Did you know?
A 'muggle' is the name geocachers give to a non-geocacher. The name comes from the Harry Potter books.
It’s all about the thrill of the cache at the eastern Free State farm of Beatrix, which offers geocaching and hiking adventures.
Armed with your GPS and an appreciation of golden views, you start your adventure at a milk can at the front door of a converted barn, which offers comfortable, rustic accommodation. From here you either use your GPS or your penchant for cryptic clues, or both, to find the next clue.
The geocaching challenge is an approx. four-hour adventure on the farm without any marked trail to guide you. Geocaching, for those not familiar with it, is an adventure seeker’s treasure hunt, where you are given GPS points and clues to several ‘treasure’ points along the way.
There is actually no treasure to speak of, just the satisfaction of finding your way to each point, with views of mountain streams, magnificent rock formations and a rare tritheledontid fossil your reward.
For those who prefer a more straightforward trail, there is the well-marked, fairly challenging 7.5km Mosamane Hiking Trail, which leads you through the grasslands, where secretary birds note your passing, into the crimson and gold sandstone cliffs with their fantastical sculptural formations.
There are ladders and chains to help you negotiate the steep mountain section of the hike, which passes ancient caves called ‘Owl’s Eyes’, so-named because of their appearance. If you enjoy mountain biking, there’s also a tough but scenic 16km route that takes you through a different part of the farm to the hiking trail.
And if none of the above appeal to you, simply sit under a tree and soak in the landscape, which is home to a great variety of creatures, including the mosamane, a ground squirrel named in the local Sotho language – and you’ll see plenty of these.