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~ I dont blog about things to be liked. I blog about things that I like ~ ... so that one day, on my death bed, I will have said and done what I wanted to do, and die peacefully without regrets.
Live your life in such a way that when your feet hit the floor in the morning, Satan shudders & says..' Oh shit....She's awake'

Friday, April 30, 2010

I get to meet Zakumi, our famous FIFA 2010 mascot

Zakumi is a leopard, a common animal found in South Africa, with green hair wearing a shirt saying South Africa 2010.

Zakumi's green and gold colors represents South African national sports' teams colors. He is the South African mascot for the FIFA 2010 coming up in June and July this year.

His name comes from "ZA", the ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 code for South Africa, and "kumi", a word that means "ten" in various African languages.

Keep your eyes out for Zakumi when you come to hike in our mountains when you visit our beautiful country :)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Hyena Trap Karoo National Park

The Hyena Trap: Early stock farmers of the Karoo Area built these traps in their attempt to eliminate the brown hyena, jackal and leopards in the area.

I think it was a very cruel thing that they did, but we cant change history, and hopefully only learn from these mistakes of the past.

The Brown Hyena is now sadly extinct from this area.

Even though this is not a hike as such, its one of the many interesting places you can visit when you go to the Karoo National Park.  Its within walking distance from the main reception, but there are also other traps similar to this located all over the park and can be seen if you go for a drive around.

Contact Information: Karoo National Park

Main Camp Phone: 023 415 2828 /

SANPARKS Reservation Phone: 012 428 9111 Pretoria / 021 422 2816 Cape Town

Monday, April 12, 2010

Karoo National Park Fossil Trail

Wow... check this out man! These fossils were extinct 30 million years before dinosaurs evolved. How cool is that?  The Karoo has an immense amount of very interesting history of the earth from the days before the separation of the Gondwana Land.  No where else in the world is there a place as special as this place. 24 000 fossils have been found here since this park was declared a World Heritage Site.  You just have to come over and see history of 300 - 250 million years ago. 

The start of the trail is within walking distance from the Reception of the Main Camp and about 200m in distance.

BRADYSAURUS - This fossil was donated to the park.

"... hello Brad! Nice to meet you too :)"

100 Million Years of Geological History.  The Karoo was a massive inland sea.

The Permian Deep South: when all the major continents were still grouped together into a single super continent called Pangaea.

Map of Gondwana Land:

Rhinesuchus - Amphibian Monsters, closer related to frogs than reptiles like crocodiles.

Diictodon - I liked this one the most. It had so much character.

The Fossil Trail in the Karoo National Park is not very long, but you could spend a good hour or more on this short route.  As you can see in the pic below, its right next to the Main Camp.  Here I have my chief photographer caught snapping away - I just love the way he gets so carried away when he takes pictures :)  Thanks Al for all the stunning photos!

This park has so much to offer, we had to almost run through everything. I would not mind coming back here some day soon to experience it all again.  The vast open spaces, the stars at night, the silence of nothing, it was an awesome experience.

The Park is very well maintained. The people were so friendly and helpful. Thumbs up for this Sanparks venue.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Karoo National Park Pointer Hiking Trail

Hiking in the Karoo National Park proved to be one not to be missed. Ive been to many parks and hiked all over, this one was lovely. The hike itself was not the best hike Ive ever had, but was absolutely stunning.  The total experience of the Karoo National Park was awesome. This park is very underrated and I think talking about the entire experience as a whole is the only way to go.  I cant cover it all in one post, so the rest of our experience at the KNP, will be published in future posts.

Directions to get there: From Cape Town CBD, take the N1 for about 460km.  About 2 km before you reach Beaufort West, you will see a sign on your left for the Karoo National Park

Hiking Trail: Pointer Trail
Name of Reserve / Area: Karoo National Park  BIG SKY COUNTRY. Read on to find out why we say so :)

Nearest Town: Beaufort West
Province: Western Cape
Country: South Africa

Rising early has never been one of my favourite things to do, but with Boot Camp Al by my side, whilst we are visiting a Sanparks venue, I have little choice but to bear the cold darkness before the sun rise and head for the hills.  Its true, once you are up, its a wonderful time to enjoy the sun rise and the fresh feeling of a new day.  The weather has a end of summer chill in the air, but as that sun rises, oh boy... do you know about it.

