A River Runs Through It

Way back in 1991, during his student years, Hennie Prinsloo aka “HP” experienced his first river rafting adventure on the well-known Orange River.  During this trip he earned the title of “handlanger”.  In short handlanger, in this context means glorified dishwasher, boat carrier, cleaner, sweeper and packer.  Although HP completed his studies, the magic of the Orange River made such an impact on him that he decided to trade the classroom for the Richtersveld and pursue this handlanger adventure for good.

In 1994 HP became a full time river guide and traded his handlanger status for that of main guide.  HP ceased this opportunity with his kayak and paddle and had the privilege of guiding safaris and paddling rivers like the Doring, Palmiet, Zambezi, Kunene, Injasuti, Tugela, Nile, Umkumaas, Blyde, Usutu and basically any river that would take a kayak.

All the miles paddled on these magnificent African rivers and all the miles travelled through remarkable landscapes showed HP that Africa has a lot to offer and even more left to explore.  And so, one evening around a campfire in 1996, HP and a friend decided to venture into the business of overlanding.  Although they had no previous experience or knowledge about the operation and running of overland safaris, they were willing to take a chance.  Filled with excitement about this new venture one thing lead to another and Umkulu Adventures was born in the summer of ’96.  The overland trips provided HP and his Umkulu Adventures team with an unbelievable learning curve filled with adventure and challenges alike but always balanced by loads of fun as reward. Faced with stiff competition from all over the world, the team still managed to successfully establish a leading brand for overland safaris in Africa.  Somehow Umkulu and the African fairies guided this team to achieve the impossible.  The team worked non-stop to ensure that clients experience Africa at her best and four years later, in the winter of 2000 Umkulu River Adventures was established on the Orange River.

In 2005 HP decided that being office bound was not his idea of having fun.  The companies were flourishing, but HP yearned for adventure on a new horizon.  Although HP left the industry to experience and explore new horizons, his intention was always to return to his greatest passion – the magic of the Orange River.

HP spent his time abroad paddling the great rivers of Mexico, France, Germany, Switzerland, Nepal, Indonesia, Scotland, Austria and England with London as the last stop on his journey.  Here, HP was faced with the big question: Where to travel next? Spain or Africa? Since Spain was in such a close vicinity to Africa, HP’s choice was pretty easy.  Home James…

This time round, in 2009 HP returned to a sand dune on the Orange River. A dune HP calls home and the birthplace of the Growcery.

Our next challenge will be to build some rooms and add some recycled comfort for those seeking a relaxed overnight.