What do you do for a summer holiday break?
Well we planned a camping trip to Gamkaberg Nature Reserve, tucked away in the mountains between Oudtshoorn and Calitzdorp, where the summer temperature easily soars to 40˚ C during summer. Arriving at reception and while checking in with the helpful staff I glanced at the visitors book and noticed that we were the first campers in over a week. Really not a favoured destination for the summer holidays!
After buying wood from Willem at reception we set off via the 4×4 trail climbing up Lawsons Pass to Bakenskop at 1105 meter (which were our highest elevation) to enjoy lunch in the cool breeze and enjoy the views from the top.
Arriving at Oukraal we found that the facilities really exceeded all our expectations. The camping huts and stone shelter, providing cover against the relentless sun, were spotlessly clean. No wonder I noticed an award in reception which proudly displayed best camp of Cape Nature.
During our stay we were rewarded with some breathtaking sunsets and one night we experienced an electrical storm that left my jaw dropping – way better than any New Year’s firework show can ever be. Standing in the dark and watching the display I once again realized what a mighty God we serve!
We took early morning drives in search for elusive animals like eland and zebra and watched little critters coming to peep at us in curiosity during the heat of the day. We were lucky enough to also see some really prominent cat spoor which can either be caracal or the very shy leopard.
These sit downs to photograph the small creatures first of all tests your patience and secondly your toughness in the Karoo sun. Well, I did not last that long … This is surely their world where I am the visitor.
We thoroughly enjoyed the peace and quiet with no cell phone reception and having the whole reserve to ourselves as we have not seen any other visitors during our stay. The only thing to worry about is to defrost the meat that you want to braai tonight! Just a quick reminder: you have to be self sufficient if you want to camp here.
As we were leaving the reserve I was pondering on the fact that maybe we are not the “normal” kind of family that choose to have a sea holiday, but rather come to the bush for a different experience during the heat of the summer.