Anysberg: Silence is calling

2013-02-13 18:06

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SHUT UP! I shouted. SHUT UP!... Shut up!... shut up! The hills echoed back.

Then there was silence - the thick, warm silence that you find in the Klein Karoo.

In the Anysberg Nature Reserve you can hear the silence. It is sunset and  I sit on the 2m high wall of the cement dam The shadow of my glass of red wine stretches out over the veld.  We have just cooled down in the dam and were lounging like lizards on the warm cement. The road to reach the reserve is not nice for sensitive ones with sensible cars. It is dusty and bumpy and slow. But the reward is immense.

Stretched out along rugged mountains and gentle hills makes it perfect for stargazing or simply heading out on an easy horse trail.

The silence is absolute and the pool's water is refreshing, bringing my numb backside back to life as I dive-bombed into the deep black water.

The reserve

The 62 500ha Anysberh Nature Reserve lies in the Karoo, 70km from Laingsburg and Ladismith and about four hours from Cape Town. Managed by Cape Nature the reserve is stretched out along rugged mountains and gentle hills and  is home to a selection of wild animals such as gemsbok, the rare Cape mountain zebra, red hartebeest, jackal and caracal. Leopards roam the higher areas. Reptiles are represented by five types of tortoises, snakes and lizards. Bird lover, you will be kept busy: there are almost 180 bird species to tick off your list. Vegetation in the reserve varies from Cape fynbos to succulents and Karoo shrubs. Springtime the veld is awash with luminous bright pink and yellow patches  of wild flowers.



Anysberg Nature Reserve's chalets are set on the valley floor surrounded by Karee trees.

Staying

The main site consists of five chalets and a sparkling ablution block (with hot water, crispy hand towels and soap) set next to a huge lawn and some indigenous karee trees. Four chalets share the communal bathrooms, but Agama has its own bathroom.

The chalets have a well-equipped (photo) kitchen-lounge with inside Jetmaster fireplace, as stove, fridge  and an outside braai. Cleaning products, crockery, cutlery, braai grid and an assortment of cast iron pots round off the culinary equipment. There are no power only  solar-powered lighting. Bedrooms have firm foam beds with duvets, pillows and extra blankets and a collection of toiletries were arranged on a stack of crispy towels. Black and white nature photos printed on canvas adorn the walls. Simple, clean and rustic.





Silence please!

The campsite is  a few hundred meters from the chalets near the office.Campers can set up tents on the huge lawn surrounded by eucalyptus and karee trees. There are taps but no power points. A new ablution block has hot showers and toilets.

Doing

A two-day hiking track leading up to Tapfontein is the biggest attraction as well as the stargazing outings and two-day horse trails staying. The wooden huts at Tapfontein can be used by 4x4'ers, mountain bikers, riders or hikers and has no power or bedding, but has hot showers, kitchen and lapa area for braai. Stargazing walks or outrides with the horses are best done on moonless nights and is obviously weather dependant. At the observation platform near the office guided stargazing with a telescope is available or you can join an outride with a guide to see more of the universe above.



The 'pool' is actually a deep cement dam, refreshing cool on a summer's day.


Bring mountain bikes (with patching kits) and comfortable shoes and set out in the veld to explore the vegetation and spot the smaller animals of the area. Book a horse ride for an hour or two or just vegetate in the shade of the reed covering on the elevated wooden deck by the pool. Mountain bikes and kayaks for paddling on the dam can also be rented.  The ultimate attraction of Anysberg, however, is the vasteness, the space.


Later that night I was woken by a strange light streaming in through the window. Outside it was a moonless night, but the Milkyway was like a gravel road, leaving trail of white dust over the broad expanse on the night sky. And somewhere, beyond, a jackal moaned into the night.


Remember

- Cell phone reception is patchy.
- Fill up with fuel before you set off to Anysberg.
- There are no fuelpumps or shops at Anysberg.
- Bring binoculars
- The minimum stay is two nights.


Read more on:    travel south africa
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