The wanderlust of Decemberborn people (and I am one) is well documented, so you will understand my joy when I was given the opportunity to put my city life on hold and trade it in for a full weekend of visiting bush camps in the Dinokeng Game Reserve.
I was quick to discard any thoughts about the drudgery of my nightly forays into full-contact pottery and online chess marathons, my social media addictions, and the occasional repair of broken electrical appliances, and instead prepare to be welcomed into the great outdoors.
I first picked up a sparkling new Suzuki Grand Vitara at OR Tambo airport. Then, after driving a short distance to Kempton Caravans to collect a XT120 trailer with extension box and full Howling Moon tent (which they had kindly lent me for the weekend), I set off with grandiose thoughts of the Big 5, shady grass-covered campsites, and crackling braai fires. Beer too!
The temperature was already in the high 30s, and would make its way into the mid-40s by the time I reached Dinokeng. It’s amazing how a simple stretch of open road, some laid-back cruising music, and the thrill of the unknown gets adventurous blood coursing through your veins, and eases you out of city-slicker mode and into a benevolent bushveld bias.
Dinokeng Game Reserve Images
The trip from Johannesburg to Dinokeng took longer than the hour suggested in the online brochures, because I managed to take the incorrect off-ramp on two occasions, and found myself going through the same e-toll three times. You can imagine the delight on the face of the attendant when he saw me for the third time in the space of half an hour, still going north…? Johannesburg can be challenging for Capetonians. I managed, eventually, to take the off-ramp which would get me to the entrance of the Dinokeng Game Reserve.
The nature reserve is home to the Big 5, and is within easy reach of anyone in search of adventure. As wild elephant, rhino, buffalo, lion and leopard populate the sweeping grasslands of Dinokeng Game Reserve, which is set in the catchment area of the Limpopo and Olifants Rivers, you’d be hard-pressed to find more abundant wildlife elsewhere. Zebra, giraffe, hyena, eland, kudu, small predators and numerous bird species also inhabit this area, so don’t forget to take along your camera with a long-focus lens, and your binoculars.
After sticking to the 20km/h speed restriction for the short drive down the main tarred road leading through the Dinokeng Game Reserve, I turned off for the two-minute drive onto the dust road to Tshikwalo Lodge.