In the pic below you will be able to see the camp in the back, as we heading up the hill.  At first we started walking on the 800m Bossie Trail, but soon we realised we were on the wrong route.  The Bossie Trail is very interesting to say the least, as each bush is marked with a number and the guided numbered route has a detailed field guide that explains to one as you follow the path. Since this path was not on our agenda for the time being, we had to back-track through the bush to get onto the path that would guide us to the top of the world.

Duration of hike: 3 hours and the distance was 5.6km.  This trail has the extended option to do the entire contour of this mountain of about 12km, but due to our limited time we chose to do the shorter option.  We headed off into the trail about 6am, but took it rather slow to make sure we absorb and capture everything this route had to offer us.

Our aim was to reach the top of the right peak in the image below. On our way up we caught up with a large group of hikers.  I love finding people on the mountain. 

Soon we were able to see the town of Beaufort West in the far distance.  Beaufort West is the nearest town to the Karoo National Park and also considered the halfway mark for long distance travellers between Gauteng and the Cape Province.  They also have this kick ass little butchery called Groot Marino hidden in the town.  We did a special trip into town to go and find this place.  You know, if the locals recommend it, then you just cant miss out on the opportunity.  The place was ordinarily packed inside.  A queue for the biltong was averaging 15 people constantly, and double that for the fresh meat.  Never in our lives have we had such lekka biltong or the best boeriewors you will ever taste.  Wowee... what a nice treat!  ok, enough about the yummie meat that we could get our hands on, lemme get on with the hike.

Best time of year to go: Well, we went in April. I guess in the Karoo you can expect extreme temperatures both in Winter and Summer.  The weather in April was just perfect!  As we assended, the weather was perfect, but during the descent I really began to feel the Karoo heat.

Once we reached the saddle, the path turned to the right again.  Here we were again spoilt with the views of the vast open plains of the Karoo National Park.

What costs did you incur to do this hike: None to do the hike, but there is a fee for entrace to the park.
Wildcard Holders have all year round free entry to all Sanparks Reserves 086 123 4001

Being ontop of this hill really brought a sense of complete tranquility to me.  I just loved looking down onto the camp and the entire area understand the park a little better.

How safe is it: There is no crime here. One has to keep an eye out for the animals.  We have been warned to stay away from the Black Rhino and the Buffalo if we do come across them.

A coffee break on the best lookout point one can find! The crowd of people continued to walk on and soon we found ourselves completely alone and it felt really like we were ontop of the world.  It was so peaceful here, we just sat on this beautiful rock staring down into the vastness in front of us.

Fresh Water: none. (thats why its also a great idea to take your coffee flask with you too )

Difficulty: Path is well marked with Yellow Paint spots on all the rocks.

I just love this picture of me looking back into the distance as far south as the eye can see.  This view shows you only the 180degree view of a 360 degree that you can see from here.

Heading back down again proved to be beautiful landscapes all the way down.

Pets: Not allowed

As the shadows of the morning get shorter, we get to feel the might of the Karoo heat.

How will I rate this hike?
Once you have traveled all the drivable routes that the park has to offer, you just have to take a climb up this beautiful hill. It was not very high, we started on about 930m above sea-level, but climbed to about 1166m. The total climb was about 240m.  The reception has a map of the route.

The path ends with a short walk in a dry river-bed back to the main camp.

We were happy to do this walk as they will soon be introducing lions to the park in about 3 months from now, then this self guided hiking trail will become a guided hiking trail.  When you reach the top, you can appreciate almost the entire park in a distance.  This walk comes highly recommended to everyone who visits the park.

In the map image below the route is indicated by the yellow dotted line.

An awesome walk in a very beautiful Karoo National Park!

