Balele Mountain Lodge

Balele Mountain Farms situated in Balele, a part of the Drakensburg mountain range. 2000 ha working farm (Farm name Schurvekopye) with cattle, sheep, horses and game.

Grade

Tame

Disabled Friendly

No

Accommodation

Yes

Team Building Facilities

Yes

Family Friendly

Yes

“Big blue skies and 360˚ of rolling mountain surround you and give you room to breathe. Here you have peace and quiet and rest. Time to do fly fishing. Time to take in the wonders of nature: birds, animals and a pristine biodiversity that will help you fall in love with life and living all over again. The high-altitude grasslands of the Slang River catchment are economically important as a major source of water to Mpumalanga and Gauteng. The altitude ranges between 1800 and 2000 metres. Extensive high-altitude plateaus give way to steep to gently rolling slopes which meet large wetland systems and meandering watercourses in broad valley bottoms.

Accommodation:
Self-catering accommodation in one of 7 chalets or the log cabin. All the bedding, towels, cutlery, crockery and braai grids are supplied in these units.

Activities:
Almost every outdoor activity you can possibly think of, everything from hiking to Canoeing. Ask about tour guides and when we are available.

Events:
Church groups, family getaways & farm holidays. Everything you need to take a break from the busy hussle and bustle of the city. Accommodation:
Self-catering accommodation in one of 7 chalets or the log cabin. All the bedding, towels, cutlery, crockery and braai grids are supplied in these units.

Chalets 1 and 2:
Chalets 1 and 2 both has 2 rooms. One room with a double bed and one with two single beds. Bathroom with toilet and shower. Open plan living area, kitchen with an inside fireplace. In the kitchen is a fridge and small stove with oven on the counter. Open stoep area with braai. At backdoor build in braai area as well.

Chalets 3 and 5:
Chalets 3 and 5 both has 1 room with a queen size bed and single bed. In the open plan kitchen and living area are 2 single beds and a fireplace. In the kitchen is a fridge with two-plate stove. Bathroom with shower and toilet. Outside covered stoep with build in braai.

Chalet 4:
Chalet 4 is a double story with all the rooms on the top floor. A room with a queen size bed and a room with 2 single beds as well as 2 single beds in the walkway between the two rooms. On the ground floor are the lounge area and fireplace, a bathroom with shower and toilet and the kitchen with a fridge, stove and oven. Outside covered stoep with build in braai.

Chalet 8:
Chalet 8 is an open plan square unit with a bunker bed and double bed, lounge kitchen and fireplace. In the kitchen is a fridge, stove and microwave. No bathroom, you use the ablution block which is 30 metres from the unit. Outside covered stoep with a nice view and a braai.

Chalet 9:
Chalet 9 is the hunter’s cabin with 2 bedrooms and a bathroom with shower and toilet. This is all rugged and the inside separations between the rooms and bathroom are only wood. 1 room with 2 single beds and the other with 3 single beds. Open plan kitchen, lounge area with fireplace. No kitchen sink only a plastic bucket. Gas stove with oven.

The log cabin:
The log cabin has its own jetty and is the most private unit of all. 2 rooms with double beds and 4 single beds on the loft area of which 2 is only suitable for primary school children. Open plan kitchen, lounge area (no indoor fireplace only 2 oil heaters). In the kitchen are a fridge and electric stove and oven. Covered stoep area with view over the log cabin dam and the mountain.

6 Camping sites:
6 Camping sites with electricity and braai area. A lead will be needed for some of the camping sites to get electricity from central points. The ablution block has in the middle a kitchen sink for dishes as well as a sink for clothes. On the lady’s side is 3 toilets, 1 bath and 1 shower. On the men’s side are 2 showers and 3 toilets. The camping sites are shaded in summertime.

Day visitors:
Day visitors only allowed with prior arrangements made. No day visitors over long weekends, Easter weekend, 16 December, Christmas and New Year.

Activities:

Fly fishing:
Fly fishing is offered for rainbow and brown trout in seven still waters. Float tubing is allowed in four of the waters. A bag limit of two fish a day applies. Catch and release with barbless hooks are allowed in these dams. The big dam (46ha) provides a truly unique opportunity for seasoned fly anglers to test their skills in wild natural waters where catches more than 3,5kg are regularly recorded. Catch and release with barbless hooks is strictly enforced, providing a fishing experience that is unsurpassed and well worth the visit. The big dam is closed from 1 October to the beginning of Easter weekend. To fish here an extra fee per day per rod will be charged.
1150 rainbow trout was stocked into 6 dams on 6 October 2016. Guests record wealthy fighting fish regularly, and not only stockiest are caught!!!

