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