DRIE BERGE

Come pitch your tent, cast your line in the wa­ter, but watch out for the croc­o­diles.

Go! Camp & Drive - - CONTENTS - Text and pho­tos He­lenus Kruger

Just north of Brits in the North West the Crocodile River cuts through a ravine that’s sur­rounded by three moun­tains: On the south­ern side, where the river flows into the ravine, Wag­pos Moun­tain stands guard; a little bit fur­ther, on the west­ern side of the river, lies the Lang­berg; and op­po­site this, on the east­ern side of the ravine, lies Ou­berg. It’s here, at the foot of Ou­berg, be­tween indige­nous trees, that you’ll find the Drie Berge Car­a­van Park next to the river. The turn-off from the D1195 tar road to Drie Berge is 7 km out­side of Brits, and you can be caught off-guard if you don’t keep your eyes peeled for the sign. The turn-off lies hid­den be­hind bushes next to the road and you only see it once you’re on the bridge over Ros­espruit. Look out for Wag­pos High School and from there it’s 1 km to the turn-off on your left. Be­fore you reach the gate you first drive past a sign that warns you that cell­phone re­cep­tion will be bad from here on – if you don’t have the code for the gate (it’s sent to you via SMS) you won’t be able to phone the re­cep­tion of­fice. After this it’s about 300 m to the of­fice where you have to pass through a gate be­fore you stop.

The check-in process is easy, and after you’ve signed the camp rules and in­dem­nity form you can go pitch your tent. If you thought you could swim in the river it’s prob­a­bly a good idea to read the form

first, be­cause yes, there are croc­o­diles here. They’re spot­ted of­ten in the wa­ter, es­pe­cially in their favourite hid­ing spot be­tween the reeds on the op­po­site side of the river.

Re­lax un­der­neath the trees

With some help from the map of the camp­site you’ll find your num­bered stand very quickly. The camp­site, about half a kilo­me­tre from the re­cep­tion of­fice, lies par­al­lel with the river. From the camp­site’s en­trance the camp lies on a slope right down to the river.

The stands, how­ever, are on ter­races and are level, so you don’t have to get help from the en­tire camp to push your car­a­van around on the in­cline.

The first thing you’ll no­tice about the camp is how plen­ti­ful the trees are. There are indige­nous trees ev­ery­where and each stand has shade. There grass doesn’t grow ev­ery­where, though, and some of the stands with loads of shade only have a patch of soil. Here and there is some gravel, which will def­i­nitely help when it’s rainy and muddy.

A weir across the river breaks its speed be­fore the camp and en­sures there’s a wide dam for you. You can un­der­stand why the camp­site is so pop­u­lar, es­pe­cially amongst an­glers.

Your stand is al­lo­cated be­fore­hand, but if you want a spe­cific one you can re­quest it when book­ing. The 35 stands next to the river are of course the most pop­u­lar and you’ll have to move quickly if you want to beat the an­glers to it.

You won’t camp right on the banks of the river and fish from your camp­ing chair. Most of the front stands are on a terrace, about a me­tre or two above the river­bank. It’s only on num­bers 34–37 where the terrace slightly slopes down to the wa­ter. >

To cast your line you have to walk down a few wooden steps to the river­bank. In places it be­comes wider and there’s some grass and quite a few trees – just right for an af­ter­noon nap in the shade while you’re sit­ting in your camp chair wait­ing for the fish to bite. And in case you might have for­got­ten about the croc­o­diles, there are signs to re­mind you…

If you want to braai at your stand you can do it on one of the camp’s braai drums or skot­tel braais. Bring your own braai just in case the camp is full and the braais are all taken. Each stand has a power socket (stan­dard do­mes­tic) and bin, but you have to share a tap.

Clean ablu­tions

You’ll have to search far and wide to find cleaner ablu­tion fa­cil­i­ties at a camp­site. Clean­ers are on duty all day, and de­spite an al­most full camp at the time of our visit the fa­cil­i­ties were con­stantly kept clean. Both face-brick build­ings have places to wash clothes and dishes in front and on both sides. There is also a map with hik­ing trails and loads of ads for frozen yo­ghurt that you can buy at the shop.

The first ablu­tion block is lo­cated in the sec­ond half of the camp, far­thest from the gate, and is only slightly big­ger than the sec­ond block. There is one main en­trance, and as soon as you’re in­side the pas­sage splits into the men’s, ladies’ and fam­ily bath­rooms. On the men’s side the floors and show­ers are tiled while the walls in the dress­ing and communal ar­eas are partly ex­posed brick.

The shower cu­bi­cles have doors and the dress­ing area stays dry thanks to the nar­row wall that sep­a­rates it from the shower. The dress­ing area isn’t very big but it’s also not un­com­fort­able. You can hang your clothes and towel on the hooks and sit on the tiled bench when you want to put on your shoes. Un­for­tu­nately there isn’t a place in the shower where you can put your soap and sham­poo.

The two basins in the communal area are in a tiled slab and there are mir­rors and shelves with hooks against the wall as well as hand­wash.

The ladies’ fa­cil­i­ties are sim­i­lar to the men’s but there’s an ad­di­tional tiled slab op­po­site the basins. The wall above the basins has a mir­ror the en­tire length of the slab.

The fam­ily bath­room has a bath, toi­let, basin with a mir­ror, hooks against the wall, and a nar­row slab for chang­ing nap­pies and baby­grows.

