It’s all too easy to dismiss the Magaliesberg as an insignificant row of hills, but mountaineers know and revere its hidden forests and criss-crossing gorges, each a wonderland of hanging gardens, quartzitic walls, waterfalls and boulder-flanked pools. Best of all is Tonquani, the home from home of Gauteng rock climbers and nature lovers.
Stop at the top of the Tierkloof in the Kgaswane Mountain Reserve at Rustenberg and make your way down to the rock pools. Formed in the quartz above the Tierkloof Waterfall, they are like private spa baths with spectacular views.
The mighty Kruger National Park was first proclaimed as the ‘Sabie Game Reserve’ in 1898 by the president of the Transvaal Republic, Paul Kruger. Although he first proposed the need to protect the Lowveld animals in 1884, his revolutionary vision took another 12 years to be realized. Only in 1916 with the appointment of the Game Reserves Commission was the possibility of tourism raised for the first time, then on 31 May 1926 the National Parks Act was announced, and with it the merging of the Sabie and Shingwedzi Game Reserves into the Kruger National Park. The first motorists entered the park in 1927 for a fee of one pound.
In 1928 the provision of amenities for tourists commenced with the construction of the first ‘rest huts’, which were built at Satara, Pretoriuskop and Skukuza (then still known as Reserve or Sabie Bridge), but it was only in 1939 that the luxury of hot water was installed, on condition that gents were only entitled to hot and cold showers, and that hot bathing water for ladies was only available daily between 5 and 9pm.
From such humble beginnings, today the Kruger National Park is the largest game reserve in South Africa. A wildlife sanctuary like no other, it is considered the crown jewel of the country’s national parks, and is rated as the ultimate safari experience.
Take a look at early memories of the Kruger National Park, then visit the WhereToStay.co.za Kruger Park Mpumalanga Game Reserve Accommodation page to see accommodation options on offer.
Kruger National Park 1931 – Photo via wildcard.co.za
In the early years of the Kruger National Park there was limited accommodation in the form of rondavels, and so camping played a major role. As early as 1931, only five years after the proclamation of the park in 1926, the board acquired the first six ‘cottage tents’ for Satara and Skukuza. Purchases rapidly increased, and by the mid-1930’s several hundred tents were in use in the larger rest camps, such as Pretoriuskop, Skukuza, Satara and Letaba. Many tourists also pitched their own tents, and the congenial atmosphere created by campers and open fires provided a very special experience for early visitors.
Info via wildcard.co.za
Kruger National Park 1930’s – Photo via wildcard.co.za
Flanked by Devil’s Peak and Lion’s Head, Table Mountain is probably South Africa’s most recognisable icon. It broods over one of the world’s most beautiful cities and every day hundreds of people rotate to the top in a cable car; the more energetic walk up. The view from up there – on a clear day – is breathtaking. But it’s more than a pretty mountain to look at.
Up the Cableway
For the most spectacular ride of your life, climb aboard the Cableway. It’ll take two minutes to reach the top of Table Mountain and the cable car revolves as it climbs, giving you 360° views over the city and the Peninsula. There are paved paths to walk along when you reach the top.
Instead of the stock-standard Table Mountain tourist route of Cableway to restaurant and back down again, go a little further and do something different. Pack a picnic and take an easy 5.5km walk from the cable car to Maclear’s Beacon, the highest point of the mountain; it should take you about an hour to get there and you’ll be far from the crowds. Just remember not the walk up when the mountain’s shrouded in cloud – it’ll be cold, windy and miserable up there.