We again have (an older) winner!

We are delighted to announce that we did receive some excellent contributions last week (after not having received any the week before). We have said before that the Soutpansberg has some amazing and very talented writers, and we have been proven correct.

Two weeks ago our winner was the 16-year-old Anke Roos. This week our winner is a 70-plusser, Mr Franz Jäckel. He tackled the character of Zachary, the archaeologist. His story is also based on true events (as related to him over many years). His contribution is also interesting, in that it was presented in a very basic style, merely sketching what had allegedly happened. Our team took the story and converted into a (more) dramatic episode. We don’t mind doing this at all.

he message is very clear, namely that readers who are scared to enter because they doubt their writing abilities need not worry. (Not that anything is wrong with Franz Jäckel’s writing ability.) If your story line is good and well presented, we can work with it. It does not need to be a linguistic masterpiece. We are more concerned about the story.

For those who do not yet know how the competition works:
Every week, R1 000 has been earmarked for the reader who submits the best story. The competition combines a travel story with unrelated individual adventures.

The weekly travel episodes are written by our own staff and these focus on the journey of a group of adventurers who are exploring the Old Salt Trail in the western Soutpansberg. They follow a five-day route, during which they encounter many of the treasures the mountain has to offer.

The group of adventurers comprises 11 very diverse fictional travellers. The narrator is a young lady called Marelize. In every week’s edition, she or one of the other hikers talks about the route and what the group members have encountered.

Two “scar stories” are featured for every day of the trip. The group members stop at a specific location for lunch and one of the members tells his or her story. The same happens at night, when the group members gather around the campfire and one person shares a story.

This is also the part where our readers need to contribute. The readers must use their imagination and write a story focusing on one of the characters. The theme of the competition is: “The night of the scars”. The idea is that each story will focus on a “scar” that the characters received somewhere in their lives. These can be physical scars, or they can be emotional scars.

Short profiles of the 11 characters are provided. In some cases, Marelize will expand on the characters when she discusses the route. Studying each character and building a story around their characteristics will be crucial.

The maximum length of an entry is 1 300 words. Once a character’s story is published, that “entry” is closed. If, for instance, you decided to write about Shabnim’s adventure and another writer’s story about Shabnim gets published, you need to move on to another character.

However, this also means that entries can have a longer shelf life. Readers are welcome to enter stories on all nine remaining characters. The entries will stay “live” until the judges have decided who the winner is regarding a specific character.

All the stories as well as the travel adventures are published on our website www.zoutpansberger.co.za/salt_trail. The three characters whose stories have been told, are Marelize, Gerard and Zachary. This means that you have to focus on the remaining eight characters.

Judging starts at 13:00 on a Friday. All entries received up to that point will be judged. If a story is entered about a specific character and that character does not feature in the next week’s edition, the entry will stand over and becomes part of the “pool” of stories to be judged the following week. Only when a winning story about a specific adventurer is chosen, will the entries expire.

Apart from these guidelines, the normal rules apply. The (secret) judges’ decisions are final and they will not meet anyone in a bar later to discuss the matter. No staff member of the Zoutpansberger or their family members may enter. 

Let's start the adventure

Meet the adventurers:


Our narrator

Marelize (27) is the narrator of the story. She is a seasoned traveller and has visited countries in Europe and the USA.
Click here to read her story

Rovha is a soft-spoken dentist with smiling eyes. He is a loner and can often be found in a quiet corner reading a book or newspaper.

Click here to read his (demo) story.

Gerard is a Dutch adventure tourist. At 66 he has retired from the university he has been teaching at. He now spends his time travelling.

Click here to read his story.

Zachary (39) is a geologist. His insatiable thirst for adventure has taken him on many dangerous trails and earned him the title of Bear Grylls.

Click here to read his story

Lisa (53) is the mother of two grown daughters and the wife of a wealthy CEO who travels a lot. Lisa has taken up hiking to fill her days.

Lisa is yet to tell her story, click here to meet her

Shabnim's small stature may be deceiving but at age 42, she is a tough adventurer and a well-respected lecturer at a local university.

Shabnim is yet to tell her story, click here to meet her

Emma is a 37-year-old award-winning journalist who is currently working for a local newspaper but aspires to be a war photographer.

Emma is yet to tell her story, click here to meet her

Lee (28) has never let her neurological disorder become a disablity. Although physically strong, she has a emotional scar she hides well.

Lee is yet to tell her story, click here to meet her

With a military background, Gerrit (55) was a captain in the old South African Army. He has seen the horrors of war and still runs from it.

Gerrit is yet to tell his story, click here to meet him

For the vibrant and energetic 25-year-old Takalani (Taki) nursing has always been her calling. She is loved by all her colleagues and patients.

Taki is yet to tell her story, click here to meet her

Adrian is a boisterous character who enjoys controlling the conversation. He usually leads the pack and shares his expertise freely.

Adrian is yet to tell his story, click here to meet him