Driving from Three Trees towards the Free State, one traverses through breathtaking scenery.
Golden Gate National Park is a mere 80km from the lodge and the drive between these towering sandstone cliffs brings you to the small “artist hamlet” Clarens. This beautiful 12,000 hectares of highland habitat is home to a number of wild animals ranging from the tiny Oribi to the Giant Eland and in between the Grey Rhebok, Blesbok, Springbok, Red Hartebeest and Zebra.
The Park is the perfect place for observing a variety of raptors ranging from Black Eagles to Jackal Buzzards. Birds which are scarcely seen anymore, such as the Bearded Vulture, Cape Vulture and Bald Ibis can be found nesting on the rocky ledges of the steep sandstone cliffs. Closer to the ground, keep an eye out for Blue Cranes, South Africa’s national bird, which is also rare.
Dinosaurs did occur in the area and the Golden Gate Highlands National Park is world renowned for one of the first finds of fossilised Dinosaur eggs in 1978. These eggs were said to be from the “Triassic Period”, about 220 to 195 million years ago, containing fossilised foetal skeletons of the Massospondylus, a Prosauropod Dinosaur. More examples of these eggs have since been found in the park. Other fossils found in the park include those of advanced Cynodontia (canine toothed animals), small Thecodontia (animals with teeth set firmly in the jaw), bird-like and crocodile-like Dinosaurs.