Horse riding:
Horse-back game viewing. We cater for experienced and in-experienced riders with a maximum of 8 riders on an outside. Open hills and grasslands for easy riding. Maximum weight of 80kg. Horse riding is at an extra cost.

Game viewing:
Game viewing on an open vehicle available with a minimum of 4 people on the game drive. Own vehicles (high ground clearance needed) may be used at no extra cost. Game species are blesbok, eland, grey rhebok, mountain reedbuck, fallow deer, ostrich, zebra, black wildebeest (endemic to South Africa), hares and jackal.

Hiking:
6 marked hiking trails walking along fresh water streams, fountains and mountains. Experiencing pristine mountain flora and stunning views. Maps with explanations provided. The Balele Mountain Route take you past the big dam and along the escarpment to our own God’s window with a view of Newcastle and Utrecht. The River hike take you past big aloes to a game viewing lookout over our own Serengeti and along a stream to our “swemgat” (water hole for swimming). On the Skull hike you experience a great view over the valley. See the rock formation that represent a skull. The Game Fence hike take you along the game fence to the big dam and back via the valley behind the chalets. Trompie’s Cave hike isn’t a cave as we know caves or overhangs, it is made up of large rocks which make exploring great fun. You have a stunning view over the dams from the lookout point above the “cave”. The Ouhoutspruit hike take you up and across the mountain to a patch of Ouhout trees. These trees have “beards” hanging from them indicating the fresh air at Balele.

Bird watching:
Balele is close to the birding haven of Wakkerstroom and is a member of the crane foundation. Blue Crane breed on the property. 1 x Endangered species occur here namely Rudd’s Lark. 7 x Vulnerable species have been reported Bald Ibis, Lesser Kestrel, African Marsh Harrier, Blue Crane, Crowned crane, Stanley’s Bustard and Yellow Pipit. 4 x Near threatened species namely Halfcollared Kingfisher, Blackwinged Plover, Woollynecked Stork and Secretary bird have been recorded. 14 x Grassland endemic species can also be seen at Balele Mountain Farms: Bald Ibis, Jackal Buzzard, Grey wing Francolin, Blue Crane, Blue Korhaan, Pied Barbat, Rudd’s Lark, Cape Rock Thrush, Buff streaked Chat, Grass bird, Rock Pipit, Yellow breasted Pipit, Pied Starling, Orange throated Longclaw,
Flocks of 28 blue cranes and 22 crowned cranes were recorded in October in the mealie land.

Plant species:
The catchment area is a regional hotspot of plant diversity, with many endemic, rare and threatened plants. Near the edge of the escarpment behind Balele a few orchids can be found. The area is predominantly sour short grassland. Canoeing: Canoes can be rented at the shop. Life jackets are available.

Events:
School / Church groups:
Up to 60 learners with a minimum of 1 teacher for every 10 children. Balele Mountain Farms is an ideal venue for special interest groups, leadership camps, Grade 3 tours, adventure outings, Landsdiens groups and Voortrekker teams. Own bedding (sleeping bags and mattresses) and cutlery required. We offer obstacle as well as skills courses, canoeing, hiking, horse-riding, swimming. Landsdiens groups help with fighting erosion and clearing wattles and reeds. Grade 3 tours also do water studies in the abundant streams.

Farm holidays:
Come to Balele Mountain Farms during the July school holiday. Enjoy exciting days filled with fun farm activities. Groups of maximum 24 children per week. There will be 6 leaders attending each camp. The leaders help with the activities and all the children and adults sleep in the veldschool house. Early morning animal feeding, chicken, geese, ducks, sheep, handrisen animals, horses. Outrides on trained horses. Target shooting with airguns under qualified adult supervision. Hiking in the mountains. Trail setting and following. Boeresport. Obstacle course. Milking. Skinning antelope and making of biltong, boerewors, dry wors, hamburger patties and mince. Helping with seasonal farming activities such as harvesting of mealies, sheep shearing, working with lambs and calves. Attending auction. Skills testing on the obstacle and skills course used for veldschools. Game viewing. Evening activities include painting, Bible study, board games, learning to make knots, stalk the lantern and night hikes. Farm food: Stick bread, boerewors, mieliepap, soup, braai, stew, hamburgers. The children are divided in groups to help with preparing the meals and cleaning the kitchen afterwards. Own cutlery and bedding (mattresses supplied).”

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