RAVE RUN: Glamorgan Farm, Thaba ’Nchu District
Feeling adventurous? Glamorgan Farm is calling your name.
Adrian Saffy (and entourage)
Elevation gain: 500-1500m
You can run the flat sections in an hour. Feeling more adventurous? There’s a tougher 15km route over the mountains that takes two to three hours.
Best Time To Run
This is a self-supporting route, so carry enough hydration – particularly during summer, when it’s hot and uncovered. In winter, any time of day is suitable.
Mostly singletrack, with proper elevation and technical descent. The imposing bulk of Thaba ’Nchu (Tswana for ‘Black Mountain’) is visible from various vantage points in Bloemfontein, and the mountain is a wonderful escape from the city. The freestanding peak rises almost 500m out of the surrounding plains, some 5km southeast of the settlement of Thaba ’Nchu, on the Bloemfontein to Maseru road.
It starts in a flat, grassy area, where there are beautiful rock formations, swamps, and awesome views from the northern lookouts. The route – indicated by footprints painted on boulders and rocks – heads up the mountain, through a wooded ditch and a gate, and then a diagonal path leads towards an obvious saddle neck.
Once you’re on the ridge there are no longer any footprints, but a distinct path continues to the right, on a gentle gradient to the top. A yellow stile to the left of the path takes you on a slight detour over a fence, and down through the bushes to an overhang cave with a perennial water drip.
After checking it out, return to the main path and continue to the top – or visit it on your way back down for lunch.
The mountain was a lookout point for British soldiers in the Anglo-Boer War, and the stone walls, constructed along the perimeter of the western plateau during this period, have survived.
Refuelling & Other Activities
The Black Mountain Hotel is only 10 minutes away from the route, and is a great place for a weekend getaway. There are leisure and sporting facilities, including a spa, solarium, sauna, children’s entertainment, sundowner cruises, game drives, fishing, water sports, horse riding, and much more (blackmountainhotel.co.za).
Glamorgan is situated approximately 400km south-east of Johannesburg, and 80km east of Bloemfontein. The turnoff to the farmstead is 5km south-east of the settlement of Thaba ’Nchu, on the Bloemfontein to Maseru road. Follow the bluegum-lined dirt road for 1km to the parking area behind the farmer’s house.
For more information contact landowner Joy Kemp (083 408 0351), or Adrian Saffy from Pure Adventures (082 566 5668).
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