Ezemvelo weekend


We wanted to take a little breakaway for a weekend in January. It’s been a while since we have camped with my trailer.

After searching through the SA 4×4 Community Forum and chatting with a few guys there we decided to go to Ezemvelo.

Ezemvelo Nature reserve’s website says: “Ezemvelo Nature Reserve is the hidden beauty of Gauteng” And this is spot on. I am so glad we have discovered this little nature reserve outside Bronkhorstspruit. We will go back there many more times in the future.

We invited Stella and Amy with as well, Graham and Yolandi’s children.

Obviously, the children were VERY excited about this adventure. We bought Stella and Amy some headlamps as they didn’t have, you should have seen their faces. They couldn’t go to sleep the first evening, just wanted to test out their headlamps. This made me think back many years ago to my first torch that I got from my mom and dad. It was a red one, made of plastic and it took two big batteries. That evening my dad just couldn’t get us to go to sleep in our 13 feet Jurgens caravan.  

Ezemvelo is an hour’s drive from our house in Pretoria, 89 km’s to be exact.

We were pleasantly surprised when we got there. There is plenty of game. Nothing like the big 5, or any really dangerous animals, just lots of impala, zebra, bushbuck, Eland, waterbuck, kudu, that kind of animals.

After a quick check-in, we were on our way to the campsites under the beautiful big trees.

We were warned beforehand about the bad roads and lots of monkeys, but we didn’t find any of the two a real big problem. (On the Saturday Ezemvelo even had a person working the whole day at the campsites just to keep those pesky monkeys away)

We set up camp next to a group of dads that brought their sons on a father-son weekend.

We had a lot of special recipes planned for the weekend. I searched for something different in the “WEG Kuierkos.”

We decided to make a Parmesan and chicken pasta in our cast iron pot on Saturday evening.

On Friday evening we were going to braai some pork chops marinated in balsamic vinegar and sweet chilli, with Surika’s special braaibrootjies of course.

The setting up of the camp went quickly, we have added Miya’s sleeping room extension on the Echo 4 trailer again, It is a little bit more work, but MUCH more comfortable. And with her two extra friends the weekend we were going to need it.

Timothy also bought a new tent in the week and was eager to try it out

There was however a quick change in the weather and it started raining, no braai for us tonight. We went to bed with a hotdog each.

We woke up to some beautiful sunshine on Saturday, and decided to braai for breakfast. (The first time I saw Surika with pyjamas at a braai! The pork chops were delicious.

Miya and Amy caught a shongololo and we tried to defrost some tomatoes that froze in the fridge. Our 72 l National Luna’s probe that regulated the temperature packed up. So after we have set the temperature for the fridge side at 3 degrees C on Friday evening we woke up on saturday and it was -20 degrees celsius. Everything frozen that should’t be frozen. PS: Defrosting tomatoes doesn’t work.

After the breakfast braai we drove around, the wide open green fields were really beautiful. We saw lots of animals as well.

We stopped next to a river and the kids played on the rocks and in the water. (The grown-ups as well)

When we got back we couldn’t resist the inviting cool water of the swimming pool. Surika taught us how to play Marco Polo. Awesome game…if the kids didn’t cheat as much. There were a lot of German people in the pool as well that camped the weekend. Before long everyone was shouting: “Marco Polo, Marco Polo”

The three girls had R100-00 spending money each. They decided to buy little dolls and big pink bottles of water with it. (Talk about catchy packaging, Miya doesn’t even drink water)   Whilst Stella and Amy managed their money very well, especially Amy, the same can unfortunately not be said about my little girl. It seems as if she has inherited some of her dad’s bad spending habits!

The Saturday evening we were JUST finished with our parmesan and tomato chicken pasta when it started raining again. We all sat in our tent and ate our supper.

I decided to get up early on Sunday to photograph the sunrise. I identified a nice place already on our drive on Saturday and have marked it on my GPS.

At 05:00 I was up and in my FJ with my cameras. The light was beautiful. It was so awesome to sit in this beautiful landscape and see how the sun rises over the hills that seem to go on forever. Slowly the landscaped changed from dark to gold. I enjoyed the quietness and solitude of the moment. Just me, my FJ and my camera. Man, this is life. I can do this daily.

When I drove back I even saw two small jackals sitting on the road, not moving, just watching me. I just looked at them through my binoculars, not wanting to make a move to get my camera, scared I am going to spoil the moment and chase them away.

Back at camp we made some coffee and breakfast.

Miya and Amy climbed some trees.

Surika taking a break.

Our weekend was over, The kids went swimming and Surika and I took some time to pack everything back exactly the way we want it. Somehow it is always a challenge to see if we can pack it better and more compact than the last time.

It was the last time we camped in my trailer before it’s going to LA Sport Pretoria East for some changes: Extra cupboards built in at the kitchen side, new Al-Ko stabilising feet, a sliding drawer at the back and a new Victron BMV 712 Smart to accurately measure our battery life and electricity consumption. This is so vital when camping for days on end where there is no electricity. This is one of the steps I am taking to get my trailer truly ready for off-road camping electricity wise.The process started last year with the installation of the two deep cycle batteries and solar regulator and the installation of a 1200 W Victron True sine wave inverter. I also installed outside plugs on the trailer. Next will be a serious solar upgrade.

Coordinates: S25.70827° E28.93005°

Cost for the weekend. 3 grown ups and 3 kids with two cars were R1170.00

Their website: Ezemvelo Nature Reserve

Is it worth it: Absolutely