African shoestrings – South Africa Day Seventeen

On our first visit to South Africa in 1996, we had very briefly skirted the Drankesberg ranges and had promised ourselves that we would return some day.
The Drakensberg is located mostly in South Africa and snakes down the central eastern side of South Africa, for about 1125 kilometres, and then teeing off to allow a smaller range, the Malutti to join it from the west before forming the eastern boundary of Lesotho.

Golden Gate Highlands National Park lies in the foothills of the Malutti and has some of the most striking scenery that I have ever seen.
The R711 cuts a path straight through the middle of it and we were greeted by two huge orange and green sandstone hills on either side of the road peering down at us.
This was our kind of place, a sort of Alps but in miniature with lots of walk tracks, game drives, bird watching and comfortable and cheap accommodation. We stayed in a Rondavel, a circular shaped hut, that were fully self contained, comfortable and cheap.

Despite it’s beauty we actually only spent one night there.
In 24 hours we managed to do a couple of walks, a couple of game drives, spend some time at the bird hide and sleep!
The game drives consist of a couple of circular drives in an area set aside for game. Now we’ve been on game drives before and in our experience the best ones tend to be more difficult to get to and well controlled. So our expectations weren’t high and sure enough we drove around peering with screwed up eyes at anything that resembled a living object.
But as is often the case all we managed to see were a few Springbok, an antelope similar to a deer but with a prominent black stripe along its flank, and some great views of the mountains around.

Springboks are extremely fast and can reach speeds of 100 km/h and can leap 4m through the air. The common name "springbok" comes from the Afrikaans and Dutch words spring = jump and bok = male antelope or goat.

Springboks are extremely fast and can reach speeds of 100 km/h and can leap 4m through the air. The common name “springbok” comes from the Afrikaans and Dutch words spring = jump and bok = male antelope or goat.

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