This weekend was another impromptu trip with no particular plan other than to camp. Call it the Friday itch,’ or the relentless urge to ‘pack up and go’ and to make the most of our weekend!
We decided to head towards the South Coast and to explore Lake Eland and the Oribi Gorge area. We packed our tent and gear and bundled the kids into the car once again.
Since we’d left late, we arrived late at Lake Eland and had little time before the sun would set. We were in a rush to set up camp and to get the fire going! But when we arrived at Lake Eland, I immediately noticed that though it was in a beautiful area, it was really not our idea of camping. The campsite overlooked a small dam and was right next to a large restaurant and playground. The campsites were divided up into neat, identical cubicles overlooking a fairly built up area. Though this might appeal to some campers, it quickly helped me identify exactly what it is I look for in a campsite and why I camp! I camp to ‘get away,’ and to get closer to nature.
Just before I was about to suggest we find somewhere else to go, we were told about a campsite at the actual Lake Eland but to camp there, there must be 8 in our group. The reason for this is that it is ‘remote’ and that there is ‘safety in numbers’ in case something goes wrong.
Lucky for us, there were other campers booked that night. Altogether, we made up more than 8 people and camping at the ‘lake’ became possible.
Lake Eland Campsite
Though the campsite is surrounded by stunning scenery and is well organised, we still felt like we were camping in cubicles on a mass camping estate! I noticed my neighbours – thankfully with the good grace to set up camp two cubicles down – were all equipped with many fishing rods and with all the fishing bling, bling a fisherman could hope for. It quickly became apparent that this campsite is geared up for the ‘serious fisherman!’
My son suddenly pulled out his remote control speed boat and I wondered, after being told at reception ‘no speed boats,’ whether a toy speed boat falls under the same category as a real one?! We told him to keep the boat in our bay and out of sight! Thankfully the high pitched noise of the engine was drowned out by the nearby zip liners, all squealing in delight…or fear, I’m not sure. Nevertheless, it got us thinking. Maybe there are bigger and better reasons for visiting Lake Eland other than camping!
Fishing at Lake Eland
We decided to do what most people do when they come to Lake Eland….Zip-line!
We told our kids that if they’d like, they could Zip-line the longest zip line in Africa (true) and that while it might be super duper scary at times, it might also be one of the most fun and insane things they have done to date! Genes came into play and they both immediately agreed to zip off a cliff at 100 kilometers per hour!
“What would you do if you weren’t afraid?” – Spence Johnson
We completed the 14 Zip-line course that zipped across pristine forest, over an entire gorge (at 100 km per hour), over water and through a tunnel. The first thing our kids said on completion was ‘when can we go again?’ I think we may have some adrenaline junkies in the making! We were especially lucky this day in that it was ‘Friendship day’ and the tickets were 2 for 1, costing the four of us only R980. The kids went in tandem with the guides. (At no extra cost) The usual rate is R490 per person.
For Lake Eland Zip-lining specials, check out the Lake Eland Game Reserve Facebook page.
“The most amazing moments have happened when I allowed myself to lean into the discomfort.” – Jodi Payne
Afterwards, we went to the Leopard Rock Restaurant that boasts a spectacular view of the Umzimkulu River. It’s also home to the famous Leopard Rock on which tourists hide their terror and shaking white knuckles and attempt to look calm and collected while sitting on a rock that juts out over a cliff, for a selfie! We got the selfie too! Though my drama skills were not as polished as my husband’s and my attempt to lie like an unperturbed leopard on a rock, quite frankly, looked ridiculous and quite unnatural! Unfortunately we visited Leopard Rock on the last day of the ‘fire-break burning season’ and the view was hazy. But it’s a good reason to come back. I suspect Leopards Rock comes with a spectacular sunset too. A wee little gin and tonic while watching the sun go down, sounds mighty fine!
“Actually, the best gift you could have given her was a lifetime of adventures.” – Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland