The excitement for my trip started long before I got to Bela-Bela, because I knew I was going to be driving the latest entrant into the South African SUV market, the brand new Isuzu mu-X.
I had already gotten a taste for this multi-utility crossover earlier in the year during the official launch, so you can imagine how elated I was to get a chance to test it as a tow vehicle… for two whole weeks!
The 4×4 model I drove, fitted with Isuzu’s legendary 3.0-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel engine, made light work of towing! And I towed a lot… over a 1 000 kilometres on all types of terrain.
My first stop was at Umoya Caravan Lodge, which is run by Fabrice and Adel. What a great place this is for a getaway!
The resort is situated approximately two kilometres outside Warmbaths (Bela-Bela) on the R516 Thabazimbi Road at the foothills of the Waterberg, Limpopo. Being less than two hours’ drive from the big city of Johannesburg, it’s close enough for a weekend getaway, although you’d definitely want to spend more than just a night or two here.
Access to Umoya is with an electronic key tag disk through an automatic sliding gate, and the electric fencing ensures additional safety of all who visit the resort.
The neat stands are covered in small stones, lined with inlaid bricks and surrounded by grass, making them ideal for trailer tents, caravans and tents.
In the section of the campsite I stayed in, each stand has its own private ablutions with shower, hand basin and toilet with hot and cold running water.
The ablutions are top class and each stand has its own DStv point – just bring along your card, cable and decoder. Each stand also has its own braai with height-adjustable grid, perfect for those nights spent chatting around the fire.
If you go in a group, make use of the spacious outdoor boma with fire pit – it’s where the best stories are told late into the night.
Umoya is a great destination for families, providing facilities for young and old. There is a trampoline and a playground for the kids, and a farmyard with ducks and chickens. Numerous buck roam freely within Umoya, and I was woken up one night by something bumping into my trailer tent. I can only assume it was one of the animals that populate the farm.
The resort has cold and heated swimming pools, open for all to enjoy, but there is also the “Watergat Cocktail Pool”, which is only for over-18s who want to relax and enjoy their surroundings in peace. There is a cash bar to enjoy sundowners.
I bade farewell to Fabrice and Adel after two days at their lovely resort and it was off to my next pit stop.
The Bela-Bela area is packed with fantastic resorts, and my second destination on this trip was basically just “up the road” from Umoya, a quick 14 km drive north east along the R101 and onto Eersbewoon Road to Sunset Mountain Caravan Park.
This exclusive, boutique resort is small, discreet and beautifully set against the mountainside, with great care taken to integrate the campsite flawlessly into the natural surroundings.
Sunset Mountain caters only for over-18s. The reason for this is that they market themselves as a quiet couple’s getaway, a place where mom and dad can escape for a “me time” weekend.
All the excavations and removal of rocks to form the campsites were done without disturbing the large trees in the area, so expect lots of cool shade on those hot summer days.
Each of the eight campsites has its own private bathroom inside a canvas dome tent consisting of a bath, basin and toilet, as well as its own separate shower. The use of raw red brick works well and is complemented by the red soil common to this area.
There is a small plunge pool to cool off in and the grassed stands are a must to reconnect your bare feet with mother earth. Tranquillity is all-encompassing at Sunset Mountain with the abundant birdlife in the area singing its praises. After you’ve been here for a few days, you’ll want to stay a little longer.
Johan Horn, the owner of this exclusive camping and caravan resort, mentioned that it had taken two years to build, and that he had made every effort to maintain the trees which now provide shade for all the stands.
It’s a wonderful place to rejuvenate the soul, and as much as we all love our children, there are those occasions where friends and family can step in to take over the parenting mantle for a few days while we sneak off for that some all-important R&R.
During my stay at Sunset Mountain, I took a leisurely drive out to the surrounding communities such as Settlers, which is a small farming community where cattle and sheep graze happily on the local school fields, keeping them trimmed and neat for the next game.
Modimolle (the old Nylstroom) is a short drive from the resort, as is Bela-Bela, when you need to stock up on rations or find a restaurant if you don’t feel like another braai.
To read the full article, get your July issue of Caravan & Outdoor Life / Kamp & Karavaan.
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OTHER RESORTS WE VISITED
BOSFONTEIN CARAVAN PARK
By Stuart Reichardt
WANT TO STAY AT UMOYA OR SUNSET MOUNTAIN? FILL IN THE FORM BELOW: