Just over 3 hours drive from Gauteng, tucked away in the upper reaches of the Ingogo River Valley, below Botha’s Pass, is Smokey Mountain 4×4 and fly fishing.
Smokey, as anyone who has been there will tell you, is not just a set of 4×4 trails but an experience, from its two friendly hosts, Denzil and Malcolm, to its unique 4×4 instructor Ian Brooking and his 1947 Willy’s, from its testing trails to its unique ablutions, Smokey Mountain is different.
On arrival you will be presented with a handbook and map of the many trails on the property and details on most of the hazards. You can also arrange to have a full set of co-ordinates of the trails if you are a GPS fanatic.
The lovely well kept camp site has a wide stretch of lawn for the campers and caravaners, as well as two fully serviced, fully equipped, beautifully appointed, rondavels for those who prefer the comforts of life. For the campers there are a unique set of ablutions, each fully contained with its own toilet, hand basin and shower all built into a large plastic water tank. Each rondavel sleeps four and has an adjoining caravan that increases the sleeping capacity to eight if required. Electrical power comes from a generator and there are connections for campers if they wish.
Smokey Mountain has trails for everyone from the novice, out for the first time, to the experienced 4×4 enthusiast. Most of the hazards have well deserved names such as ‘Ian’s Drift’ a deep water drift where the water can be as deep as Ian’s waist after heavy rains, or you can try your hand at ‘The Rack’, a long steep climb up a narrow rocky track crossed by many furrows and drainage humps, or test your back bone (and your suspension) on ‘The Wagon Breaker’, all that is left of a steep wagon trail where all the fine material has been washed out from between the rocks. See if you can negotiate ‘Denzil’s Donga’ or the ‘Baard’s Revenge’ without getting stuck. This latter little item is a well-disguised area of thick black clay hidden in the grass just after you have visited an old 1860’s Boer farmhouse that belonged to Vuilbaard de Wet, a relative of the famous Boer General.
For more casual moments you can picnic at the Angel falls where there is also a lovely rock pool for swimming. You can also cross over the mountain to the top of the escarpment to ‘World’s View’ where you can look clear across Newcastle and most of the rest of northwestern KwaZulu-Natal.
Smokey Mountain really goes out of its way for groups, organising entertaining trips around the District, visiting famous Battlefields like Majuba Mountain and Lang’s Nek where you can drive through the famous 654m long railway tunnel built in 1891. They will even arrange day trips to Blood River and the Anglo Zulu War Battlefields. Just to make these trips more interesting, Smokey has its own off-road routes to some these sites.
Smokey Mountain is an ideal place to learn how to use a 4×4 or hone your skills if you are already an experienced driver. It has many view sites and picnic spots for the family so they do not have to suffer the whole time being bounced around while Dad enjoys his hobby.
Where to stay:
The campsite is well kept and can accommodate campers and caravaners. Ablutions are clean and functional. There are two well equipped and well furnished, self catering, fully serviced rondavels that sleep four and have their own bathrooms. Each has an adjoining caravan that can sleep another four. Power is by generator.
You can also stay at Majuba Lodge in Newcastle, which is part of the same organisation.