Contact Information:
Reservation Phone: 012 428 9111 Pretoria / 021 422 2816 Cape Town
Main Camp Phone: 023 415 2828

Thursday, April 8, 2010


I told you soooooo...........!!!

News Release

New7Wonders of Nature
- Colombian journalist cast his votes for Table Mountain and the Amazon -

Zurich/Switzerland, April 7, 2010—Representing a unique link between the wet, sprawling rainforest of the South American Amazon and solid, majestic Table Mountain, Colombian journalist Frederico Uribe was the 20_millionth visitor to take the cableway up to the South African landmark.

Both Table Mountain and the Amazon, which runs through Colombia, are amongst the 28 Official Finalists in the New7Wonders of Nature campaign—Mr. Uribe cast his vote for both of them during his visit to Table Mountain

Mr. Uribe was in South Africa filming a documentary on the preparations for the FIFA 2010 World Cup.

Table Mountain; the Amazon; Colombian journalist Frederico Uribe on Table Mountain,
voting for his favorites in the Official New7Wonders of Nature campaign

Monday, April 5, 2010

Day hikes and luxury slackpacking trails in the Eastern Cape Drakensberg

Hi Juanita,

Love your site on blogspot. If you could add our Wartrail Skywalk it would be fantastic.

Location: Wild Mountain Adventures
Name of Reserve / Area: Eastern Cape Drakensberg
Nearest Town: Barkly East / Rhodes
Province: Eastern Cape
Country: South Africa

Directions to get there:

GPS Coordinates:  S 30° 48' 30"      E 27° 35' 33"
From Barkly East take the R58 towards Aliwal North. After 3kms turn right (signed New England & Tiffindell). Follow this road for approx 9kms crossing the Kraai River at Loch Bridge (National Monument). You might want to pause at the layby further up this cutting to take in the scenic views including the famous Barkly Railway Reverses (only 3 of their kind in the world).

At the T junction turn right (signed Wartrail/Tiffindell) and follow this road for 11kms. Rosstrevor is on the left hand side - look out for the 'Cattle Crossing' road sign and our stunning sandstone barn.

Duration of hike:
4 day slackpacking trail – approx 4-6 hours hiking per day.

Best time of year to go:
A typical highland climate with moderate summers and cold winters. The area has summer rainfall with afternoon thunderstorms. It is suggested that you start your trails early in the morning so that you have descended the mountain soon after lunchtime. There is not much shade on the hike, but the temperatures are never opressively hot at this altitude.

Fresh Water:
Fresh water provided at at all overnight stops and you can safely drink from any of the mountain streams and fountains. as we hike very close to the sources and  there is no habitation in-between.

Would need to be reasonably fit. We are hiking at altitudes of 1800m-2200m and there are steep inclines and descents. If necessary we can adapt the trail to a less strenuous contour route. No climbing required.

You might also want to give your version of the Mike Lundy rating which is a combination of the following two grades:


1 = Easy stroll;
2 = Moderate;
3 = Streunous excersise;
4 = Only for the very fit

A = No exposure to heights;
B = Mild exposure to heights;
C = Moderate exposure to heights;
D = Very exposed to heights;

Not recommended as we are walking through sheep faming country.

How safe is it:
Extremely safe area and fully guided.

What costs did you incurr to do this hike:
R3,575-R4,395 depending on the numbers.
This is a luxury slackpacking trail that includes:
Guest Farm accommodation (approx 3*)
Guiding by farm owners each day
Fully catered: Famhouse breakfast, packed lunch and delicious home-cooked dinners

Pics taken by:
Wartrail and New England Community Tourism Association

Describe the hike from beginning to end:
I have not been on this route, but it comes highly recommended by Kate of Wild Mountain Adventures :)   Thanks for sending us this route Kate. I hope our readers will come and join you! Regards, Juanita

Contact:Kate Nelson
Wild Mountain Adventures
Rosstrevor & Millard Guest Farms
PO Box 101, Barkly East 9786, Eastern Cape
Tel: 079 536 3996
Email Wild Mountain
Skype: kate.nelson101

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There is an old saying...

The more you learn, the more you realize how little you know.