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Press Release

22 March 2001

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Hayward's Heads for the West Coast of South Africa - The saga continues!


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We left the Cradle well and truly late and totally exhausted. Each one of us smeared in grime and covered from head to toe in layers of dust inherited after three days of loading tons of equipment onto the fleet of 8 tonners.

This, of course, was welcome dust as the first three days in the Cradle saw over 75mm of rain come washing down through the camp, turning our sedate set-up into a mud bath. Fortunately the equipment is designed to withstand the tough African environment and handled the storm well and we were able to check out the rain factor before our clients arrived and redesign certain aspects to handle any more surprises. This episode was to repeat itself on arrival in the Cape - albeit a different adversity.

Above all it would take a top team of professionals from all walks of life, able to go beyond the hotel industry norm.I always am thrilled at the drive from Johannesburg down through the Free State and into the Karoo. It is a landscape that has so much aesthetic beauty and somehow with its endless nothingness offers so much to those that just stop for a minute and look. It is a long journey though - especially in a 8 ton truck at 90 kms/h the whole way. About 24 hours long to be exact.

We broke the journey to overnight in Colesberg - about half way. Nothing romantic about staying over in a truckers wayside inn, but the fleet was safe as were the crew. The next morning we set off and this part of the journey would take us through the Karoo with all its vastness and untouchable splendour. The rain came thick and fast as black clouds sped over the semi-desert a mere few feet off the ground, Dry river beds were gushing chocolate as the Karoo danced with joy like a bushman at a soda fountain. My first taste of rain in the desert, I thought to myself.

The call came in at about 10am. It was Mike Smith the GM who was ahead of us by three days with the building crew. "Pete, the wind is unbelievable and blowing well over 75 kms/hr! The tents are straining and we are bound to destroy our kit - plus its so cold the crew cannot move!' - another #$%# great day in Africa….

"What's the forecast!" I shouted down the cell phone, hardly able to hear Mike in the wind. "Its set this way for the next three days and no telling after that." "OK Mike, lets move it to where the wind will never bother us again - the adjacent lands ringed with tall pines you mentioned." "Done," he shouted back, as we rumbled on through the Swartland on towards the sleepy town of Darling (where famed actor Peter Dirk Uys now resides in the converted Railway Station, which he has painted bright pink in case you miss the place).

The site was extremely windy as we stepped from the trucks - and cold. The adjacent field (plan B) was perfect though and would suffice as a good option.

With 5 days left to build and make ready it was time to get this camp up and on the go - the count down had begun…

Peter J W Hayward



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