The arrangements for July Camp 2021at Injisuthi were going incredibly well. All the arrangements with Injisuthi were in place; Lesley McGwynne, in Australia, was handling the bookings which had soared to a new record; Graham Smith and Gerhard Venter had ferried the necessary firewood, all of which had been sawn to the appropriate lengths and was safely stored on site and waiting for us; Graham’s fiancée, Carolyn Higgs, had done wonders with the food lists which included several new dishes introduced to the menu; and the final massive shopping lists were ready to be placed with Merrivale Supermarket first thing on Monday, the following day…

Yes, it was Sunday night, and that meant that in just a week’s time we would be in the Berg at Injisuthi and July Camp 2021 would be well underway. The really eager parties doing five-night trips would have set out already.

But Sunday also meant something else. Yes, you have remembered it well. The State President used to address his ‘Fellow South Africans’ on Sunday night at 8pm and this particular Sunday night was no exception. After a rather long introduction and numerous statistics later, the President got to what many listeners felt was the core of the speech. ‘How am I going to be affected?

He announced the new regulations. ‘With immediate effect, outdoor gatherings are limited to 50 people!!’ We had accepted applications from 103 Campers, a new record for the 101st July Camp!!

There was no alternative except to cancel July Camp 2021 which was due to start on the coming Friday, at extremely short notice.

A frantic few days followed. Cancellation letters and forms had to be drafted and then Lesley sent them to all Campers. Difficult phone calls were made to the Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife staff at Injisuthi who had to be informed and consoled since that number of winter campers would have made a huge record difference to their winter income. We had to tell the helpful staff at Merrivale Spar who were waiting for the final food order had to be told. Our extremely generous sponsor who provides the transport had to be informed. He sounded even more upset than I felt. Our gallant, long-time crew of Vusi, Xolani, Jabulani, Moses and Alpheus of the Rookdale Ndlovu clan, who have been the kitchen staff since time immemorial, had to be told. They were devastated. This meant the loss of their main source of income for the year.

Campers had to cancel their travelling arrangements, pet kennelling, and leave arrangements.
To Lesley McGwynne and to Mervyn Gavin (our dependable and ever supportive Treasurer) fell the bulk of the cancellation operation. Lesley sent out the letters and the cancellation forms to all the Campers, and Mervyn did all the sums and repaid the Camp fees.

Covid claimed the second July Camp in a row.