Trail First-Timer: Moolmanshoek


Words & Images Anton Willemse

I wasn’t exactly excited when my wife told me that she had planned an excursion to Moolmanshoek for the long weekend to do some trail driving. I was even less excited when I realised that we would be in for two days of constant off-roading. Not only was I a novice off-roader, but two days
of sitting in a vehicle at 20km/h sounded far too much like two days of being stuck in traffic.

Moolmanshoek is situated in the Eastern Free State and is surrounded by the most magnificent sandstone mountains, towering up to 2400m above
sea level – the highest mountains in the province.

The farm itself is owned and run by the Nel family, who have allowed natural bushveld to grow where there used to be fields of wheat and corn. In addition, an abundance of antelope indigenous to the area now roam freely.

Waking up on the first day and staring over my coffee at the mountains, I had no idea that I would soon be more than halfway up them without using any real roads.

As we slowly wound our way up the side of the mountain, accompanied by trail guides on horseback, we reached a huge overhang. During the Anglo-Boer war, it was here that the old aunties hid from the English who were camping all around them.

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