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Issue 6
Africa Travel> Issue 6
UPDATED: August 27, 2014
Bucking the Trend
Hannah Gama Lodge is a captivating tapestry of Africa's sounds, smells and color
By Jo Kromberg

Cool down under the hot African sun at Hannah Game Lodge

The word "Mpumalanga" means "the place where the sun rises" and it really is one of the most dramatically beautiful provinces in South Africa. Within a radius of 20-50 km of Hannah Lodge there are heaps to do and see. A full day or a half-day trip allows you the opportunity of visiting this spectacular and well-known part of South Africa, famous for its scenery and known as the Panorama Route. We take the road to Pilgrims Rest on a whim and the scenery and mountains unfold before us like magic.

The tiny town of Pilgrims Rest is a living museum since the entire town was declared a national monument, taking the visitors back to the days of the old Transvaal Gold Rush.

Pilgrim's Rest was declared a gold field in 1873, soon after digger Alec "Wheelbarrow" Patterson found gold deposits in Pilgrim's Creek. The Valley proved to be rich in gold and by the end of the year, there were about 1,500 diggers working in the area.

Mining was active until 1971 when Beta Mine was closed down. Tranvaal Gold Mining Estates opened again in 1999 and there is active gold mining in the hills around Pilgrim's Rest.

We linger here for a delectable pub lunch and then carry on to the world-famous Blyde River Canyon Reserve, which extends along the Blyde River Canyon's winding path; at every turn offering more and more impressive views over sheer edges dropping 800 meters into the riverbed. It is the third largest canyon in the world and the feeling of standing on top of the world looking out over these sheer drops is breathtaking.

Viewpoints are named for the spectacle they offer, and Window and Wonder View hint at the magnitude of the scenery. The adventure activities in this part of the world are legion and include hot-air ballooning, helicopter flights, cultural excursions, game drives and much more. Nearby attractions include Kapama Cheetah Sanctuary, Moholoholo Rehabilitation Centre, Elephant Sanctuary, Chimp Eden, Swadini Reptile Park, Sudwala Caves, Echo Caves Nelspruit Botanical Gardens and the Shangana Cultural Village.

Back at the Lodge, I go on a game drive and discover the endless beauty of the reserve up close. There are no predators on this 8,000 hectare reserve – with the exception of the very elusive leopard - but the Reserve offers something very special instead: they specialize in the breeding of rare antelope, especially Sable. We see buffalo and a variety of game, such as Tsesebe, Oryx, Mountain Reedbuck, Eland, Sable and Springbok. We have a lovely meal that evening, close to the warm fire, consisting of hake with lemon butter, lamb chops with mint sauce and venison stroganoff. For dessert the baked Greek coconut pudding had me speaking in tongues with delight.

It is with sad hearts that we wave Hannah Lodge good bye the next morning. This really is a little piece of heaven in the bushveld and we shall return.



T: +27 (0)13 238 8100

F: +27 (0)13 238 8104

E: reservations@hannahlodge.co.za

P.O. Box 153, Orighstad, 1122

Getting there:

South African Airways has daily flights from Beijing to Johannesburg. From Johannesburg it is advisable to fly to Hoedspruit with Airlink and rent a car from there, due to the bad roads from Johannesburg.

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