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“COVID killed the hospitality industry” was not the name of a song but a severe reality check and reminder of how cruel life can be. Very few understood the implications and even fewer the financial remorse brought about by the pandemic that hit the world. The revenue stopped overnight but the costs kept coming… for most it was bankruptcy.


Having been in the business 30 years, we did not want to see it all disappear. We at Hadeda Creek had a chat and agreed we had to tough it out and with the financial help of our sister company Hiside Events, and a little help from TERS, we managed to survive.


The day we re-opened was like Christmas on steroids, everyone was happy to get back into action, smell the fresh air, get active and enjoy the beauty of the Vredefort Dome Heritage site. The guides and facilitators had learned new skills, the staff were super enthusiastic, and the clients just wanted to have fun.


Alas, this was not to be for long as along came the second blow. In February 2023 record floods rampaged the country, especially the Vaal Basin. We tried to hold back the river and save what we had, but overnight 3000 meters of water per second came through the camp and took everything with it. The sun rose the next morning to reveal tents in trees; our kitchen sink hanging onto the pool pump; beds, TVs, couches, geysers all churned together in an appliance soup; even our conference center was up routed and flushed away as if a flimsy piece of paper.  It was all gone, all that was left behind were the frustrations, tired bodies, and the tears, lots and lots of tears.

When the water receded, it was not a pretty site and no magic wands were at our fingertips. Again, a meeting of the Hiside Group gave us a glimmer of financial hope and along with our prudent insurance policy we began the 2023 rebuild. From depression to hope, the journey began.


We called our staff, they were all committed. We contacted all our clients and advised them of our rebuild, they were committed. We called our suppliers, they were committed, and with that we began the hard work.


6 months later, today, I look at the camp, modernized facilities, glamping at its finest, new appliances, new zip line, new smiles… we are back and on the 20th August 2023 we proudly welcomed our first group back to Hadeda Creek. I have never been prouder and looking forward to the next journey with Hadeda Creek.


John Ingram

Director and Founder of the Hadeda Creek River Rafting Camp

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