Awed, a real life oil painting welcomes us as our car slowly pilots into the Hekpoort Valley that is surrounded by a prehistoric mountain range! Below blue skies the Magaliesberg Mountain range serenely sets the scene as the framework for an entirely restored Cape Dutch manor! Impeccably groomed gardens, complimented by a grandeur of birds and butterflies and naturally an array of melodies. An impressive scene indeed; and today this is our playground…
Eager to ascend this looming mountain with a flat top of quartzite rock, our group of 5 meander off with map in hand! But in slow motion under a blazing summer sun we slowly stroll our way through a variety of terrain and constantly changing views. From dry woodland to rocky outcrops and lush feeling forest, our senses are dazzled by such a variety within 5kms. Meeting several groups of people along the way, all friendly and gearing for a chit-chat we all merrily mosey along in unison. The youngest hiker by far is a toddler, perhaps two years of age. He sits comfortably in his backpack style carrier attached to his father, and with precision his dad carefully trudges through the rocky outcrops!
Arriving at Nuwejaars Grot all the groups gather for a pit-stop and this little one comes out to play, completely at home! I watch him gleefully engage with nature while I snack on my energy boost of ice-cold watermelon, a blueberry energade and a caramel nut energy bar, completely satisfied with my surroundings and company.
The entire route is demarcated with excellent signage, and at no point did we ever feel lost. We had a good laugh when we arrived at Slangdraai, and especially me knowing I had seen two snakes there on a previous hike. Mixed feelings brewed as we passed the sign “Amper Daar / The End Is Near”! Loving the beauty of the mountains, but having cooked good and proper in the sun, we were ready for that dip in their cool blue salt water pool!
Leaving the lounging for later we dipped in and out and headed for lunch upon the shaded stoep of the manor! Soaking in the peaceful atmosphere with the bare blue mountains behind us and starved we placed our order – home-made cheese burgers, with fresh asparagus and artichoke salad, and washed down with an ice cold savannah. Completely content with life! Drifting aromas of coffee told us that the meal would not be complete without a coffee! We ordered it but headed back to the pool and our lounges! Re-fuelled with energy and between sipping our roasted coffee we splashed about, including a dive bomb or two – rehashing our childhood.
Hikes at Rustig are suitable for all ages. They range from 3kms to an adventurous hike for the ‘Brave Heart’ including a 6 metre high chain ladder, and an overnight hut. Filled with history and once known as the Kashan Mountains, the Magaliesburg was later named after the Tswana chief Magali who was around at the time that white Voortrekkers first ventured into this part of the world.
Hekpoort meaning gate certainly opened our eyes and was flavoursome food for our soul! I will certainly be back and this time for a weekend…
For more photos visit the Rustig Album
For more information on Rustig visit http://www.rustig.co.za/