Today's ride is a longish one through an area where there are little or no accommodation for nature tourists, so bite the bullet and push through to the park and know the destination will make up for the longish and sometimes boring drive. Apart from all the other offerings of Golden Gate, it offers a wonderful stop on the way to the three Capes.
Pretoria, the city of departure, offers the nature tourist quite a number of places to visit, namely the National zoo, the largest zoo in Africa. This zoo is really something and if you are into zoos, this is a must-see for you.
Others are the Austen Roberts bird reserve and the National Botanical Gardens.
Clarens. Ok, so here it is. The fun town of the Free State where lots of people go from the home province, as well as others from Gauteng. And then, of course all those from Europe, America Asia and elsewhere who discovered South Africa as a prime destination. Here you can choose from a whole lot of restaurants, offering a wide variety of dishes. Here all the initiative lacking in other towns have come together to create a little town with wonderfully tourism-centered ideas and small businesses.
Golden Gate, where we will sleep tonight. We chose the Basutu Cultural Village instead of camping for the night, since we wanted to experience the Cultural Village. We expected something very rustic and maybe somewhat ramshackle, but were pleasantly surprised with the luxury of the rondawel accommodation. Definitely a lot of cuts above some other so-called Cultural Villages we have seen and experienced before. To top it all, we were the only visitors there and we had the whole place for ourselves. To satisfy visitors' need to learn more of the culture of the Basutu people, they have a central place where one can experience their traditions.
Although one will be able to stay here for a week without having to repeat an activity, we are headed towards the Capes and we will postpone a long visit here for another time. Maybe a week in winter when we can stay at one of the mountain huts when we can enjoy the snowcovered mountain vistas.
A new vulture Hide has been opened in the park near the existing vulture restaurant. Here the highly endangered Bearded Vulture as well as the Cape Vulture can be seen and photographed.
A popular challenge takes place yearly around October when participants cover some 73km with the well-known Ribbok hiking trail forming a large part of the route. This trail run is widely accepted as one of the toughest runs in the country.
To read more and to make reservations, visit their website http://www.sanparks.org/parks/golden_gate/default.php.