Our weekend away at Ezemvelo Nature Reserve

Last weekend we went away as a family for the first time.

While we’ve taken many mini-vacations before, we’ve never been anywhere where it was just the five of us.

Last year, HB and I went to Ezemvelo Nature Reserve for a getaway. We chose to stay in one of their Mountain Huts, which you can guess, is located on a mountain.

We had such an amazing experience there, we decided that when we do decide to go on a trip again, we’d definitely take the kids with us.

And so we did.

A little more about Ezemvelo Nature Reserve:

The reserve is situated in Bronkhorstpruit, Gauteng. With the different types of accommodation, it’s easy to find the best suited and budget-friendly place for your getaway.

You can enjoy scenic game drives all over the reserve, and if you’d like to, you can choose to go on a game/night drive with rangers for an educated tour of your surroundings, wildlife and birds.

They also offered guided tours to visitors for a more intense exploration of the reserve.

There are also various hiking trails to go on, which are quite popular among visitors, those staying at the reserve as well as day visitors.

There are a few activities to keep you busy as well; putt-putt, fishing, a swimming pool and a playground for children. All these are situation at the reception area of the reserve.

The chalets and camping area are also in the vicinity of the reception area, while the Mountain Huts and River Camp are situated deeper in the reserve.

There is a shop on the premises that stocks basic items such as snacks, cool drinks, basic toiletries and wood; everything else you’ll need for the duration of your stay, you’ll need to bring with.

Note: the reserve doesn’t have a liquor license, so no alcohol is sold on the premises.

The Mountain Huts have fully equipped kitchens, with a gas stove and a gas fridge, but no electricity.

For information about the rest of the accommodation, you can contact the reserve.

Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t in our favour and we had rain the first evening of our stay. We arrived early enough to make dinner on the fire, and just as we had everyone in bed, the thunder and lightning rolled in with rain.

When we just arrived at the Mountain Huts, we quickly unpacked our belongings and took the kids to explore the surroundings.

We arrived just in time to watch the sunset, and sadly, it was the first and last sunset of the weekend as we had cloudy weather the rest of the weekend. We didn’t even get to watch the sunrises.

I love the simplicity of the Mountain Huts. There is just the bare minimum, just enough of what you need to sleep and eat, and nothing more. So different to our every day life; with rooms that never stay clean, laundry that stays piled up, toys and books covering the floors. Breaking away from the complex lifestyle we live was like a breath of fresh air.

I didn’t miss the little luxuries we have at home; cellphone reception, a TV, even electricity because there are ways to come by without it. (I wouldn’t go full-time without power, but ‘switching’ off for a few days isn’t terrible.)

You really appreciate the little things in life when you don’t have the distractions surrounding you.

Our first day started off with a good breakfast, everyone taking a shower (outside in a separate little hut) and getting dressed to head off on our first game drive.

Once we were back at the Hut, the boys went exploring again. Imaginations were flaring.

Before lunchtime, HB went to take a nap. The wind picked up a little more so I called the boys inside. We spent time together, singing songs and colouring in until lunch time.

We spent the rest of the afternoon at our Hut, telling stories and connecting again without referencing anything back to life at home.

The next morning was the same; breakfast followed by a game drive.

Back at the, after lunch, the kids and I went to explore a little again while HB took a nap. When the wind picked up again, we went inside. The kids kept busy with drawing and I took some time to dive into my book.

We decided to go to the river a little later on as the wind cleared up and we wanted to show the kids the only other part of the reserve we hadn’t been too. The road was closed to vehicles so we decided to walk. It’s about a 3km walk and it’s not a straight path so it felt like we were walking for a long time where actually it wasn’t that bad.

When we got to the entrance of the road to the River Camp, we saw a few cars standing at the bottom, and figured that there might be a private function and that’s why no one was allowed to go there. I only found out the next day we were actually go to the river, the road was just closed off to day visitors to not disturb anyone staying at the River Camp and using the braai facilities there.

Oh well, the scenic walk wasn’t all in vain.

The only thing we didn’t get to do was go swimming because of the weather, and as Murphy would have it, on our last morning, the sun came out.

It was a great weekend to just break away from everything and everyone. No bustle of city life, no noise, no distractions. Nothing to keep us distracted from the beauty and tranquility surrounding us, and from each other.

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