The main route from Johannesburg to Cape Town is very busy and stressful over the ‘festive’ season. We therefore chose to go the route less travelled and this transformed an unpleasant trip into a special adventure making our holiday start as soon as we left home. Instead of only kicking off after the 1410km trip had been endured.
The first leg of the trip instead of taking the N12 we took the R59 and R64 via Parys, Viljoenskroon, Hoopstad and Boshof to Kimberley. The road was quiet and a pleasure. The route was slightly longer but by far the better choice, we did not have trucks and heavy traffic to contend with.
When given a choice we prefer not to stay in towns and were very fortunate that one room was available at Lilydale Lodge in Mokala National Park. The park is about 50km South of Kimberley. On a previous trip we stayed at Mosu Lodge which is the other camp in the park. The advantage there is the restaurant, which was excellent. Unfortunately due to habitual bad planning we had not so much as tea or coffee with us for self catering. Currently the restaurant at Lilydale only serves breakfast and light meals during the day. We stopped in Kimberley on the way and bought some basic supplies for supper. Aside from the food issues I far preferred the setting of Lilydale Lodge, our thatched room overlooked the Riet River which was beautiful. At sunset it was breathtaking to see what seemed thousands of Swallows flying down to roost. At night the sky was brilliant with stars.
Mokala is a new national park which was proclaimed and officially opened in 2007. Until last month (Nov ’12) Lilydale Lodge was separated from the main part of the park by a farm; the farm had been purchased over a year earlier by SAN Parks but the fences separating the different parts of the park were only taken down in November.