Do It Before You Die: A Night in the Magaliesberg, South Africa
The Magaliesberg is a South African mountain range extending west and north of Pretoria. The area has been declared a World Biosphere Reserve, forming part of the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site; where Homo Naledi was discovered.
In my opinion, the area is the most amazing in Southern Africa, containing strange and unique geological formations, different types of veld and various wildlife. You'll find cascading waterfalls within amazing gorges (kloofs) with water so pure, it tastes sweet.
Within the Biosphere, the best area to access the region is Mountain Sanctuary Park. Going during the week, out of season, you'll be the only person there. The Sanctuary borders two kloofs; the Cederberg which runs perpendicular to the Tonquani. Once arrived, your mind will be blown! Begin by setting up camp at Mountain Sanctuary. Or if you are adventurous, you can camp in the veld, amongst the wildlife, on the border of the Cederberg and Tonquani.
Heading South you will walk amongst dry veld and geological formations that will make you feel like you're on Mars. As you walk, you will pass the beauty of various trickling brooks that form natural rock pools - perfect for a dip under the hot African sun.
Walking further South, you will come across the ‘Twins’, a true Mars-like geological formation. From here you can go East until you enter the Tonquani. On top of the kloof, be sure to appreciate the scenery and have a look out for some black eagles soaring above your head, sometimes so close you see the yellow on its beak.
Entering the gorge and walking north, you'll see gigantic, Jurassic-like ferns. You will manoeuvre over boulders that form natural rock pools with waterfalls. Eventually you'll reach the entrance to the Cederberg gorge running westwards from the Tonquani. Moving up the gorge is just as amazing with the sounds of running water, singing African birds and startled vervet monkeys and baboons.
Be sure to make some traditional South African braai when you head back to camp. Sitting in front of a dwindling camp fire under the vivid Milky Way, you can hear the cries of wild jackals in the distance. Be careful at night for the spitting cobras - if you don't hurt them, they won't hurt you.
Written by Shane van Breda, a THISWORLDEXISTS Adventure Ambassador.