Getaway (South Africa) - - Travel -

CLOS­EST GATE Male­lane SITES 82 BEST FEA­TURES Fam­ily-friendly and beau­ti­ful hilly sur­rounds SPE­CIAL SIGHT­INGS Ele­phants, leop­ard tor­toises, klip­springers The south can get re­ally crowded. De­spite be­ing a big camp, Berg-en-Dal is ringed by lovely nat­u­ral scenery in a moun­tain­ous en­vi­ron­ment and feels quite chilled out. On the north­ern and south­ern sides, dry riverbeds bor­der the camp, with large trees along­side. The best sites are along the fence with views over these and green kop­pies and of big mam­mals (ele­phants and rhi­nos are com­monly seen through the wire). These spots get snapped up quickly, though. If you’re here for a week­end, get to the camp early to se­cure a spot, then go out for your drive. (All the good ones were taken by the time I ar­rived at 5pm.) Also, not all sites are level so I was grate­ful for my lit­tle tent with its small foot­print. The calls of lively wood­land king­fish­ers and the more eerie spookvoël echo through the trees, and it’s a par­adise for chil­dren who can es­cape to the pool or chase each other around the jun­gle gym. It’s an easy camp­ing ex­pe­ri­ence with am­ple ablu­tion blocks, clothes lines, elec­tric urns for hot wa­ter and two-plate stoves if you’re sick of braai­ing (or it’s rain­ing). It’s an older camp and needs some love, but there’s a good dam in front of the restau­rant and a bound­ary trail that winds its way around the camp. Leop­ards and wild dogs are found reg­u­larly in the area; lions are usu­ally seen in the lower plains on the roads to Skukuza and Crocodile Bridge. DO THIS Me­an­der to Af­saal pic­nic site via the scenic Matjulu Loop on the S110 and S120 roads – it weaves through gran­ite kop­pies with ex­cel­lent views. Pack eggs and ba­con to fire up a skot­tel (rent one for R25 for half an hour) at the pic­nic site, and look out for the res­i­dent hyena that lurks in the nearby riverbed. Chee­tah and lion sight­ings in the area are fairly com­mon too; chat to other pic­nick­ers for tips on where to go af­ter break­fast.

Some of the park shops now have wa­ter dis­pensers to fill up your own bot­tle in­stead of buying yet an­other plas­tic one

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