Golden Gate

It is a country of unlimited outdoor posibilities. South Africa is just wonderful for hikers.

We explored one of the smallest National Park, the Golden Gate National Park, for a long weekend. It is nestled in the middle of South Africa at the border to Lesotho, a three hours drive from Jozi.

golden-gate-sonja-rheebok-trail golden-gate-view-rheebok-trail

The names stems from the golden colour of its sound stone.

golden-gate-mushroom-rock

But also the grass is gleaming red-gold in the sunshine.

golden-gate-trail

We did three great day hikes. If you head of from the central valley the landscape is of epic width and great sandstone formations. We hiked on two days in the back valley to the north. That’s how I imagine Africa 2000 years ago: Plenty of Wildebeest, Eland and Rheebok roaming peacefully over the highland.

golden-gate-red-wilds-with-moon

We were alone on all our paths for the first two days before the weekend. And even on the weekend, apart from the direct vicinity of the starting points at Glen Reenen Rest Camp, we didn’t see more than a handful of people. It is good to leave the central valley through which a road is trailing. Because of the imposing mountains on both sides you can hear the road everywhere in this part of the park. But once you are behind the next corner or around the ridge, it is quiet, quiet, quiet. The chalets are booked out early so we opted for the only hotel in the park. It’s operated by the National Park and just recently renovated. Modern,well managed, but not very cosy and the food buffet-style. Clarens is just 20 km away and is a very nice, though touristy little town with some nice restaurants, many art gallerys and a kitsch paradise. If you want to go to the Golden Gate, book early and try to get a place in the marvelous Mountain Retreat, nestled at 2200m like an eagles nest. The houses are beautiful wooden chalets and the view perfect.

golden-gate-mountain-retreat

We just loved the great emptiness and grandness of the nature of the Golden Gate. It is excellent hiking for a few days. The hikes close to the herds of wildebeest and other game are something very special.  A great illusion of freedom in Africa.

golden-gate-sunnies-reinhard golden-gate-sonja-climb golden-gate-sonja-im-wind golden-gate-path-rheebok-trail golden-gate-rheebok-trail-plateau

The full photo album is here:

https://plus.google.com/photos/114988969560173040443/albums/5771411896370829697

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