Grottos, rapids and beetle mania

Follow on from baboons and slush-puppies…

I lay there thinking about how stupid I had probably been insisting that we should go down to the rest camp instead of trekking the last bit to the Grotto.

Now we had to schlep the whole way back up again… all that way.  Did I mention that I’m not a fan of hills? Chris had gleefully pointed out how close we had been.  He does not have a problem trekking up hills.

Eventually, I fell asleep to the early tweeting of the multitude of gorgeous birds.  I woke up when it really was light. Figured it must be after 9 am – but a stumble to the kitchen where my phone was charging told me it was only 07h15.

Just before 08h00, we set off to find the grotto – before it got too hot.

My boot had gone from snarling to smiling and I needed to tread with care. This time we took our phones along – to take pics and in case of any emergency.

I kept stopping to take photos. There were many large beetles occupying the path – some I had never seen before – like this white-legged tok-tokkie aka Ringo!

We diligently followed the path and only got a little confused right at the top near the Grotto. Figuring out which side to enter was a little challenging.

But the Grotto was indeed worth the trek. It had a magical quality. (Okay – honestly – it was scary as shit and I did not go anywhere near the actual cave – but Chris did.)

We trekked back down the mountain, encountered not a single baboon (although we heard them calling) and ate a hearty breakfast. This was followed by more pool time.

(I tell you – real hardship to cool off in this place!!)

Later in the afternoon, we headed off in the opposite direction for the West Pools. This involved another uphill trudge with a bit of a scramble to get down to the actual river. Chris stripped down to his jocks and paddled around the deep, crystal clear pool.

Downriver from the West Pools are the rapids. We figured we could maybe bundu bash our way along the river but experience from the day before dictated that we walk back the way we had come and take the designated path.

 We were both tired (having hiked probably close to 10km that day already) but were not sure if we’d have time to go there the following day before we left – and we wanted to go back to the slippery pools and take photos.

The rapids were fabulous too. Not as rapidy as I’d imagined, but if the river was full they would be totally magnificent.

(This is the only pic not taken by me – taken by Chris whilst I was wetting our caps in the rapids!)

Back to our log cabin for another swim and an earlier braaied supper this time. We also managed to catch the sunset. Beyond awesome!

Living in a complex – bound by walls – having the unadulterated bushveld view spread out around us was completely exhilarating.

Next day we had to hand in our key by eleven o’clock. It was somewhat overcast and the pool was not all that inviting so we skipped our early morning swim. We had breakfast, packed up and checked out. Parked our car by the reception and took a different path to the Slippery Pools.

We went back and found the deep pool that we had seen the first day and once again Chris had no compunction about stripping down and leaping in. We spent some time investigating and then went back to the first place where we had cooled down.

Sadly this time there was a family cavorting in “our” spot – but we manned up and picked a different place to wallow.

Reluctantly, we dried off a few hours later and headed home.

After two and a half days in paradise, we were almost ready to conquer the world… or at least start work on Monday recharged!

I would happily recommend this place in a heartbeat.  However – they are serious about their no noise and respect their rules policy. Also, take along mozzie stuff if you don’t want to get chewed.

Make sure you take all your stuff with you the first time – it’s not that easy to just pop out and buy bread. There is a shop but it has very limited produce!

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