up to fit on our harnesses. Adventure Valley prides themselves on safety, so we watched a five-minute video that explained the know-hows of ziplining. We were each given a refrigerated water bottle to fit into a compartment on the harness, to ensure that everyone is hydrated on the tour. We then began to walk to the first cable with our guides.
There’s no need to be afraid of heights, we had a few from our team who struggled with this, as the guides ensured us that they were there to support and secure us. We ziplined from one end to the other, at great speeds, soaring across distances at incredible heights. All the running and thinking faded away. I’ve never experienced this free-flowing energy before, like a bird gliding across the sky and admiring the view. We joked and laughed with each other, cheering each other on before we took off and screaming with freedom at the top of our lungs while suspended in the air. The world looked so remarkable from this bird’s eye view. I couldn’t keep my eyes closed. We then hiked up a flight of stairs, to complete the final zipline, leaving the best for last. The climb took us at least 15 minutes, with various stopping points to catch your breath and we were then given a bag of gear. After a leisurely walk through scenic nature to the top of a cliff, we arrived at the world’s first “Parazip”. I was truly breathless. The 400m cable from the top of the mountain enjoyed the most incredible view, introducing us to a new experience of parachuting down the mountain while safely attached to a zipline.
I soared as if I had wings, and safely landed at the bottom – EXHILARATING! We each received a certificate of completion and a choice of ice cream! I will never forget this, I’m definitely going to get my friends and family to join me next time. Thank you, Adventure Valley, for making my outdoor experience memorable, you will definitely be seeing me again.
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Words by Toni Savannah Reddy