Sunday, 15 April 2018

Bass Lake Resort - Camping - March 2018

Camping - March 2018

This was to be our first "family" camping trip for 2018. We were camping with family, four sites in total.

The family decided on Bass Lake Resort as we had heard how good it was. The Bass Lake Lodge is also not very far, at just over 100 km's from our home. Nice and close.

We were leaving work a little early and got away from home at 12h30 on the Friday. As usual the traffic was hectic, especially on the highway through Pretoria. But we made it and arrived safely at approximately 13h45.

For this trip we were using the Chevrolet Trailblazer and the Juregns Avion L. We also took our dome tent, due to the fact that our daughter was down from Mongu Zambia for a while and was joining us on this weekend.

The road in to Bass Lake is a bit dubious, because you have to drive on the notorious Moloto Road, the R573, which is know for some horrific accidents (just Google "moloto road accident" and see what you get). This can be seen by the way in which the people drive on this road. But, we arrived safely.

The last 2.4 Km is on a dirt road, but its in great condition. The turnoff from this dirt road takes you to magnificent huge gates, and a intercom system. When buzzed, you state your name and the gate opens.

After about 500m you arrive at the Lodge caravan park. You are greeted by the most friendly and energetic lady that we have met in a long time. It was such a great welcome.

We were early so could choose the site that we required from the 4 that we had booked.
We chose a nice big level (they are all level) site that was big enough for the caravan, rally awning ans the dome tent. It has a nice bit of shade as well.

The sites were all grassed. Each had a tap and also a portable braai as well as a portable fire drum/stand on which you could make a nice camp fire.

When we arrived on site, we were met by friendly fellows who offered to assist with the placing, leveling (putting the jacks down) and putting the tents up. We we were OK, so declined the offer. But I thought that that was a really nice function to offer.

It did not take long and we were all set up.

Camp was soon set up and we were relaxing.

The next to arrive were my brother and his wife in their Ford Ranger and Invader Duo off road caravan.

The remaining two parties got stuck in the Pretoria Highway traffic and it took them over three hours to do the +-100 Km to get to the campsite.
However, all arrived safely and it was not long before we were all set up and relaxing.

Its a really nice campsite and the ablutions are amazing. There are two blocks and each one were kept clean and supplied with the necessities.

Of cause, each site also has access to a power point (a box of 4 was situated in the axis of our four sites) and we never had an issue with power the entire weekend.
The braai and fine pit drum were cleaned each morning (by friendly and efficient staff) and it was a very pleasant weekend.

On the Saturday my Dad, sister and nephew took a drive out and joined us for breakfast as well as a nice braai for lunch.
It was a good day,

My brother and his family went on a drive around the game farm area. Its not big, but they did see a few animals, and also the black springbok.

There is also a shop near the reception area.
The shop seemed to have stock of most of the basic requirements and was manned by a friendly assistant. There is also a soft serve ice cream machine, and the ice creams were delicious.

Not far from the reception is also a lovely swimming pool as well as a children's play area with trampoline, swings and a few other goodies. The three young ones made good use of these.

All too soon it was Sunday afternoon and time to pack up and head home.
But it was a really super weekend and a lovely place.

I'm sure that we will be back at Bass Lake Lodge, in the not too distant future.

Thanks to all for a lovely week-end.

Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Willems Rus Caravan park - February 2018

February and its time to go camping, but somewhere close to Johannesburg.
We wanted somewhere quiet, nice and nearby. We thought of Golden leopard, who run the camps in Pilanesburg National Park, but last time we were there the ablutions were a bit run down. It also gets very full and noisy over weekends.

So, I thought about looking for camping resorts in Dinokeng Game Reserve. Its a relatively new reserve and its in Gauteng.
 I foubnd
So, I started searching Dinokeng Game Reserve. According to their website :- The Dinokeng Game Reserve is the first free-roaming Big 5 residential game reserve in Gauteng – and probably in the world – next to an urbanized area. It is a private/public initiative for which planning and development started in the early 2000’s. It was officially opened on 22 September 2011 after the introduction of four of the Big 5. The last of the Big 5, the buffalo, were introduced in late 2012 and they have settled in well.

