Words & pictures by Stuart Reichardt
I was driving the back roads around Middleburg and Groblersdal – some of the potholes are large enough to shred a car tire and buckle the rim. But don’t let the bad roads deter you; just drive slowly and with greater care.
Back roads are always the most interesting routes to take, offering up some unique photographic opportunities and the chance to meet people off the beaten track.
It’s where the hiss of steam locomotives gives way to disused railway stations overrun by creepers and grass; where old farming implements stand stoically rusting in desolate corners of overgrown fields, and where old-timers stare from the safety of rickety riempie stoele set in the shade on their stoeps. You’ll often get a wave, or a hand raised in welcome as you drive by. That’s part of back-country etiquette: it’s woven into the very fabric of their khaki shorts.
I was on my way to Mpumalanga to visit to the Loskopdam Forever Resort and De Voetpadkloof Family Resort and Campsite; and as I was driving a brand new Isuzu mu-X, I was also doing some exploring, of course.
My adventures actually began just over 200 km west of Loskopdam. I was heading off after a week in Bela-Bela (see June 2018 edition of Caravan & Outdoor Life), where I had experienced one of the most memorable days of my life: visiting Adventures With Elephants in the Waterberg district of Limpopo.
What a privilege it was to meet these gentle giants. Thanks go to Sean Hensman, the owner of AWE, for organising the elephants be brought to the waterhole so that we could meet them and take some photographs.
I was lucky enough to be able to stand close to the full herd of elephants. What a wonderful experience it was to encounter these gentle giants up close.
The elephants munched on pellets offered by the handlers while I snapped away. Even the warthogs were in attendance, cleaning up any pellets that the elephants had missed.
After a photo shoot with the elephants standing next to the newly-launched Isuzu mu-X and Sprite caravan I had on loan, we returned to reception where I met ‘Trouble’, the tame resident meerkat.
He loves a neck scratch and is a real chatterbox, going about his business of meeting new arrivals in the reception area, or looking for things to eat on the grass. Just make sure he doesn’t follow you through the gate to the car park, as he’s fond of doing that.
LOSKOPDAM FOREVER RESORTS
Even though I was heading to Mpumalanga, I wasn’t yet done with “elephants”. Ironically, the first resort on this leg of my trip was situated on the banks of the Olifants River.
The Forever Resorts group certainly has its formula right, and Loskopdam is no different. It provides a safe haven and loads of holiday fun for the whole family, just two hour’s drive from Johannesburg.
On my arrival, I was met by the very friendly and helpful staff at reception, and given a detailed map to show me the way through the more than 250 sites of the large camp and caravan area.
Access is through a security boom which is manned 24 hours a day, and there is a visible security presence throughout the resort to ensure the safety and security of holiday makers.
Forever Loskopdam is a little town in its own right, with a shop, cold and heated swimming pools, various accommodation options, conference and wedding facilities, various playgrounds, a tennis court, putt-putt, boat trips and walking trails. When hunger sets in after all that exercise, a licensed restaurant offers great fare.
There are no fewer than 7 ablution blocks. These are neat and tidy, and offer hot showers, basins and toilet facilities; there is also a laundromat that uses tokens that can be purchased at reception.
Just half an hour’s drive from Loskopdam Forever Resort is De Voetpadkloof. Access to this beautiful resort is off the N11 between the Loskop Dam and Middleburg.
There is a short 3km gravel road drive from the main gate to reception, but the road conditions are excellent and allow easy passage for all types of non-4X4 vehicles and normal sedans.
De Voetpadkloof is situated on a 600 ha nature reserve in the Loskop Valley, a great setting for a bushveld holiday with no infiltration from the outside world. No noise, no pollution, no sirens, just tranquillity … and time is your own.
The campsite is set up on the mountainside overlooking the pools and the tea garden, which has ample benches for guests to enjoy.
The children will enjoy the indoor and outdoor swimming areas, as well as a host of other of activities to keep them busy. There is a games room offering pool and table tennis, and there are also mountain-bike routes, a putt-putt course, game drives, kayaking on the large dam, and the opportunity to go ziplining across the dam if you have the courage. Catch-and-release fishing is offered at the dam that borders on the main resort.
The ablution facilities are very modern and neat, and there is a Laundromat to wash clothes.
For 4X4 enthusiasts, there is an off-road trail to test your vehicle’s mettle.
In the mornings, meander down to the restaurant for the incredible breakfast − you won’t be disappointed. And in the evenings, head for the bar to have another cold beer.
This is a contracted version of the article. For more information and pictures, get the September issue of Caravan & Outdoor Life