We don’t often realise that it takes a 45 min drive out of JHB to make you feel like you’re in another city. I went to Hartbeespoort last weekend and the weekend before. 2 weeks ago I went on a teambuilding with my work colleagues which was just awesome. We went to a lion park of sorts, called Ukutula. (http://www.ukutula.com/)

We played with cubs (too adorable for words!). They’re like big cuddly furry kitty cats.
They have gap year students from all over the world, who volunteer to feed and take care of the cubs. 

We then went on a walk with lions in the bushveld. The guide had 2 buckets of dead chicks that they source from a nearby farm (don’t worry, they were already dead) and that helped to keep the lions’ attention  on the walk.
They snapped up the chicks in 1 bite, it was like a KFC pop for them!
It was really incredible to see them walking in their natural environment- climbing trees, playing with eachother, running, drinking from a watering hole etc.
It was also really nervewracking! At times they would run up from behind us and we all huddled together to try and hide from them- safety in numbers!
They were 6-18 month old lions but they were still BIG!

We stayed at a lovely boutique hotel called 3 Oaks and an Aloe- http://www.3oa.co.za/
I don’t like the rustic/ thatch roof vibe, so I always try to book accommodation that’s modern and slick.
The rooms were big and spacious, and we got FULL size toiletries which was fab!
There was also a beautiful view of the dam from our rooms.

  Then, last weekend, the parentals were down, so I took them to the dam again and we visited Van Gaalen Cheese farm (http://www.vangaalen.co.za/).
This was really cool- you get to hear about how cheese is made, and you see the actual factory. You also get to taste different types of cheeses. There’s also a nice restaurant outside with a stunning view of the Magalies Mountains.

 View from the restaurant

Lots and lots of cheeeese

 Machine that separates the curds from the whey- remember that nursery rhyme!

 Cheese soaking in a salt bath to remove bacteria

This dude is painting the cheese with plastic to preserve it.
After that, we just took a drive around- the dam is really so scenic and picturesque.

There’s lots more to do and see apart from this- mountain biking, hiking, spas, restaurants, picnics etc…
So next time you’re feeling like you need to get out of JHB, instead of considering the usual options like CT or DBN, think about the places that are right on your doorstep!