Rowing down the river on a Sunday afternoon. Or should the title be Cowtailing it down the River?


Not many people get to do that – rowing down the river on a Sunday afternoon. That is, of course, unless you live on a river and are not hastening back to the city, getting stressed by the weekend traffic … bad drivers … the thought of Monday!


Stanford is a little village with the ‘river running through it’. Not quite. There are farmlands on the bank opposite where cows graze, lettuces grow greenly and abundantly in the warm sun and enchanting farmland sounds vie with the haunting calls of the fish eagles and the gentle tolling of the church bells on the hour.


Rowing down the river on a Sunday afternoon is not always as peaceful as it sounds. We invited friends to join us for a Full Moon paddle earlier this year followed by a bring- and-braai. Just four intrepid paddlers refreshed their souls on the river, the others choosing to do so with the fruits of the vine instead.


We had not paddled far when we found a cow in trouble. The green reeds growing on the river bank are sought after by the bovines, who wander through the water chomping away as they go. Alas, after chewing the cud in the mud, they sometimes find themselves against a bank that is too high for them to clamber up. And this is just what happened to our cow, whom we found in a semi-comatose state of exhaustion,  virtually her nose just poking out of the water.


The intrepid paddlers sprang into action and this is where I will have to precis what happened thereafter. It was a loooong evening. We set off at speed in different directions in an attempt to find help. After all, who paddles a placid river with a cell phone? Fortunately we found the African Queen out on a cruise so the crewmen pulled the boat of weekenders alongside the cow and between two of us and a boatman we tried to haul her up onto the bank with a rope. Get her to a less precipitous bank, but not up it. Rope kept slipping. Pilot of the boat bites the cow’s tail. Did you know that if you want to get a stubborn cow to move you should bite her tail?

Cow rescue on Klein River, Stanford. Photo supplied by Viv of Stanford Nestle-In

Yours truly offering distressed cow maternal mutterings before its tail is bit! Photo supplied by African Queen crew


To no avail this biting of the tail. Pilot phones the farm manager known to Stanfordians and then continues on the cruise, leaving two of us with the cow. Eventually the farm manager pulls up with in his bakkie and  – to really cut the story short – between the three of us we finally managed to roll the cow up the bank with the aid of large bale sacks slipped over her hind quarters like a Babygro, slipped under her like a boogie board and the poor girl was hauled up in the sacks by the bakkie.


Three hours later we arrived home in the full moonlight, muddy and icy cold. After a hot shower and a restorative glass of red wine or two we regaled the rest of the party about our cow tailing and bovine rescue. Grateful to report that with the 2L coke bottle of sugar water that the cow received on the bank as well as the three huge injections of Vit B and an antibiotic and whatever else an exhausted cold cow requires, she recovered well and possibly now chooses greener pastures to those growing alongside the river!


So, should you wish to have a peaceful afternoon on the river or perhaps an unexpected adventure, you may be interested in looking at one of three riverside properties currently on the market in Stanford. All the owners are selling for very valid reasons: an elderly couple wishing to downscale, a couple whose career path has taken them back to Natal and a couple of ‘swallows’ who havedecided that their migrating days are over. My hubby has recently retired and joined Keller Williams Realty in Stanford and he can be contacted on 084 300 9595, or A selection of properties, small holdings and farms can be viewed on  (Type in ‘Stanford’ in the search area box!)

Views from the area:

Klein River in Stanford looking North. Photo: Viv of Stanford Nestle-In

Klein River in Stanford looking North. Photo: Viv of Stanford Nestle-In


Klein River, Stanford, looking west. Photo: Viv of Stanford Nestle-In

Klein River, Stanford, looking west. Photo: Viv of Stanford Nestle-In

Viv von der Heyden

Stanford Nestle-In Self-catering Accommodation for two

084 685 2641

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