Looking back at the fantastic places we stayed at while exploring South Africa’s wild places in 2014…
We spent the better part of today exploring the Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve around Swadini, and came across this beautifully reflective pool along one of the walking trails.
Tomorrow we’re heading back home to Pretoria after nine days exploring the north-east corner of South Africa. We plan to publish several posts about the places we visited in the coming weeks and hope we’ll see you around de Wets Wild again soon!
Today we moved westwards, out of the Kruger National Park and into the Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve in the Drakensberg mountain range, on the border of the Limpopo and Mpumalanga Provinces. While exploring this scenic area we’ll be basing ourselves at the Forever Swadini Resort, located at the foot of a spectacular rock face.
For the final challenge of 2012, we decided to submit a selection of photographs of the various accommodation units we stayed in while exploring South Africa’s wild places this year (you can click on the images for a clearer view).
Have a look here for more submissions in this week’s challenge.
“Nants ingonyama bagithi Baba…”
With the soundtrack to Disney’s animated movie “The Lion King” spurring us on, we’re heading through the dark to reach the Orpen Gate as soon as it opens. While we’re staying at Forever Resorts Swadini there’s no way we can be this close to the Kruger National Park and not make time for a visit.
Despite the strong wind blowing for much of the day we had a lovely time – as always – with great animal and bird sightings and a very enjoyable picnic in Satara. After a full day in paradise we hung around the vicinity of Orpen as long as we could before the gates closed again and we had to be on our way.
By the way, “Nants ingonyama bagithi Baba” are the opening words of the Zulu chant at the start of the film, from the song “Circle of Life” and it means “Here comes a lion, Father” – a very fitting caption for the central plains of the Kruger National Park, around Satara and Orpen, where numerous lion prides rule over the savannah (though they eluded us this time).
The third largest canyon on earth, carved over millennia through the Drakensberg escarpment; standing below and staring up at those spectacular cliffs, hundreds of metres high and millions of years old, brings home the reality of our own comparative insignificance and fleeting tenure on this planet.
Considered the largest “green” canyon in the world (the larger Grand Canyon in the USA and the Fish River Canyon in Namibia are both to be found in desert environments), the Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve is one of South Africa’s most popular destinations. The reserve is found in eastern Mpumalanga Province, and is managed by the Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency. Bourke’s Luck Potholes, God’s Window, Wonder View, the Pinnacle and the Three Rondavels are world renowned attractions to be found on the escarpment near the town of Graskop.
On this visit however, we based ourselves at the Forever Resort Swadini in the Lowveld portion of the reserve, near the town of Hoedspruit. Set in a lush subtropical environment, along the Blyde River and at the foot of a magnificent cliff face, with a myriad of animal and bird life abounding and beautiful walking trails through the indigenous vegetation along the river, you’ll be hard pressed to find a more scenic camp in any reserve.
Swadini is also an excellent base for visits to nearby attractions such as the Blydepoort Dam (on which guided boat tours are available daily), the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre and of course the Kruger National Park (Orpen Gate is only 75km away).
Of course we had to feed our Kruger addiction – here a quick report of our day visit to the Kruger National Park.