Blogs from Free State, South Africa, Africa

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Africa » South Africa » Free State » Clarens December 9th 2020

After another early morning safari we were ready for a change of topic. The Drakenberg mountains were awaiting us with the town of Clarens as our destination for the day. The 200km drive will take us through the Golden Gate National Park. Before we had to drive over the Van Reenen Pass. Named after the little town of Van Reenen, standing guard at the top of this majestic pass, which winds its way through the Drakensberg mountains between Ladysmith and Harrismith along the N3, the main connection between Durban and Johannesburg. Unfortunately, the only record that the pass can lay claim on is, that it is the most dangerous pass in South Africa with the heaviest truck traffic density on any national road. (see the borrowed picture taken during the winter months). However it provides also ... read more
impressive vastness
of fertile ground

Africa » South Africa » Free State » Clarens January 3rd 2019

Settling down and getting used to the travelling lifestyle again was an easy affair in Clarens. We loved our little Gnome Cottage. It was basically a 1-bedroom appartment with a huge garden. There was a corner for the kitchen and a cosy seating area insid next to the bed. The garden was all around with lovely flowers (mainly roses) and an old peach tree with table and chairs underneath. So our daily routine was, getting up early, enjoying the birds chirping while doing our morning meditation underneath the peach tree, having a superhealthy breakfast with fresh fruits lake papaya, mango and melon in the garden enjoying the tranquility and simply being happy. Then it was off to town for a wonderful cup of capuccino or by car to some scenic activities around. We are fans of ... read more
entrance to the Golden Gate National Parc
musicians inside the Basotho Cultural Centre
sipping a selfmade Basotho drink with other centre-visitors

Africa » South Africa » Free State » Clarens January 1st 2019

When we got on the plane in London the 31 of december we were really surprised how packed it was. Never before did we fly into the new year and we always had the idea that flights are empty at that date. How wrong we were. The A380 which brought us to Johannesburg was full, full, full. Not being big fans of huge airplanes and far too many people on a little space we had no other chance than keep going with the situation. The flight was pleasant enough, but we could really not sleep with non stop noise and little space throughout the night. We were really happy when we finally landed in Johannesburg. And here the next surprise: it was pouring down like crazy! Never ever have we experienced such a rainfall in South ... read more
Markus on the road driving
Bundu - the rhino
landscape around Bethlehem

Africa » South Africa » Free State January 29th 2018

On of the things on my SA bucket list was and is something called the Bavianskloof, Baboon valley, one of the SA epitomes and must do and what not. So of course I wanted to do it, after a hearty breakfast at my humble abode I threw my long right leg over the saddle and set forth towards this most famous of places. Did I call ahead and check if it was still there? Nope, who steal a whole nature reserve, well no one stole it but it was closed due to land slides caused by heavy rain, I am cursed, i know it. Well nothing much to do about it so I headed back to the coast, having learned my lesson I have bough a map, a paper map, over which I pour every evening. ... read more
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Africa » South Africa » Free State » Drakensberg May 24th 2015

Roadtrips in South Africa are very different to roadtrips in the UK. Driving to St Andrews in Scotland is one of the prettier routes, with snow-capped hills accompanying long stretches of the motorway, but long trips in my mind are still characterised by grey roads, rain (usually), and soulless service stations. South African motorways still have grey roads and soulless service stations, serving Spur or Wimpy instead of Little Chef. But they make up for it by having hours and hours of glorious straight empty stretches disappearing into endless mountains, devoid of signs of human life for miles and miles at a time. South Africa is really big, allowing it the luxury of much more natural space than the UK. Driving from Johannesburg, Gauteng, to the Maloti mountains in the Free State is like going into ... read more
Sandstone
Timberwolf Inn
Echo Ravine

Africa » South Africa » Free State » Clarens May 22nd 2015

The drive to Clarens from Dundee was beautiful. Apart from when we stopped at the gas station and I spilt all of my biltong on the concrete. That hurt man. That cut deep. But anyway, the road to Clarens takes you through the Golden Gate Highlands National Park where for the first time, I was truly blown away by the scenery ahead of me. Red-clay mountains have been eroded beautifully into wonderful rock formations and below the mountains are quaint meadows and quiet streams, flanked by pretty trees whose leaves have turned reddish-brown from the changing of the seasons, matching the red of the cliffs towering above them. It was scenery that you can’t get in New Zealand – the meadows you can find in the South Island, but you’d have to import the mountains from ... read more
Living On The Edge
The Artist’s Cafe
Sentinel Peak

Africa » South Africa » Free State March 12th 2014

Golden Gate Highlands National Park, Glen Reenen Rest Camp to Howick (266 km or 165 miles), Wednesday, March 12th. This clear blue morning we started out driving the Blesbok Loop where we encountered many long tailed Widowbirds and watched them fly around and then into the long grass. It is hard to see how they can possibly fly with so long a tail--almost twice the length of the bird. We saw two different kinds this day: the Long-tailed Widowbird and the Red-collared Widowbird. At the first junction, we turned towards the Langtoon Dam, but very shortly the water was crossing the road and we couldn’t tell how deep it was, so we backed up and continued up the hill to the Zuluhoak Lookout. Very pretty view of the red/cream mountains across the way. Finished driving the ... read more
1403-214 Golden Gate Highlands Park--Blesbok Loop scenery-A
1403-215 Golden Gate Highlands Park--Blesbok Loop scenery-B
1403-216 Golden Gate Highlands Park--Yellow canary enjoying grain

Africa » South Africa » Free State » Bloemfontein March 10th 2014

Mountain Zebra National Park to Gariep Dam (245 km or 152 miles), Sunday afternoon, March 9th. Left the Park behind and traveled on N-10/R32 named the Merino route for the breed of sheep raised in this area. The countryside in this part of South Africa seems very arid and reminds us of Utah, Montana, and Arizona with lots of butte type formations. Lots of sheep and cattle ranches. Seems strange to look out among the cattle and see an ostrich or two. Lots of construction along this route. We were fascinated to watch the women personing the “right of way” haul a yellow plastic barrier on wheels back and forth across the lane to be stopped. About 200 km into the day’s drive, near the town of Colesburg, we came to an Engen One Stop with ... read more
1403-171 Rocks carefully laid to shut down already paved road
1403-172 Wyoming or Montana perhaps
1403-173 Or maybe Nevada

Africa » South Africa » Free State January 31st 2014

What is it with the weather and Bush Babes outreaches? Waking up to the sound of rain in the middle of Thursday night reminded me of our last visit to the wolf sanctuary. Heavy rains, sorely needed by the Free State farmers after a long dry spell. This time seemed to be exactly the same, but there's no excuse when it's raining. The forecast was heavy rain for at least a week. We had already postponed this visit to the Husky Romi Rescue & Wolf sanctuary and couldn't put it off any longer. So we had to just suck it up, don our wellies and put on some lipstick, grab our spades and picks and hit the road. Besides a little bit of mud and rain never put off the Bush Babes and we were given ... read more
Me first!
Triple cute
Wolf sanctuary

Africa » South Africa » Free State » Drakensberg January 29th 2014

In the morning we all got up at a good time to go to the next hotel. The hotel is located in the mountains they have even got snow like Canada. Right now it's summer in South Africa and winter in Canada much better climate still a little to hot. We watch too movies on the way to the hotel. One was a really good! It's called Blind Side. A true story about a kid named Michel who becomes a really good Foot Ball player. It had a good ending. When we got to the hotel we had some down time. I went and played soccer with the boys I had really bad shoes for soccer and ended up hurting my foot by kicking the ball around. We had are supper then went to bed for ... read more
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