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An enforced diversion reveals one of SA's little known splendid wonders

By unknown | Dec 11, 2007 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Willie Bokala

Willie Bokala

The drive from Johannesburg to Entabeni Safari Conservancy in the Waterberg region, Limpopo, was fairly smooth.

Driving back was a bit hellish, almost nightmarish. And I had only been there for less than 24 hours - in and out, that is.

My main mission there was to attend the launch of the Lend Golf Course in the evening.

It was cool, yet warmish but cloudy on the Saturday afternoon.

I arrived at about 4pm, which gave me time to freshen up and take in the sights.

I checked into the Kingfisher lodge on the upper escarpment of Entabeni Safari. This area boasts three other luxury lodges with a view that offers majestic craggy rock formations and wide-open grass plains.

The exclusive five-star lodge is set on the banks of Lake Entabeni, with wooden decks that provide visitors with an intimate view of both the lake and mountains.

From there you can view nature at its best, with the tranquility of the lake and distant bush.

This area, I was told, is separated from the lower escarpment by 500m high cliffs. I did not visit this section.

At 6pm it was time for the launch and dinner at the golf course and what followed was a 20-hour extravaganza. The 30 minutes or so journey on the ranger's jeep from the lodge to the golf course was a marvel.

The yellowwood kloof road cuts through a mountain and because of its precarious twists, and the fact that it starts at the top of the escarpment and ends at the bottom of the Waterberg plateau, makes it only accessible to the big 4x4 ranger's off-roader.

The road through the kloof is said to be 3,5km long and drops 600m from the top to the bottom, providing a hair-raising but pleasant experience.

We reached the golf course and just when dinner was about to be served, the skies opened and it continued to pour for the better part of the night.

On Sunday morning I left the lodge and its somewhat bewildered wildebeest, kudu, giraffe, blesbok and rhino that are scattered across the plains as I drove towards the main exit.

The trip to Joburg was going to be three hours, until I discovered the roads were gone.

One section of the tarred road between the conservancy and Mokopong (Naboomspruit) had caved in, making it impossible for cars to travel in either direction.

Locals offered an alternative gravel route by way of another section of the unique wilderness area of the Waterberg Mountain range. This road, however, proved very difficult to handle.

The mountain splashed water for almost 30km, cascading on to the road below.

Just as with the tarred road that I had turned away from, sections of the gravel road were swept away.

On more than one occasion I was forced to use a makeshift wooden dipstick to measure the water level to avoid being swept away myself.

But, also, on several occasions I had to pull aside to take in the watery spectacle.

I thought that this was one of the country's lesser known geographical wonders.

It was because of these stoppages that a trip that was supposed to take one hour took me almost two-and-half - and that is only from Entabeni Safari Conservancy to the town of Modimolle (Nylstroom).

Remember I had to abandon going through to Mokopong on this journey to Johannesburg.


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