Travel: Circles in the bush

Words & Pictures by Richard van Ryneveld

‘On the road again…’ the song by 1960/70s rock band Canned Heat goes through my mind as I ease into the seat of a new JMC Landwind 5. It’s a relatively short hop from Lanseria over to Roodepoort to pick up one of my favourite dirtroad caravans, a spanking new Swing BacTrax S from Kennis Caravans at their large premises in Ontdekkers Road (thanks, Alan Vos).

‘You know, the first time I travelled, out in the rain and snow…’ the song continues to echo in my head. I’m not heading to this kind of weather, though; I’m bound on a wide circular trip taking in 3 provinces: Gauteng, Limpopo and North West.

The Landwind 5 is the latest offering from the Chinese manufacturer Jaingling Motor Corporation (JMC). I was on a relatively short trip, but it would be more than enough to give me time to test the new vehicle, while also towing the BacTrax ‘rough-roader’ caravan.

My travels would take me to Koro- Koro Safari Lodge close to Bella Bella, before heading south-west to the Bakgatla Resort in Pilanesberg, then through the small town of Koster, and on to my last camp at Honey Nest Resort, close to the village of Derby, before I completed my circle route back to Kennis Caravans in Roodepoort.

I really like the Bela-Bela / Warmbaths area. It’s at the start of the Waterberg Mountain range, and has something for young and old. Bella-Bella is a Tswana word that means the ‘pot that boils’, and is named after the hot mineral springs that flow out of the earth. The mineral-rich springs are rich in sodium chloride, calcium carbonate and other salts, and are known to help sufferers from rheumatic-related ailments.

Bela-Bela, formerly known as Warmbaths, was originally on the farm of Voortrekker Carl van Heerden. Van Heerden named his farm Het Bad. In 1873, the government saw the potential of the land, bought the farm, and a small village called Hartingsburg developed around the springs.

Hartingsburg was later annexed by the British during the Anglo Boer War, and renamed Warm Baths. One can still visit the blockhouse that was built to protect the railway line to Polokwane.

As it is a bushveld town, there is plenty to do in the surrounding area. I had visited Bela-Bela just a year before, so this time I headed some 17 kilometres further west, to Koro-Koro.

Trip Images


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