About 6 weeks ago, my girlfriend Ash had a knee op. She was and still is a mountain girl and a keen trail runner. Now well into recovery, my goal was to take her away to the Wolkberg where she could start with short hikes and experience mountains new to her. It was a last minute trip; we planned to just drive into Tzaneen on Friday afternoon, stay 1 night in a B&B and the next day find our way into mountains. Come the day to leave… A day we will remember, but will want to forget!
2 hours out of JHB and into our journey, and about 2.5 hours before Tzaneen, my car started with a minor issue. We thought we could keep going but sadly, soon found our way back on to the south side of the highway, headed for home. 10 hours later at 00h30, we arrived home safely with my car on the back of a tow truck and dampened spirits. Was our holiday over?
The following morning, after a few hours’ sleep we both woke up determined to find an adventure somewhere. With Wolkberg and my 4x4 out of the picture, we needed to think closer to home and ‘more accessible’. Google Maps must have felt our need to get out and about… and without hesitation, we were on the phone to Mountain Sanctuary Park in the Magaliesberg. While the Magaliesberg is a home ground, I have never visited MSP because I always treated it as a tourist spot. I would normally have gone to one of the kloofs or a climbing spot, than visit a nature reserve. Desperate for adventure, we settled on an unexpectedly empty MSP for the long weekend.
For those who don’t know, MSP is a fairly well maintained campsite and basic lodging reserve in the middle of the Magaliesberg. It’s easily accessible and ideal for any beginner hikers looking for various shorter hikes - ideal for one recovering from knee op. You have access to a number of smaller kloofs, a few rivers and if you want to, you can hike out farther than normal to the iconic and majestic Magaliesberg Escarpment.
Com sun down on Saturday, we were sitting in our camp chairs, beer in hand and watching the first of 2 amazing sunsets on our long weekend adventure. Each day was filled with short and easy 2km hikes; we could walk in any direction and find an awesome little pool to relax in and a good viewing point for either sunrise or sunset. All you needed was the will to be in the sun, shoes on your feet and below average map reading skills and you could go on a mini adventure. We visited all the spots from “bum” slides, to the west pools and west pool rapids. We even played Frisbee in the ‘Grotto’ during a stop at one of the lunch spots. Everywhere we went and everything we saw was just so peaceful and quaint.
Why am I telling you this all? Well, have you ever just wanted to pack your bags and leave… but are discouraged by all the booked venues, loud campsite neighbours, lack of exclusivity and so on… Then MSP is a place you need to visit. We simply called beforehand; we were told there was space and we didn’t have to pay a deposit. We arrived and paid our minimal camping fees and boom! We had an awesome weekend. Car issues, tow-truck fees, disappointed friends and the worry of not going away at all disappeared into a distant unpleasant memory as we experienced the best two sunsets from our peaceful weekend abode.
Spice things up, go on a random adventure and enjoy life!
PS. You can take Mountain bikes, and I imagine this place is a hit in the summer. We had amazing weather for August so I suggest you go sooner rather than later.