A Vacation of to Stir The Soul
by Cynthia Taylor
The Golden Gate National Park is a beautiful place to visit; it is situated at the foot hills of the Maluti Mountains. The park itself is to be found in the Northern Free State, it has 11,600 hectares of a very unique environment. It has some of the most beautiful sandstone cliffs, and when the sun shines on them it gives a golden glow, hence why it was named Golden Gate. The timeless beauty of these sandstone cliffs will leave you in awe as you watch them majestically keep a visual watch over the parks rest camp.
The Ribbikkop is the highest peak in the park and you really need to see it at its best when it presents a beautiful tapestry of a variety of colours towards the evening hours. It’s quite an amazing sight to see the colours change from reds to golds and purples, the sight will leave a lasting memory long after you have left the park. There are many unusual rock formations in different colours some russet, purple and ochre. Wind and rain have sculptured them over thousands of years.
Below the cliffs and rock formations are some lovely indigenous trees, with green vegetation and wild flowers to add to the contrast of the background. There are some wonderful hiking trails for the backpacker. Be sure to go in twos or a group for safety.
On my visit to the park a few years ago I was blessed to have seen a variety of wild animals, it a beautiful sight to see a group of Springbok springing into the air and down again, these graceful creatures always make you smile. Zebra, Eland, Blesbok, wildebeest and Oribi, the ugly yet loveable to look at warthog, are some of the other interesting inhabitants of the vast acreage. There are a variety of birds for the bird watcher, look out for the rare bearded Vulture, and you might be lucky to spot a rare bald Ibis, Ostriches, Black Eagles, waterbirds and Jackal Buzzards will delight you on your visit.
The park offers some wonderful game viewing, you can use your own vehicle or go on guided excursions, there are some wonderful night drives, the park also offers video shows and lectures during the school holiday periods. If you are interested in the environment then there are Environmental courses that vary from one to five days, you have such a wonderful opportunity with the perfect environment to learn so much more.
For the more active Tennis and Table Tennis will keep those muscles flexed. Snooker for the less active but equally enjoyable, there is an excellent bowling green for the bowler. Horse Riding is another way to see much of the park’s beauty.
The park offers many interesting viewing points such as Generaalskop viewpoint, the Zuluhoek lookout point, the Drakensburg view point and the Oribi basin. Each have their own perspective and will enthrall you with their natural beauty.
A guided walk through the Cathedral Cave is another attraction not to be missed, then complete your visit to the Vulture Restaurant while you reminisce about your interesting day.
The Golden National Park is well worth the journey to visit. I have some truly wonderful memories of my visit there.
Posted in Uncategorized, Unusual Places to Visit and tagged backpacking, game viewing, golden gate, golden gate national park, hiking, horse riding, safari, sandstone cliffs, snooker, tennis, wild animals / by Cyntay with 1 comment.