Senior Scout Adventure: Timeline
A Timeline of the National Senior Scout Adventure
More commonly known as the Cederberg Adventure, the National Senior Scout Adventure is South Africa's premier event on the Scouting calendar.
The Adventure was first held in 1970 and has since then been run virtually every two years. Hosted and organised by Scouting in the Western Cape it was initially held in the Cederberg, then once in the Winterhoek near Porterville and followed by three in the Witzenberg near Ceres.
From 1986 onwards all the Adventures have all been held in the Cederberg Wilderness Area. Originally spelt Cedarberg in English and Sederberg in Afrikaans, Cederberg is the merging of the two names chosen when it became a Wilderness Area.
A brief history of the event reveals that the founder and name synonymous with the Adventure is that of Colin Inglis. It was a concept he had seen in Scouting the USA and Colin ran the first eleven Adventures up until 1994.
The 1969 precursor to the Senior Scout Adventure
12/12/1969 – 16/12/1969
The precursor to the National Senior Scout Adventure was the Cape Western Division's Experimental Hike for older Scouts. The Convenor was Richard Goldschmidt, the Base Camp was at Sanddrif and it cost R6.
A rudimentary, no sound 16mm film of this hike has been digitised and is archived at the Cederberg store in Cape Town.
The 1970's - The Adventure during its first decade
1st Senior Scout Adventure 1970
29/12/1970 – 9/1/1971
This adventure was only open to Scouts from the Western Cape and was so successful that Scouts from other parts of South Africa heard of the event and asked that one be run as a National event.
The team decided to rename the adventure "The National Senior Scout Adventure" and open it to all Scouts over 15 years and 6 months who held 1st Class. It was decided if the national event were a success then future events would be opened to Scouts from other countries.
Convened by Colin Inglis and there were nine itineraries to choose from with the base camp at Driehoek and it cost R25.
2nd Senior Scout Adventure 1974
28/12/1973 – 8/1/1974
The camp chief was Scoutmaster Mr Esmond (Fatty) Rutter and the activities included Sailing, Survival Training, Archery, a Commando Course, Bridge Building, Rock Climbing and Shooting.
The Scouts ages ranged from 14 to 18 and for some of the younger ones there was much veldcraft to be learned.
A 16mm film of this Adventure, edited by Colin has been digitised and is archived at the Cederberg store in Cape Town.
Now a National event, Colin Inglis would go on to convene the Adventures until 1994.
3rd Senior Scout Adventure 1976
Great Winterhoek, Porterville
28/12/1976 – 8/1/1977
The Cederberg had now become a "Wilderness Area" and Scouting was no longer able to have "activity centres" at the same site for more than 24 hours due to the new Forestry rules so they moved to the Great Winterhoek near Porterville for the 1976 Adventure.
During this Adventure, a violent storm turned the rivers into raging torrents of water, which became un-crossable. The adventure came to a standstill for a few days till the water subsided and movement was again possible. In spite of this the Scouts met the challenge and enjoyed the adventure of being marooned and living off emergency rations.
4th Senior Scout Adventure 1978
Great Witzenberg, Ceres
28/12/1978 – 8/1/1979
The promotional literature read: -
Camping and hiking in the shadow of the jagged ridges of the Great Witzenberg with its huge slabs, deep ravines, high vlakte, and river valleys - plunging kloofs with waterfalls hurling themselves into huge pools - eroded sandstone carved by the elements into thousands of grotesque shapes.
Adventure hiking in the back country - exploring the kloofs, camping in the wilderness of the mountains, climbing peaks, tackling the 'Voyageur Expedition' a 2½ day Kloofing trip down the Visgat Gorge and Olifants River on lilos (air-mattresses) - sailing, canoeing, water-skiing, clay pigeon shooting, pioneering - add up to a recipe for fun and real he-man adventuring.
These were ingredients for the 1979 National Senior Scout Adventure in the Great Witzenberg.
The 1980's - The Adventure returns in 1986 to the Cederberg
5th Senior Scout Adventure 1981
27/12/1981 – 7/1/1982
All 420 Scouts who took part will have their favourite memories of the adventure in the Groot Witzenberg near Ceres.
The activity centres were staffed by over 100 volunteers, experts in their fields. The Adventure enabled the Scouts to put into practice the skills which they learn back home (eg. hiking, camping, pioneering and map reading), on a big scale, in beautiful territory, and with the comradeship of the Patrol and the opportunity to meet fellow Scouts from other areas.
6th Senior Scout Adventure 1983
27/12/1983 – 7/1/1984
By now the Adventure had grown in popularity and the 1983 Adventure was the biggest to date with 599 boys and one Australian girl.
Two new bases were introduced: -
- "The Witzenberg Tie and Lumber Company", where Chris Werth taught Scouts tree felling and logging and how to use leg irons to climb tall pine trees.
