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#HikeSA, Week 1: Mountain Sanctuary Park {In Photos}


If you haven't visited Mountain Sanctuary Park in the Magaliesberg mountains yet, you are missing out.


This privately owned 1000 hectare nature reserve is home to millions of year old rock formations that when carefully looked at, resemble the shape of some of South African's animals. It is claimed that these rock formations are older than Mount Everest, and are famed in South Africa for its natural beauty. With a range of walking and mountain biking trails, guests can reconnect with nature whilst exploring the area. The reserve has a "no music / no noise" policy and having visited there myself I can see why they are known as the most peaceful place in South Africa.


The reserve is especially suited for nature lovers looking for low cost holiday destinations close to Gauteng or for those that are looking for a day break to enjoy complete relaxation away from the city.


We arrived at sunset on the Friday and was greeted by this windmill just after the entrance gate.


SPEND THE NIGHT OR VISIT FOR THE DAY

If you have a night or two to spare, you can make use of the parks budget friendly accommodation options which include chalets, log cabins and campsites. We opted for a campsite, which despite being huge was restricted to 4 people maximum. Something that really stood out to me was that the accommodation options are all mixed up - some campsites where amongst the Log Cabins, while others were next to the Chalets making them very unique to any other nature reserve.

Day visitors are allowed but booking in advance is essential as they only allow 180 people in the park daily. You can book by emailing the park.

HIKING TRAILS

Perdewater Grotto and Table Top Rock


You all know how much I love taking "Shoe" Photos.

The hiking trails range from 12 minute walks to more strenuous 8 hour hikes. We woke up early for sunrise and took an enjoyable 45 minute stroll to the Perdewater Grotto to marvel at the waterfall we had heard so much about. On the way we passed the rock formations, which was an absolute highlight and well worth a visit. Many look like some of South Africa's animals.

We arrived at the waterfall, a little disappointed that there was no water. South Africa has been experiencing a massive drought, so it saddened me to see the effects of it. Never the less, it was still a beautiful place to unwind at. The conservation board is confident that it will flow again after our expected summer rains.


Perdewater Grotto Waterfall.

Well, not much of a waterfall now that South Africa is experiencing a drought.


Since there was no "waterfall", we explored the cave behind it.


A fisheye view of the top of the Perdewater Grotto.



How incredible are the roots of these trees?

Slide Pools

We then made our way to the slide pools which can be found on the eastern side of the park. This to was beautiful but had a serious lack of water.




West Pools

After having breakfast at the campsite, we were joined by a few more friends who were eager to explore the west side of the park. The west pools makes for a great lunch stop where you can enjoy a swim in the crystal clear rock pools while sunbathing on the rocks. For those adventure seekers - the pool is pretty deep so you can jump from the top of the rocks into the water.

Rapids

We then tried to make our way to the rapids, but got horribly lost, as there are no set paths around the park. We decided to follow the river, through long grass, and eventually found a trail. It was a load of fun, despite all the minor scratches we acquired getting there. All in all, we walked a total of 6 hours.

THE CEDABERG FARM

The park overlaps the Cedaberg Farm which is absolutely beautiful to, but is a private property and a permit from the Mountain Hiking Club of South Africa (MCSA) is required. Permits are not readily available if you are not a regular hiker and many mountain rescues have had to be made as a result of unexperienced hikers. You can request a permit through MCSA using the following membership@jhb.mcsa.org.za or contact them on +27 11 067 0326 (8am-10am weekdays).

This map will come in handy when planning a trip and can be downloaded from the Sofar website: http://www.sofar.co.za/mountain-sanctuary-park/


STAR PARTIES with the WRAC


Annually, Mountain Sanctuary Park and the West Rand Astronomy Club (WRAC) offers astronomy enthuastics an opportunity to come along and view the many different planets, stars and galaxies that make up our Universe through advanced telescopes. I loved every minute of experiencing this, and viewing planets like Saturn, and learning more about various galaxies. I snuck away for a little bit to capture this image.



Images and content by: Chantelle Flores

www.51countriesandcounting.com

www.kzaravisual.com

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