SLOW Magazine - - Must Go -

The High­lands Me­an­der Re­gion of Mpumalanga is one of the best-kept se­crets in South Africa. A unique swathe of Mpumalanga set high on the es­carp­ment, un­like any other area in the prov­ince. It is a re­gion of wav­ing grasses that go on for as far as the eye can see, of craggy es­carp­ment walls, stun­ning moun­tain passes, thun­der­ing water­falls, en­chant­ing forests, and crys­tal clear streams.

For many peo­ple, it is the ‘Gate­way to the Lowveld’, a land­mark to pass on the route be­tween Gaut­eng and the North­ern prov­inces of Mpumalanga and Lim­popo, some­where to drive through rather than to stop and visit. Those who yearn for one of the most scenic des­ti­na­tions in the coun­try, and are pre­pared to ven­ture a lit­tle off the beaten track to ex­plore this un­der­val­ued re­gion, will find a host of in­cred­i­ble sites and beau­ti­ful at­trac­tions.

Be­yond the Highveld Me­an­der lies the towns of Hoedspruit and Pha­l­aborwa, nes­tled be­low the Klein Drak­ens­berg (Lit­tle Drak­ens­berg) in the Mopani District of the Lim­popo prov­ince, where tourism and wildlife play a dom­i­nant role in the econ­omy of the re­gion. As the only town in South Africa that bor­ders the Kruger Na­tional Park, Pha­l­aborwa is all but en­sconced by na­ture con­ser­van­cies. One such con­ser­vancy is the Maseke Balule Game Re­serve, home to the Sun Des­ti­na­tions prop­erty of Chacma Bush Camp. to pin­point a spe­cific rea­son for this, but I am con­vinced that the ex­pe­ri­enced staff at Chacma, and the sin­cere fa­mil­ial ease by which guests are wel­comed, en­ter­tained, guided, and sus­tained un­doubt­edly has a role to play.

Hugged by Mopane wood­lands – which draw a sig­nif­i­cant amount of wildlife to the camp, Chacma seems al­most to be the cen­tre of at­ten­tion for ele­phants, Bush­buck, Kudu, and plains game, which are reg­u­larly spot­ted in the wood­lands ad­ja­cent the camp. There is a nat­u­ral wa­ter­logged area in front of the camp, which pro­vides wildlife with much-needed re­plen­ish­ment dur­ing the heat of the day. Where other lodges en­deav­our to main­tain a safe dis­tance be­tween guests and na­ture, this morass can be viewed from the com­fort of the deck area sur­round­ing the swim­ming pool, or from one of the rooms over­look­ing the area.

The ac­com­mo­da­tion at Chacma Bush Camp com­prises of three rus­tic thatched chalets, all en suite, with lounge and out­door ar­eas in each. Klip­springer Chalet sleeps two and is per­fectly suited to cou­ples want­ing a ro­man­tic get­away. The large, open plan room is spa­cious and re­laxed, with all ameni­ties and mod­ern comforts avail­able. If yours is still a grow­ing fam­ily (up to three), Grys­bok Chalet has two sep­a­rate rooms – one fur­nished with a dou­ble bed and one with a sin­gle – and a fully fit­ted kitchen for self-cater­ing pur­poses. At the top end of the scale, Steen­bok Chalet (sleeps two adults and two chil­dren) is an ex­cel­lent op­tion for a small fam­ily. There is one main bed­room with en suite fa­cil­i­ties, and a sleeper couch in the liv­ing room.

Con­sid­er­ing that Chacma is rel­a­tively far off the beaten track, meal­time is a par­tic­u­larly wel­come sur­prise. Main­tain­ing am­ple fresh sup­plies is a chal­lenge in the bush, yet the Chacma culi­nary team en­sures that each need is ful­filled. For­ward plan­ning is a re­quire­ment, so it is best to en­sure that Chacma man­age­ment is made aware of any al­ler­gies or spe­cific di­etary re­quests be­fore your ar­rival. on the wildlife front. As the Maseke Balule Game Re­serve is lo­cated near the con­flu­ence of the Ga-se­lati- and the Oli­fants rivers, the area of­fers a di­verse land­scape and many ca­sual sight­ings of most of the Big Five.

Preda­tors, espe­cially, abound in the re­serve and in­clude lion, leop­ard, hyena, chee­tah, and a pack of African wild dog. Ele­phant, gi­raffe, hippo, buf­falo, and rhino are reg­u­larly spot­ted on sa­fari, while more com­monly spot­ted game such as ze­bra, im­pala, kudu, gnu, wa­ter­buck, bush­buck, duiker, and steen­bok are in abun­dance. For bird­ers, the Kruger habi­tat is well known for its water birds, in­clud­ing herons, storks, plovers, spoon­bills, and sand­pipers. Ori­oles, robins, chats, larks, cis­ti­co­las, and cou­cals are some of the veld and wood­land birds spot­ted in the area; while birds of prey are seen and heard through­out the day.

Ul­ti­mately, one seeks out na­ture in an at­tempt to re­move your­self – even for a short time – from the hus­tle and bus­tle of the city. Un­touched and un­spoilt, the Chacma Bush Camp ex­pe­ri­ence de­liv­ers on this ideal, while bring­ing the re­ju­ve­na­tion that only Mother Africa can pro­vide, to the whole fam­ily.

For more in­for­ma­tion on this wildlife par­adise, please visit their web­site www.chacmabush­

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