I found a few camping sites and we decided on Willens Rus. Their website : Willem’s Rus is a privately owned caravan park situated in the malaria free Dinokeng Big Five Game Reserve and it is perfect for getaways from the rush of city life. It is an outdoor experience in beautiful indigenous bushveld that will help you relax. This is the only free roaming Big 5 Game Reserve in Gauteng, a mere 45 minutes drive from Pretoria.

You can be certain to relax and spend quality time with friends and family around a camp fire under the cosmos of stars. Willem's Rus camping experience is unique in the sense that it is possible to spot the big five from your own campsite, only 35km north of Pretoria.

So we headed out with our Jurgens caravan, towing with the Chevrolet Trailblazer. Its only a short trip, at 124 Km's.

We had a good trip over. We had booked site 12, which has a write up as follows on the website :
This site offers beautiful Northern views of great bushveld scenery and the second waterhole. While building the camp a leopard walked a mere 3m away from this site on the opposite side of the fence at 11h00 in the morning.

We arrived and were welcomed at the reception. 

You could just see, from the look of the place that t was well run, well managed and that we were going to have a very nice peaceful weekend at Willemsrus.
We enjoyed the bush feel and the ablutions were 5 star.
About the only downfall is the dirt/gravel road from the main tar road up to the turnoff to Willensrus. This road is very badly corrugated and with a road caravan you can only drive at about 10 to 20 Kmph. However, luckily its only a a short 1.5 km stretch.

But back to Willemsrus. The bird life is amazing and we were able to identify quiet a few birds.

One nice thing is that the caravan park provide a very nice big braai to each caravan site. We had two enjoyable braai's.

The owner and his wife strolled around the park in the early evening to ensure that everyone was comfortable. Also, you can purchase ice and wood from the reception and the staff will bring  that straight to your site. The braai and bins are cleaned at least twice a day and we really enjoyed the comfortable settings.

There is a very nice swimming pool, which is kept clean. The surrounds are also nice and clean.

All in all, we really enjoyed the weekend camping and we will definitely be back at Willemsrus.


Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Underberg - December 2017 - Christmas

Although we had been away at the coast, we had decided to book a cottage in Underberg for Christmas.

We would be travelling with our Chevrolet Trailblazer and Venter Bush Baby trailer.

We left home in Johannesburg on Saturday 23 December 2017. The traffic heading out of town was hectic. So much so, that after a 4km (yip, that's correct 4km) queue at the first toll plaza we decided to reach for the Garmin and select avoidance of Highways and Toll Fees. 

That was a very good choice and it allowed us to turn off the N3 just after the De Hoek Plaza. We then traveled along some lovely quiet country roads. We eventually ended up travelling through Bethlehem and down the Oliviershoek pass, through Bergville, Nottingham Road,(the KZN Midlands) then onto Underberg.

The country roads, all the way down, were actually in great condition. I was pleasantly surprised.

The cottage that we had booked in Underberg was a two bed-roomed cottage. It had a fireplace (December so I thought that we would not nee to use it), nice kitchen, lounge and a veranda/porch. It is called Valley View Cottage.

The cottage was located just on the outskirts of town and had lovely views of the valley.

We had a few evenings where there was a good sunset.

And the views of the Drakensberg Mountains were spectacular.

On Christmas eve we did get a chance to use the fireplace, as it got a little chilly. Was good.
We had a very nice Christmas dinner and we cooked a Gammon as well as a small chicken roast, with all the veggies. Thereafter we had Christmas pudding as well as custard and ice cream.
Was delicious !

We traveled back home on the 26th December 2017 and the traffic was not at all bad. No queues at the toll plazas and all seemed to be driving sensibly.

Was a great time away and enjoyable.

We would go back to Valley View Cottage.

Bass Lake Resort - Camping - March 2018

Camping - March 2018 This was to be our first "family" camping trip for 2018. We were camping with family, four sites in total...