There is a wheelchair ramp out­side the bath­rooms, but in­side it’s not wheelchairor dis­abled-friendly.

The porta-potti’s emp­ty­ing point is on the side of the build­ing.

The sec­ond ablu­tion block is closer to the en­trance and the lay­out in­side and out­side is sim­i­lar to the first block, but the men’s and ladies’ sides each have their own en­trance. There are also cur­tains in front of the shower cu­bi­cles and there are two fam­ily bath­rooms. There is no ramp for wheel­chairs.

Hike or bike

Drie Berge has trails for ad­ven­ture lovers – one for hik­ers and one that’s shared be­tween hik­ers and cy­clists. The trails are clearly marked so don’t worry, you won’t have to miss out on sun­down­ers be­cause

If the pool beck­ons, you have to walk back to the re­cep­tion of­fice. All the ac­tiv­i­ties in the re­sort are on the river side of the re­cep­tion of­fice.

you ac­ci­den­tally took a wrong turn some­where.

The hik­ing trail – or rather climb­ing trail – to the top of Ou­berg is def­i­nitely not for the un­fit. You climb a good 200 m within a mat­ter of 1,2 km. The wind­ing path through indige­nous trees will give your calves a proper work­out. Com­ing down isn’t ex­actly eas­ier and your knees will be tested to the limit against the in­cline. The skew marula tree at the top is a sign that you’ve made it… but it’s all worth it be­cause you have a 360º view over the land­scape around you.

The short­est route to the top starts at the end of the camp, just past stand num­ber 1, but you have to wait un­til 6 am for the gates to open. It’s best to at­tempt this trail, on the west­ern slope of the moun­tain, early in the morn­ing oth­er­wise the af­ter­noon sun will grill you.

You can also start on the 5 km hik­ing or cy­cling trail at the camp and do it >

clock­wise or anti-clock­wise. If you do the lat­ter, fol­low the trail along the river, past the re­cep­tion of­fice, to the main en­trance, where you’ll start climb­ing Ou­berg. Up to here it’s even ground and it’s an easy stroll for young and old. From the main en­trance you start as­cend­ing Ou­berg to 86 m above the start­ing point. From here the path runs along the west­ern slope of the moun­tain and then past the camp­site it starts go­ing down to­wards the river and ends at the camp­site. The slope isn’t as steep as the sum­mit route, but the rocky path makes the climb dif­fi­cult in some places. Hik­ers as well as cy­clists will have to watch out for each other. There are quite a few blind turns, es­pe­cially against the moun­tain­side, and the path is mostly nar­row and there’s a chance that cy­clists can bump into each other or run over a hiker. Or roll down the slope.

It would have been safer if the trail ran only in one di­rec­tion.

Play time

If the pool beck­ons, you have to walk back to the re­cep­tion of­fice. All the ac­tiv­i­ties in the re­sort are on the river side of the re­cep­tion of­fice, on a patch of land as big as two rugby fields. Here you can kick balls, splash in the pool, swing in a tyre, climb on the jun­gle gym, and even hit some balls on the ten­nis court. You can hire rugby balls (R20) and ten­nis rack­ets (R10).

Next to the build­ing is a large porch with benches and ta­bles fac­ing the river. This is where you play pool, darts or ta­ble ten­nis (R10), and when it’s rugby sea­son there’s a big-screen TV.

Day vis­i­tors are wel­come (but only if they book) and can braai or have a pic­nic be­tween the trees and en­joy free use of all the fa­cil­i­ties.

If you left your gro­ceries at home, the shop will only be able to help so much. There are ba­sic goodies such as 500 g salt (R11), Aro­mat (R25), tin foil (R20) and wash­ing pow­der (R15). You’ll be able to light a fire, though (wood costs R20 and fire­lighters R25) but if you want meat and

EV­ERY­THING IN ORDER. You’ll have to search far and wide to find cleaner bath­room fa­cil­i­ties than th­ese. The camp­site is tree-lined and the fish­ing prospects are good. For your own safety, do not for­get about the threat of croc­o­diles lurk­ing in the wa­ter. And it’s highly rec­om­mended to avoid the river­bank after 6 pm.

some­thing stronger than cooldrink you’ll have to drive the 7 km to Brits.

The laun­dry, with two top-load­ers and one tum­ble dryer, is next to the re­cep­tion of­fice’s en­trance. There is also a clothes basin and an iron­ing board. It’s R10 a bun­dle and you can pay at the of­fice. Just re­mem­ber to bring your own wash­ing pow­der.

FEEL THE BURN. Al­though the hik­ing and cy­cling route is a mere 5 km long, you’ll get a thor­ough work­out. All you have to do is fol­low the signs and you’ll def­i­nitely not get lost. It helps if you’re fit too.

TURQUOISE BLUE. The swim­ming pool is right in the mid­dle of the play­ground, and you and the kids can also swing, jump, climb, kick a ball or sim­ply just pic­nic on the green grass un­der large shade trees. .

Drika de It’s Mar­ius and in Beer from Swartk­lip time Lim­popo’s first Berge. camp­ing at Drie here – it’s We are re­ally en­joy­ing it al­ways nice in the Bushveld. of the We en­joy the tran­quil­lity camp and the so­cia­bil­ity. We’ll And the fish­ing in the...

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