LAND BEFORE TIME - The Golden Gate National Park


Earlier on this month I was invited along to the Drakensberg with the Johannesburg Photowalkers to do some Star Trails photography. With a day and a half to spare before having to meet up, I decided to pay Freestate’s only National Park an impromptu visit – The Golden Gate National Park. Having heard how beautiful this part of South Africa was, I could not comprehend its beauty until I arrived. I could definitely see why it had been famed for its golden-hued sandstone cliffs that rose 2829 m above sea level and the spectacular scenery the park offered. Surrealism and a magnificent stillness exist here.


If you are a huge fan of the great outdoors like I am, then this place is tailored for you.

Camera in hand, I was excited to scope the area for some great photo ops. Having visited in winter, I can only image the kind of contrasting images I would get at sunset with the overhanging cliffs glowing orange popping against the green grassland. Due to time constraints I opted for a drive through the Park to make the most of my short stay here, rather than hike one of the many trails starting at the Glen Reenen Rest Camp.

This place reminded me so much of my favourite childhood movie – The Land before time. Maybe it was the after math of the intense drought South Africa had recently been experiencing. The lack of water saddened me. Or it could have possibly been the fact that in 1973 fossilised dinosaur eggs and bones as well as footprints from the Triassic period were found here.