- "Gold Rush" The gold prospecting base led by Howard Geach. Here Scouts learned to pack donkeys (named after former Chief Scouts!) and to pan for gold in the river.
The Adventure was well featured in "The Cape Times", "The Argus ", "Die Burger" and "Herald" and on both TV 1 and TV 2.
Costing R125, this was the last of the Adventures to be held in the Witzenberg.
7th Senior Scout Adventure 1986
The Cederberg now became the permanent venue
11/12/1986 – 22/12/1986
By 1985 the Adventure had permission from the private landowners in the Cederberg to put "activity centres" on their land and permission from the Dept. of Forestry to hike and trail camp on their land. So, in December 1986 the Adventure moved back to the Cederberg.
Having the Clanwilliam Dam at their disposal was a big plus and Bass Fishing, Canoeing and Water Activities were all very popular. The Headquarters was once again at Driehoek in the heart of the Cederberg. This adventure cost R200.
8th Senior Scout Adventure 1988
11/12/1988 – 22/12/1988
The 1988 Adventure was again filled to capacity with 496 boys from all nine Scout Areas in South and South West Africa (Namibia) drawn from 144 Troops, including three Venturers from Western Australia and one from a Boy Scouts of America Troop in Eagle River, Alaska. These were served by some 130 staff members from both within and without the Movement.
A new activity included in this Adventure was the Ultimate Challenge Game which is based on the traditional Scout wide games such as flag raiding, storming the stockade, and ambush.
The 1990's - The Adventure moves to its new Headquarters
As the next generation of Adventurers had heard of the many exciting activities awaiting them it was essential to keep running the popular bases. However, the organisers were alert to new trends and Mountain Biking was introduced.
9th Senior Scout Adventure 1990
10/12/1990 – 21/12/1990
Comment from a Scout: - "For myself and fellow Patrol members, the Adventure was without doubt the highlight in our Scouting careers. It was superbly organised and run and lived up to all its great expectations".
Something different was Fox Hunting, but these 'foxes' were 4 electronic beacons hidden in a 1km square area. To find them, they had to use triangulation and pick up the different signals with a receiver.
This was the last time the 'Headquarters' was on the public campsite at Driehoek, participants paid R280 and there were 462 participants.
10th Senior Scout Adventure 1992
11/12/1992 – 22/12/1992
In December 1992, Scouts from all over South Africa and as far afield as Zimbabwe, Germany and the Isle of Man set out on ten days tough hiking around the Cedarberg Mountains, with over twenty bases to visit along the way.
Some offered fairly normal Scouting activities: Dutch Oven Cooking, Pioneering, Bush Lore or Handcrafts. Some were physical: Canoeing, Mountaineering, Treasure Diving, a Commando Assault course. Plenty were exotic: Camel Riding, Electronic Fox Hunting, Mountain Biking, or the "Ultimate Challenge". Both Mountain Biking at Heuningvlei and Camel and Horse Trails with real Camels at Kromrivier were new to the Adventure.
Ack: Jay Heale, Scouting About, February 1993
Permission to use Kalkoenfontein (later renamed Kliphuis) on the Nieuwoudt's Dwarsrivier farm as the Base Camp was given and each subsequent Adventure has used this site.
11th Senior Scout Adventure 1994
11/12/1994 – 22/12/1994
Sticking out one long hike over the hot Cederberg terrain would normally be more than enough to sort out the men from the boys; 12 days together as one patrol, carrying all their own food and equipment, and finding their way from one base to the next, was doing some rigorous examination.
Where everyone is sharing in the tough times as well as the thrills, divisions of upbringing and background, which society so readily brings to the fore in other situations their youngsters commonly face, become a lot less apparent.
Here were lads from all over the country, cities, farms, townships and rural areas, of different colours, languages and lives, equalised by a mountain, a long walk, or a shared adventure.
Ack:Sunday Argus, January 1995
Colin shared the organising of this Adventure with Richard Goldschmidt.
12th Senior Scout Adventure 1996
11/12/1996 – 22/12/1996
This was the first Adventure not convened by Colin who had now passed on the "baton" to Richard Goldschmidt.
Colin however carried on as "Trips Planner" for subsequent Adventures, carrying out the huge task of planning of the itineraries and transport for each team.
VAT had now been introduced it cost R570 +R80 VAT making a total cost of R650. There were 498 participants.
13th Senior Scout Adventure 1998
11/12/1998 – 22/12/1998
Although the highly successful tried and tested formula was followed, for planning purposes the starting point for this Adventure was moved to the Clanwilliam showgrounds.
With very hot weather the Water Activities at Clanwilliam dam, once again proved to be very popular.
This was especially the Para-sailing, flying high above the speedboat that was towing one.
Richard Goldschmidt was the Convenor.
The 2000's - The Adventure welcomes Girls
This decade saw new faces at the helm with Buzz Macey convening three and John Mutti convening two of the Adventures. They introduced some new ideas and Girl Scouts and Ranger Guides were now included in the Patrols.
