A few weekends ago, Warrick and I together with one of my best friends and her boyfriend decided to go on a camping weekend out to Mountain Sanctuary Park. One of my new years resolutions for the year is to spend more time out in nature so this camping weekend was a perfect start to my year filled with “mini adventures.”
Mountain Sanctuary Park is a privately owned nature reserve situated in the Magaliesberg mountains near Buffelspoort Dam. It is about an hour and half drive from Johannesburg.They offer camping and log cabin accommodation options but as weekends are popular they encourage you to book both Friday and Saturday night which works out to be more cost effective than booking one night. We however only booked in for Saturday night.
Our campsite was well positioned with a beautiful view of the surrounding mountains in the area. After setting up camp we decided to head to the nearby rock pools for a swim and then to go on a short hike to further explore the area. Despite the recent drought we have had in South Africa we were all pleased to find that the rock pools were still deep enough to jump in. There are a few different rocks that one can jump off into the pools but the higher you go the harder it is to pluck up the courage to jump. I was very comfortable jumping from the lowest point into the pool but wanted to try from the mid-level jump point. I eventually managed to convince myself to jump off this mid-level point and here is the video to prove it.
After spending about an hour at the rock pools we decided to go on a short hike to go see the Grotto and the Twins. It is a really scenic area with lots of unique rock formations – in fact we found a rock that was shaped exactly like a bench with a beautiful view. Whilst hiking we also came across a pair of Klipspringers standing on a rock which was great to see.
One thing I must mention is that the map you receive from the reception desk is not easy to follow. As a result I would recommend that you try take note of landmarks to help orientate you as you hike around the area. Thankfully for us Warrick has been to the Park on a few occasions so he was able to guide us back to the campsite.
Back at camp the boys lit the fire for our braai and we spent the evening catching up and enjoying spending time in nature. Then all of a sudden out of nowhere the wind picked up and these dark clouds started to form over us. The boys quickly started to braai the meat and luckily managed to get it all cooked before the heavens opened and it boy did it pour with rain. We ended up eating our dinner on the patio of the next door cabin which was thankfully empty. It rained the whole night but there is something I love about being cuddled up in a tent whilst the rain drops “pitter-patter” down on the tent.
The next morning we all got up fairly early as Warrick was going to run in the Xterra 12km Trail Run race taking place down the road at Buffelspoort Dam. I sadly was unable to run due to my knee pain so it was quite difficult for me to have to be at a race as a supporter rather than a participant. Warrick did really well in the trail run and came through in the top 10 Men for the 12km.
If you are looking for a weekend getaway in nature I would definitely recommend a visit to Mountain Sanctuary Park. I would also love to hear from my followers if you have any other suggestions of places to visit close to Johannesburg for weekend adventures?