Day hike to MBONA – Exclusive Private Game Park
28 Jan 2007
Report and pics by Dave Sclanders
Sunday morning saw a large number of Midlands Hiking Club members meeting at the entrance to Mbona Private Game Park . Andrew and Joan Templeton’s, members of our club, and owners of a lovely cottage on this private estate had organized for the club to have access, and spend a day at Mbona. After an introduction , and “rules of play” for the day by Andrew and Joan , we set off . The reserve has many kilometers of hiking path that is very well kept, and easy to walk.
The hike cut through open grasslands, natural bush and all the while giving panoramic views of the many private homes as well as the numerous dams in the area.. Some time later we ended up at the main centre of the estate. A large dam with a shady picnic area, boat houses , toilets and running water. Here our tea break was enjoyed, and it was not long before a number of our members were seen swimming into the distance. “Maybe they were trying to swim back to the cars – who knows” Meanwhile all around us resident families and friends were enjoying the water and the lovely day.
From here it was back onto the path and heading for Joan’s and Andrew’s cottage. Passing big and small private residences. One family were busy with a braai , but declined to invite us in – wonder why ? Down steep sloped valleys , sweated in the humidity at the bottom, climbed up the other side , all through natural bush as well as planted plantations. The lunch break at the cottage was very much enjoyed by all , especially the many cups of tea available from the kitchen. The only disappointing thing was that we were not allowed and “afternoon snooze” in the main bedroom !!!!
By the end of lunch time , the sun was really out and hot, and some of the intrepid hikers were now looking for a lift back to the cars. No luck , instead we hiked through kilometers of deep indigenous bush . Slipping and sliding on the damp soil underfoot, and grabbing onto tree stems for a hand. Bird noises followed us all afternoon as we wound our way through the very pleasant cool shadows of the forest.
Later we came out of the forest , into the sun, and a little way down the path was a water delivery pipe for the “Fire Fighting” units in winter. Soon a number of heads and “Bods” were cooled by the water from the upright pipe and hose. Down a very winding path, and back to the cars.
A most enjoyable day. Thanks to Andrew and Joan for making this possible. A hike anyone can do , and thoroughly enjoy.