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MINI-CAMP 10 – 16 APRIL 2023 – EARLY NOTICE

When

The Free State Section of Mountain Club of SA will host the 2023 Mini-camp from Easter Monday 10 April to Sunday 16 April 2023.

Where

At the Balloch Camp site, in a pristine mountain valley in the North Eastern Cape Witteberge, 40km north of Barkly East – see https://www.ballochcottages.co.za/

Facilities

The camp site is rustic, but includes flush toilets and hot showers. Pitch your tent or stay in your camper. A huge overhang cave will serve as congregation place and shelter should it rain. Be prepared for moderate uneven ground. The whole area is virtually crime free.

Accessibility & Communications

The last 40 – 50 km is on rough dirt roads. High clearance vehicles are needed with soft SUV’s as minimum. There is no cellphone reception, except on the higher mountain peaks and no wifi facilities.

Hikes

Hikes of variable distances, grading and backpacking will take place in the sandstone valleys and high mountains around Balloch, Telle Falls and Ben MacDhui (at 3001m, the second highest peak in the Eastern Cape). Wildflower, rock art, birdwatching and atlassing excursions will also be organised. The area is also well known for mountain biking and 4X4 roads and passes.

Grassveld National Park

Click here to read article on SANParks website.

Balloch is in the centre of phase 3 of the newly proposed Grassveld National Park, while some hikes and excursions will be in the core of the Park around Rhodes. While hiking in remote areas, you can take photos of wildflowers, birds and all living organisms and post them on iNaturalist and thereby contributing to the biodiversity knowledge whilst enjoying yourself in the outdoors – see https://www.inaturalist.org/

Details to follow, or contact deon@an.tdp.co.za

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