For many years my husband and I have discussed going to visit Lake Eland Game Reserve as we wanted to walk over the suspension bridge. But it was all talk and no action. Finally instead of talking we went on the 27 April 2021.
Lake Eland opens at 7am and it would take us approximately 2 hours to get there from home, so we left at 5am. We wanted to get there early as there would hopefully be less people at the suspension bridge.
There was no cars in the carpark when we arrived and the staff were getting the restaurant ready. We payed for our entrance and filled out all the required forms and then drove through the boom gate. It looked like a lot of people stayed for the long weekend and we saw them preparing breakfast on Skottels and a few were fishing in a small dam.
Wildebeest, Zebras and Blesbok were seen on our slow drive to the suspension bridge and we made one stop on the way to look over the valley and see Lake Eland down below.
We couldn’t believe it! There were no cars parked at the suspension bridge!
Our first view of the bridge was from the view point and that gave us first, second and third thoughts about crossing; but the bridge was the reason we were there. I can’t put into words how scary it was making my way over that bridge……over 80 metres of swaying and bouncing bridge. My husband was walking behind me and he said he could see how tense I was and how determined to just get to the other side. I did sort of stop and turn my head to the side to try and look at the views but not for long. Finally, finally I reached the other side and then could relax. Well it was a short relaxation…….
There was another view point to tackle and this view point was out over part of the gorge. I shuffled my way very, very slowly to the end of that to look over the views and then very, very slowly turned around before shuffling back to safety.
Shew! So the suspension bridge and view point were conquered and we made our way back to the car park via the pathway to find that our car was still the only one there. Well….since we were still the only one’s there we might as well go over the bridge again. This time it was much easier to walk over and I stopped along the way to see and appreciate the magnificent views of the Oribi Gorge. If walking over the suspension bridge is on your bucket list – go and do it!
After the suspension bridge we drove to two other Oribi Gorge view points and stopped to have our breakfast rolls and coffee. My husband was encouraging our daughter to go on the extreme zipline and she wasn’t keen. There was a long discussion about that we were there and she must just go for it. I just sipped my coffee and enjoyed the spectacular views over the Oribi Gorge.
After our breakfast and coffee break we walked down the 383 steps of Hell’s Gate – “Hell’s Gate marks the start of the majestic Oribi Gorge. From the caves one is able to enjoy the true splendour of the gorge. Spend time in the caves taking in the panoramic views whilst learning of the art and culture of the San people as depicted by the drawings and history on display.”
The steps are easy on the way down and the views are incredible – but the way up! Groan, groan and more groans. Those stairs seem never ending and we were breathing heavily when we reached the top.
My husband successfully convinced our daughter to do the Extreme Zipline – a 1km straight down zipline where you can reach speeds of up to 160kms per hour. I payed for the zipline and she filled out the form. She was wearing sandals so had to swap with me for my veldskoens. The harness was belted on (so many straps), a hair net put on and then the safety helmet. We made our way over to the zipline and there was another form to sign. Two guides are sent down the zipline first as they guide the people to stop when reaching the other side. The sound that zipline made when the guide went down sounded like a plane taking off. There were 3 other people with my daughter who were doing the Extreme Zipline and she decided to be the first to go. She stepped off the platform and zoomed away.
We watched until she reached the other side and then watched while the other 3 people went. A bakkie would bring back the zipline riders so we waited by the car for her to get back. The Extreme Zipline consists of 3 sections – the first is the extreme part and then the other 2 short sections take the rider to the pick up point. Our daughter was bubbling over with excitement when she got back and said that the zipline was amazing and she would love to go again. On the second part of the zipline she passed over 2 adult Giraffes and a baby Giraffe.
After the fun of the zipline we took a drive down to see Lake Eland and to look for the Giraffes that our daughter had seen. There were quite a few people at the lake who had camped there and nearly all of the sites for day trippers were full with people braaing and swimming in the lake. We just stopped for a short time before making our way back to exit the game reserve. We didn’t see the Giraffes on the way to the lake but finally saw them and the baby on the way back.
That was our trip to Lake Eland Game Reserve and the magnificent Oribi Gorge. It won’t be our only visit as my husband is very keen to stay in one of their self-catering chalets hanging over the dams edge. The Pipe Dream accommodation also looks like fun but I don’t know if we are that adventurous.
Lake Eland Game Reserve
“Covering an impressive 2500 hectares with diverse ecosystems of bushveld, grassland, coastal forest and wetland this natural landscape offers a place of peace and tranquility.
Brothers Eric and Trevor Dunstone purchased the land for conservation and founded the reserve in 2003. A large lake shaped like the eland common in bushman paintings gives the reserve its name “Lake Eland” in honour of this magnificent antelope and its symbolic meaning to the San. This natural landscape is truly a place of peace and tranquility and can be found just a quick 40 minutes drive from Port Shepstone, South Coast of KwaZulu-Natal.
Lake Eland Game Reserve is the perfect venue for day visitors, a family holiday, team building or romantic getaway.
Activities to choose from include a self game drive, viewing the abundant wild life and flora to be seen from the comfort of your car. In addition guests can walk across our 80m suspension bridge, as well as our fabulous Zip Line Tour.
Horse rides, walking and single track mountain bike trails, paint ball, fishing, picnic sites and specific 4×4 track are available.
The restaurant and fully licensed tea garden is close to a children’s playground.”
Location : D219 Oribi Flats East, Oribi Gorge, Port Shepstone, 4240
Days : Monday to Sunday
Times : 7am to 5pm
Day Visitor Fee : R65 per person, Children under 8 years : R40, Children under 2 years : free
Restaurant times : 7:30am to 4pm
Recommendations : Closed shoes for the zipline or if you plan to do some walking, hat and sunscreen. Picnic food and bottles of water. A camera or your phone to take numerous photos of the beautiful views.