28 April 2011

Camping at Salmonsdam Nature Reserve

Salmonsdam Nature Reserve is approximately 150km out of Cape Town. There are two routes that can be taken from Cape Town but the route I chose allowed us to pass through beautiful Hermanus. The reserve is 834ha in size and comprises of beautiful mountainous landscapes renowned for its bird life (more than 120 bird species), fynbos, waterfalls, various antelope like the Bontebok and Klip-Springer. Baboons and other mammals are also present within the reserve. There is no river close to the camp site for swimming, so the only other option is a cement pool which I decided against. The reserve also boasts three amazing hiking trails which are highly recommended for all visitors.

We arrived at the camp site in the mid afternoon. The weather was cool, with minimal sunlight and lots of cloud cover. The sites of the surrounding mountains and hills were breathtaking to say the least. My girlfriend, Rafeeka organised an amazing tent as the one I had apparently never met minimal standards lol. Pitching the tents was quick and easy and in under an hour we had two huge tents setup, a "kitchen/storage tent" and an eating area under a gazibo. My friend Faghrie was kind enough to organise all the lighting we needed to light up our camp site since there was no power available. We were all set. Steaks, chops and sausage were on the menu for dinner. 

Relaxing around the fire, listening to the cool sounds of Bob Marley and a sky lit up by millions of stars was exactly what the doctor ordered. Dinner was served at about 9, a lil later than the norm, but hey I wasn't complaining. Kudos to Woolworths for the best Garlic and Parsley rolls I have ever had! It amazes me how quick time really flies by when you're busy, having fun or both, so before I knew it day 1 had come to an end.

Due to heavy winds and rainfall I was up at 7am, not exactly what I had in mind for my getaway but no point in complaining to mother nature. The ground was wet and the weather was unpleasant but I was in no way going to let this minor change affect my mood. Scrambled eggs, fried sausage, green peppers and fried mushrooms were on the menu for breakfast. Unhealthy I know, but so darn good! Despite the fact that there was no available electricity on the camp sites, all showers were equipped with gas heaters. Since the morning was quite wet out, most of the time was spent indoors, but by the afternoon the weather had cleared up and we decided to do one of the three hikes. We chose the Waterfall hike which is approximately 3km and absolutely beautiful. The hike took us through thick fynbos, indigenous trees and ended up at a breath-taking waterfall, making the hike ever so worth it. The hike completely tired me out so the rest of the evening was spent roasting marshmallows over a fire being prepared for a late night braai. 

Three days was definitely way too short and I would love to go back as soon as I could to complete the other 2 hiking trails and maybe even mountain bike up one of the 4x4 routes. I must admit that one of the things I loved most about this camp site was that despite the large area made available for campers, only 11 site were allocated. Which means that you have ample space between camp sites as apposed to feeling cramped by other campers. Also, listening to the rain pour over our tent, wild cats fighting in the background and the fear of baboons or Bontebok visiting our camp site during the night added so much more to our experience in the wild. . I would definitely recommend adding Salmonsdam Nature Reserve to your 'To Do' list.

I've added a Google Maps link below with easy directions to the Salmonsdam Nature Reseve

Salmonsdam Nature Reserve (directions)