14th Senior Scout Adventure 2000
8/12/2000 – 19/12/2000
The opening and closing ceremonies were again held at Kalkoenfontein / Kliphuis, however the Camp Headquarters was now situated at the Landsdiens. At this campsite they could make use of the enhanced facilities like electricity, water and ablutions with hot water, which helped with the smooth running of the Adventure.
Although Buzz Macey had been involved in many Adventures in a number of roles, especially communications, this was his first time as convenor.
15th Senior Scout Adventure 2002
10/12/2002 – 21/12/2002
The opening and closing ceremonies were again held at Kalkoenfontein and Camp Headquarters was situated at the nearby Landsdiens campsite.
The participants had a huge choice of activities as the were twenty-one bases providing a wide range of events.
This was Buzz's second term as convenor and there were 400 participants who were now paying R1200 for the ten days in the Cederberg.
16th Senior Scout Adventure 2004
10/12/2004 – 21/12/2004
Running up to this Adventure there was a re-think of the routes to be taken. Richard took over from Colin as Trips Planner and introduced circular itineraries which reduced the amount of internal transport needed. This made the planning of the routes considerably less complicated. The Adventures have adhered to this format ever since.
Also new after 34 years was the redesigning of the Adventure badge.
The Convenor for this Adventure was John Mutti and the cost was R1300.
Colin Inglis passed away in 2005 but his legacy of the National Senior Scout Adventure in the Cederberg will live on.
17th Senior Scout Adventure 2007
28/12/2006 – 8/1/2007
As the year 2007 was to celebrate the "Centenary of Scouting" it was decided that the Adventure would encompass the start of that year and thus making it one of the first events on the world Scouting calendar.
The Kalkoenfontein Camp Headquarters, in conjunction with the owners of the property was upgraded by installing electricity, water, ablution facilities and the campsite was renamed Kliphuis.
A Settler Culture base was introduced whereby the Scouts spent a night with individual families, and being fed a home-cooked meal by the ladies of the village. The Heuningvlei community took the Scouts eagerly into their homes, working very hard to make the visitors comfortable.
The Convenor for this Adventure was John Mutti and the cost was R1800.
18th Senior Scout Adventure 2008
9/12/2008 – 20/12/2008
The South Peaks 'extreme' route saw the reintroduction of a tough all hiking route. Temperatures were in the upper 30oC and hiking skills were put to the test.
One Girl Scout commented: Each evening once we had completed the base, be it Diving, Paintball, Dutch Oven, Marksmanship or one of the many others, we would sit down and talk about our experiences.
The most amazing part of the hike for me was the amazing groups of people I met. Never have I come across a bunch of people so enthusiastic, accepting and fun to be around.
The Convenor for this Adventure was Buzz Macey, it cost was R2200 and there were 470 participants.
The 2010's - The Adventure as popular as ever
19th Senior Scout Adventure 2010
11/12/2010 – 23/12/2010
Rain on this Adventure could not dampen the spirits with comments like:-
- it rocked
- and from the electronics base 'solder-rific'.
This was the last Adventure to be convened by Buzz Macey.
There were 395 participants and it cost R2400.
20th Senior Scout Adventure 2012
For many Adventures Nigel Forshaw has been the Trips Planner, but this year he took on the role of Convenor.
The Adventure was now costing R3000.
For the Scouts, Facebook was now the prime medium for publishing photos and up to date news from the many activity basses.
The bases rated as the top three were:-
- Water Activities
21st Senior Scout Adventure 2014
As the pressure and amount of work required to run such a huge event become more and more it was decided this year to split the roles and responsibilities of the various administrative tasks.
To this end there was a joint leadership between John Mütti, Nigel Forshaw & Richard Goldschmidt each carrying out manageable sections of the tasks to ensure the smooth running of the Adventure.
22nd Senior Scout Adventure 2016
Now more so than ever before text was becoming a thing of the past and as virtually every Scout had a smartphone and the recording of day to day events was all electronic and digital.
News and publishing was to Facebook, websites and the like and took place when and where there was a WiFi connection.
This year the role of Convenor or Adventure Chief as it was now called was in the capable hands of Andre van der Wald.
The cost of the Adventure was now R3600.
Unfortunately, due to unforeseen circumstances there wasn't an Adventure in 2018.
With all the risks relating to COVID-19, the committee had no option other than to cancel the 2020 Adventure. It was with extreme reluctance that they made this decision and it is indeed disappointing that again, for the second time in 50 years, we have not been able to hold an Adventure..
23rd Senior Scout Adventure 2022
How great to see the 52-year-old adventure that was first held in 1970 make its return. Organizers and the route planner had to deal with a 'curve ball' from Mother Nature when a fire in a large area that that they were going to use, was closed by the authorities and alternate plans had to hastily be made.