Words & pictures by RICHARD VAN RYNEVELD
One doesn’t have to hit the road for weeks on end and travel thousands of kilometres to enjoy a real bushveld break-away. In a beautiful country like South Africa, there are spectacular destinations just a few hours’ drive from any major city.
I flew from Cape Town to O.R. Tambo in Johannesburg, where a JMC Vigus 4×4 single cab bakkie was awaiting me – my tow horse for the next week.
My first stop from the airport was the Echo 4×4 factory in Pretoria to pick up a 4-sleeper Kavango off-road caravan.
With my clothing and gear stored in the Echo (the Vigus didn’t have a canopy), I was soon on my way to my first campsite: the ATKV Buffelspoort Holiday Resort close to Rustenburg.
The sun had already set as I barrelled along the N4 towards Rustenburg. This is mining country –the orange and greenish sodium vapour lights were lighting up the sky to my left, outlining the shaft gear and masses of enclosed conveyors that moved the ore from deep underground.
The conveyors, which looked like giant railway carriages, were throwing their shadows across the dark veld. When I turned off the N4 down to the entrance of Buffelspoort, the friendly security guys at the boom gate gave me a map of the caravan park and pointed out my site.
Buffelspoort, situated on the small Sterkstroom River, lies in the lee of the Magaliesberg Mountains. Lying so close to the mountains, Buffelspoort and nearby Mooinooi have a higher rainfall than in the surrounding area, which is why this area is known for its wonderful citrus; in fact, there is a Citrus Festival held at the resort every year in May. I had missed the makietie by a week – all the campsites had already been booked.
The Buffelspoort ATKV resort is large. It has 205 stands, but because of the size of your allotted camping area, you don’t feel crowded; and everyone has easy access to the ablution blocks.
All the stands are paved, and most have shade. There are five grassed stands with shade-covered parking. The five ablution blocks are always pristine.
After a good night’s rest (I was thankful that, even in the dark, setting up the Kavango is no problem), I got chatting to the caravan-park manager, Spook Groenewald. What a great guy! I could write a story just on Spook and his life.
I had noticed the three separate bins for recycling. Spook explained, “Every single bit of trash at Buffelspoort is recycled. That’s why we have clear plastic bags in the bins; we even remove leaves and braai bones by hand.”
It’s the details like this that make Buffelspoort such a superb camping resort. And that attention to detail is carried through to everything − from Wi-fi (first 30 minutes free), to helpers available to put up your tents.
I could have spent the rest of the day talking to Spook, but he’s a busy man. He looks after this huge caravan park with its five ablution blocks, plus the four caravans they rent out.
If you arrive at the resort without provisions, have no fear: Buffelspoort has a small, well-stocked shop, a bottle store and a restaurant.
When I’m travelling, I prefer a braai. On Spook’s recommendation, I headed up Lonhro Drive, just one robot up from the shopping centre, and popped in at the Mooi Nooi Butchery to buy some incredible boerewors, biltong, droëwors and kaaswors. That night I ate like a king!