Firstly, Happy New Year to all the AfriShotters our there, we hope you all have a joyous and prosperous 2014 where all your dreams come true.
Last year was a very quiet year for us regarding trips out into the bush and our main resolution for 2014 is to change that. So, we hit the ground running with a day trip to Ezemvelo Nature Reserve yesterday.
Where is Ezemvelo?
The Ezemvelo Nature Reserve is located north of the halfway point between Witbank and Bronkhorstspruit, about 120km from OR Tambo International Airport. It’s a relatively comfortable drive taking about an hour and a half.
Due to the heavy rains we’ve had this season the 20km of dirt road leading to Ezemvelo was not the most comfortable drive and the road tends to be corrugated is places but overall, the trip from OR Tambo was hassle free and fairly comfortable.
Arriving at the gate you sign yourself in and make your way to reception. Prices were reasonable for our day visit, costing R50 per person and R25 per vehicle.
A word of caution regarding the roads inside Ezemvelo Nature Reserve: We traveled most of the roads inside the reserve including the main and secondary roads and I would like to caution you regarding the use of regular cars. I’m not sure if this is due to the heavy rains this season or if that is generally the condition of the roads but many roads should not be attempted without, at the very least, high terrain clearance. This is also on some of the roads marked as main roads.
We had swampy, marshy stretches to drive through as well as sand and rocks.
There are a host of activities at Ezemvelo Nature Reserve. Some of which I’ve listed below:
- Horse riding
- Game drives
- Cave walk
- Hiking trails
There are a number of accommodation options at Ezemvelo from camping (51 camp/caravan sites) to chalets. The family huts are log cabin style chalets located in the northern park of the reserve with great views and ample privacy.
As our visit was at the end of the festive period there were quite a few people using the main camp site and chalets, however, on the roads we had them to ourselves most of the time and hardly ever saw another vehicle.
We spent most of the day in the southern part of the reserve and game spotting was plentiful. There was always something to see.
Some of the game to look out for are:
- Blue Wildebeest
- Black Wildebeest
- Dassie (Rock Hyrax)
We had a lovely visit to Ezemvelo and are considering a second visit, this time to stay over night. The drives were always entertaining with beautiful scenery and always animals to watch.
The northern part of the park had less game to see yet the scenery more than made up for it.
The staff were friendly an accommodating.
If you are going to stay on for a few days, we advise you to take all supplies you need and not rely on the kiosk at reception. They do have the bare essentials should you run out of anything but expect to pay a hefty markup.
What’s next for 2014?
Later this month we are heading back to Mokala National Park for our second visit and to try out their camp sites while hoping to get you some pictures of the more rare species such as Black Springbuck, Roan Antelope and King Wildebeest.
In May we’re heading off to Mapungubwe National Park and into Kruger for a small road trip.
We’re planning our international road trip for around September where we’re heading back into Botswana and possible Zimbabwe too.
Around those trips we’ll have other smaller stays in the various locations around the country and report back to you on all our experiences.
We are excited to try some Voluntourism opportunities so if you know of any you can recommend, please let us know!