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Boyfriend, Exercise, Holistic Health, Love, Mountain-biking, Travel: South Africa, Uncategorized

The road to nowhere

Explore. Dream. Discover. – Mark Twain

A few months ago before Wes and I had even started cycling we bought a voucher on Daddy’s Deals for a weekend away. The first date they had available for us to book was the weekend of the 24th to 26th August – perfect; the weekend of Wes’s birthday, his crown birthday nogal!

Of course buying presents for him this year was a no brainer. I got him a Bontrager Cycling Computer and my ma got him some bar ends from Solomons. Among other things from his family he received a mini cycling first-aid kit from Dis-Chem, after his last fall at Northern Farm his mom has been a bit worried. He also bought a new cycling tool as well as some spare tubes etc with some birthday money.

The Preparation

We have been cycling at Northern Farm every weekend and I will write a post on this soon, just want to go and take a few more photos there before I do. Also, I have been so busy my blogposts are becoming delayed!

We had been training for a 20km trail as we researched trails close to Groblersdal (where we were staying for the weekend) and had come across an 18km trail at Buffalo Gorge…

The Cycle

This website gives a description as follows:

Buffalo Gorge is the ideal setting for mountain biking as it offers a great variety of terrain.

Buffalo Gorge has been the venue for the 2006 Dark Zone Challenge Adventure Race and offers not only a challenge to the serious mountain biker, but also allows all members of the family to ride on our routes or just to roam all over the farm and surrounding roads with their mountain bikes. Trail lengths ranging from 1-18km. You can also enjoy a ride all the way to Loskop Dam, or just explore the roads around the farm. The trails are the same as the 4×4-routes.

So on the Saturday morning after a delicious fully cooked breakfast which we definitely needed (the night before involved shots and bottles of wine, but more on this later…) we set off on our little adventure to get to Buffalo Gorge and enjoy this “challenge” of a trail but one which sounded as though it would have some gorgeous scenery.

After driving for about an hour on this bumpy road……we started spotting some signs…from here the road was treacherous…we trekked on…and on…

…finally passing through some gates……to find… NOTHING.

The place has been abandoned. There are still walkie-talkies plugged in to the walls, chairs circled around the bonfire area and tables set up everywhere but we reckon the last time people were here was the 2006 Dark Zone Challenge Adventure Race.

No “adventure”. No “race”. Only a “dark zone”.

We were beyond disappointed. We tried calling the contact numbers but we had no signal. We contemplated trying to find the trail anyway and riding it but if the “base camp”, as the sign identifies it, is covered in a thick layer of dust what would the condition of the trail be? It was too dangerous to attempt, especially as we had no communication with the outside world should one of us get injured or if we got lost as we seriously doubted the existence of directional boards.

The only “Gorge” we got to see 😦

Walking around one corner I came across this mound of skulls. Time to get out of there!

As we had been so excited for our cycle, on our way home the Sunday morning we cycled on some of the farm roads in the area.

We wanted to eat an orange fresh from the orchards but they had all already been picked.

The Area

We spent the rest of Saturday exploring.

Groblersdal is part of what is known as the Cultural Heartland of Mpumalanga inSouth Africa. Interestingly, Groblersdal all started because of the irrigation scheme of the spectacular Loskop Dam and is named after the original owner of the Klipbank farm, WJ Grobler.

Groblersdal is cosy farming town and situated just 15 minutes north of the massive Loskop Dam. Because of its position, this lovely town is South Africa’s second largest irrigation settlement. As you enter this area, you will spot the floodplains of cotton, tobacco, table grapes, citrus fruit, maize, wheat, vegetables, sunflower seeds, peanuts, peaches as well as Lucerne. As with other parts of the Cultural Heartland, Groblersdal is well known for its rather colourful Ndebele culture. The Ndebele people are recognised for their vibrant house painting, gorgeous bead work and crafts. All these works are on display at numerous cultural villages in the region. Another inherent characteristic of the Cultural Heartland is the Boer War route throughout the region. This route is ideal for history lovers.

Groblersdal is home to an abundance of game farms. You’ll also be glad to know that game viewing in Groblersdal can be enjoyed on foot and is an all-year-round event. Yet, instead of the traditional game viewing experience usually offered, Groblersdal affords visitors the spectacular opportunity of game viewing by boat at the Loskop Dam Nature Reserve. This protected area is alive with an abundance of vibrant birdlife and fascinating wildlife.

The Loskop Dam is also a preferred angling destination because of its abundant bream and carp draughts. Boat slipways are available for use on the dam. The Loskop Dam Aventura Resort and Nature Reserve is a popular destination and offers tennis and swimming pools to mention just a few. Visit the lovely farms and farm stalls and learn more of this picturesque area.

Groblersdal not only offers a rich cultural experience but also a relaxing holiday is tranquil and magnificent surroundings. Its ideal destination near the Loskop Dam and Nature Reserve opens the way for a perfect holiday experience. (source: SA Venues)

The Food and Drink

As I mentioned the Friday night turned into quite a jol. After we had unpacked and settled into our chalet we went up to the dining area of the lodge to enjoy some sundowners and have dinner. Shots were then delivered to our table by another young couple there celebrating their one year anniversary. Things escalated, shots were downed, bottles of wine enjoyed and by the time our dinner arrived I barely remembered ordering 😉 I remember it being delicious, but what isn’t when you have been drinking?

The Saturday night the Lodge hosted a braai for all the guests where we met many other people and again rounds and rounds of shots were ordered. Sometimes it is such fun to party with people you don’t know and might not see ever again.

The best meal I had that weekend was the Saturday afternoon. We discovered a hidden little pub just outside Groblersdal during our exploring that afternoon so after a quick swim (the first of the season!) back at the Lodge we headed there and ordered the garlic prawns. They were possibly the best I have eaten.

We bought four bags of oranges and made delicious fresh juice when we got home.

The Accommodation
We spent the weekend at Lookout Lodge. The staff were friendly, the views from the restaurant beautiful and the chalets perfect for a relaxed weekend away.
The Verdict

As I mentioned we bought a voucher on Daddy’s Deals. It was great value for money! Two nights away, breakfast and a game-drive included, cost us less than a big night out clubbing in Jo’burg would have. Obviously, don’t bother going to Buffalo Gorge.

Click on images to view larger versions.
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Discussion

3 thoughts on “The road to nowhere

  1. Looking forward to our next trip together Baba ,love you.

    Posted by Wesleigh Louw | September 7, 2012, 9:09 AM

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Pingback: Three things I learnt on a game drive recently | femmegypsy - September 8, 2012

  2. Pingback: Going down and dirty | femmegypsy - September 14, 2012

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