Week 12 on the road!
19th Mar 2012
Zeerust to Mogwase via Groot Marico
From Mweba Cabins we drove to Groot Marico to meet Arno and Biata of the MRDP. We spoke about the effects of land reclaims in the area as well as what social and environmental changes had come into place over the last 20 years. We then had a relatively long drive to the Pilanesberg area via Sun City and after getting slightly lost on the back roads we made it by about 17h30. As we got closer to Sun City we immediately felt like we were in a different part of South Africa with massive power lines, wider roads and more of a ‘there’s a big city close by’ kind of feel. Our accommodation for the next two nights was at Selous Bush Camp next to the town of Mogwase. We met Amos and Perry who showed us around and told us to watch out for snakes – a topic that didn’t please Mads. Before long it was dark and we were sitting around the fire eating a beef potjiekos meal.
20th Mar 2012
Our second day in Mogwase gave us a chance to explore the town and the area a bit more. Our first port of call was a social development office which we were told had closed and the current inhabitants of the office could not really direct us to any other projects. The town itself was filled with street stalls and buzz of activity. Back to Selous and time to be shown around their reserve which included Rhino, Zebra, Giraffe, Wildebeest, Tsepe Antelope etc. Amos told us loads of interesting facts about the animals and their relationships with each other. Finally, we discussed the implication and solutions of Rhino poaching – a hot topic in South Africa at the moment. After a nice long tour around Selous, we headed back for a braai at the camp.
21st Mar 2012
Mogwase to Pilanesberg
Time to visit the famous Pilanesberg National Park – home to the Big 5! Our three-hour drive around the reserve proved fruitful as we came up close to Giraffe, Zebra, Rhino, Hippo, and a wide variety of buck and antelope. One of the African Anthology lodges – Ivory Tree – was kind enough to host us for a night. Ivory Tree is one of several in the chain that provides all-inclusive lodges – accommodation, food, and game drives. This five-star lodge is located right on the edge of the Pilanesberg National Park with concessions to access the park bright and early for guest game drives. Just worth a mention that our room had a nice feature of an outside shower overlooking the rolling hills of the Pilanesberg.
22nd Mar 2012
Pilanesberg to Northam
When in Rome….we got up at 5 am to head off on one of the lodge’s dawn game drive with two animals in mind – Elephant and Lion. Mentioning the fact that you want to see a lion to your game ranger or tour guide must be getting so monotonous and predictable in South Africa by now as there are so many awesome animals to see yet all tourists have to see this animal. National Geographic, Discovery Channel, and The Lion King probably all contributed to this fascination with lions. That being said we did manage to spot a mating pair and their cubs lying on the tar road clearly warming up after a night of heavy rain.
After our four-hour morning game drive it was time to move on once again, further north as we crossed over the North West border into Limpopo. Our first Limpopo town was Northam and on first impression not that great. It seems that either planning or municipal action are two things that are lacking in towns like Northam. As we entered the town on the left, right on the main road was a dump site and as you drove through the town itself you were confronted with overflowing bins, rubbish building up and mess everywhere. Municipal strike?…more than likely, however, it was clear that the rubbish was the result of at least a one-month build-up. So why is it that private refuse removal cannot be sourced or a backup plan be made? The health of the town after all is at stake.
We checked into the Claypot Guest House and B&B for the night and we must say that their rooms far exceeded our expectations. Henk from ShowMe Waterberg drove down from Bela Bela to meet us and commit his help while we were to be in the Waterberg region of the Limpopo province. He, on behalf of ShowMe, had arranged our Northam accommodation and will be assisting us with accommodation in several more towns. He also made an R500 contribution towards our travel expenses – a gesture that is so massively appreciated!
Our sponsored meal for the night was at Grob Lodge and the recommended steak and chips were recommended and happily consumed! Delicious, thank you!
23rd Mar 2012
Northam to Koekekop
We drove the short distance from Northam town to Koekekop and down the long gravel road to Thulani Eco Lodge. Set in the middle of nowhere, this place is a real find and the epitome of luxury. Each tent has outstanding views over the bush and the team there are there to make your stay a really enjoyable one. We cooked dinner and enjoyed it in front of the beautiful bush views.
24th Mar 2012
We woke up very early with the sun pouring in through the window and felt incredibly lucky to be waking up to such a site. There isn’t a sound to be heard at Thulani, bar the tweeting of birds and rustling of little creatures. We had a good talk with owner Rodney about what makes this place ‘eco’. Many places we have stayed in have the potential to be easily eco yet are not perusing it. Maybe after understanding how you only have to make simple changes to your lifestyle, they will be more eager to jump on board. Let’s hope so anyway.
25th Mar 2012
Koekekop to Thabazimbi
The pleasant drive from Thulani Eco Lodge to Thabazimbi only took about an hour, taking us through some scenic roads with mountain backdrops. Thabazimbi (a mountain of iron) is not what you would expect from a mining town, and there are several mines in the area operated by several companies. The town is neat and green, however, they also seem to be suffering a similar problem to Northam with regard to their rubbish removal. This is more than likely the case because they are run under the same municipality. We checked into Deo Valente for the night thanks to ShowMe Waterberg.
…of the week:
- Towns visited this week –Groot Marico, Pilanesberg, Mogwase, Northam, Koekekop
- Accommodation sponsored this week –Selous Bush Camp, Ivory Tree Game Lodge, Claypot Guest House, Thulani Eco Lodge
- Food sponsored this week – Selous Bush Camp, Grob Lodge
- Highlight of the week – Pilanesbeg National Park and financial assistance from ShowMe Waterberg
- Lowlight of the week –
- Accommodation of the week – Thulani Bush Camp
- Meal of the week – Selous Bush Camp
See you in a week…