Leaving Some of our Souls at Gamkaberg
Lawsons Pass to the top of the Gamkaberg
We are very sad to be leaving beautiful Gamkaberg Nature Reserve. Our time here has been very special, and we have had a combination of hospitality and privacy in this peaceful and fascinating place.
The word for me that sums up Gamkaberg is ‘care’. Everything here is looked after with care, and I think even the little plants and birds know that.
We have been so impressed with our little ‘eco-lodges’, which are run off solar power and gas, and have been built out of wood and stone, so as to minimize the impact on the environment. There are eco-loo’s, so that water is not wasted, recycling bins, and to top it off for me, the pool pumps are even powered by solar! The kitchens are completely kitted out with all implements you may need, and Sweet Thorn Lodge even has hammocks to laze in!
Fossil Ridge Eco Lodge at Gamkaberg Nature Reserve - a special place
But it’s not just the construction of the lodges that took care, the looking after them is also clearly done very sensitively. Everything was spotlessly tidy when we arrived, with not even a thorn on the paths for my bare feet to stand on!
Yesterday I went on the 4.km ‘Pied Barbet’ walking trail in the late afternoon. Immediately I was struck by the effort and care that had been put in to these trails, which are lined by stones from the mountain and well-marked. There is a fascinating ‘Bossie’ identification guide that we got from the office, which identifies 20 interesting and common plants of the Gamkaberg, with their common and scientific names, as well as traditional uses. The plants were marked by numbers along the trail, and it made my walk infinitely more interesting learning the names and uses of these wonderful plants. Even though the paths are around the lodges, they have been so well created that you feel like you are in the middle of the bush, with nothing but the birds and insects around, and much evidence of porcupine, aardvark and baboon activity!
Even the signs are beautifully carved out of wood and not cemented in to be environmentally friendly, although they get pushed over regularly by animals who find them a great scratching post!
There are trails to suit all fitness levels, and the knowledge that each lodge has a plunge pool gives one something to look forward to as one walks home.
Field ranger Cornelius Julies and reserve manger Tom Barry
We have learnt so much from Tom Barry this week about the plants and animals here. His and the staff’s hospitality and friendliness are so endearing that we feel completely at home, and don’t want to leave! We will certainly be back to this special place. A very big thanks to Tom Barry and his wife Lisl, and their daughters Jade and Kai, and also importantly to Cornelius Julies, Jan Oransie and the field rangers who looked after us.
Driving up Lawsons Pass
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