Gig life can get pretty rough sometimes. Don't get me wrong, Gerald and I love this part of our lives, but we also like stepping out of the ratrace and spending time in the shadows of the mountains.
After a wild evening in Bloemfontein, we set out to a farm outside of Clarens called Bokpoort Cowboy Ranch. We've camped there once before, but we didn't really have the time to get to know the surrounds. This time was different.
We arrived with Christo already saddled up and ready to ride. We were a group of six with Christo taking the lead alongside Gerald and Dan at the rear of the line. Gerald's been on many outrides, me not so much, but this proved to be one of his favourites. Christo, who is a real South African cowboy, is the 5th generation on this farm and he knows the ins and outs of the mesmerising valley. He tells you memories from his grandparents to interesting tales about the vegetation as he picks a rose hip in passing and pops it into his mouth.
Christo is a very interesting man and you can feel his love for horses and the valley he knows so well. And for those, like me, who aren't very experienced with horses, he is a patient teacher. I now feel much more comfortable after riding with him. The horseback adventure takes you through rivers, over the edge of a cliff, to the most beautiful views, and galloping across fields with grazing black wildebeest.
Back at the ranch we shared personal experiences and reflected back on the morning over a well-deserved, ice cold beer. But the day at Bokpoort doesn't stop in the bar. We were invited for dinner and we had the pleasure to learn more about his industry. We all joined a long wooden table to enjoy a authentic South African meal – eland steaks served with pap and smoor. A treat to a born Free State boy.
We woke up to a view of the red mountains and Gerald was ready to take on the MTB trails. So, if you are looking to experience the Eastern Free State in all its splendour, visit Bokpoort. Yes, Clarens is an interesting visit to your creative side, but Bokpoort is for the adventurer. You can feel free to sit back, relax, or to go explore, it's up to you. Bokpoort promises a no nonsense, easy weekend away.
We even made it a stop for the third episode of the Scenic Sessions.
For more information on their ranch and accommodation, visit their site at http://www.bokpoort.com/