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Find Eden at Bass Lake



It’s clean, comfortable and convenient.

It’s close but feels very far away. Bass Lake Country Lodge, a camping site near Cullinan outside Pretoria, is probably the best place to lose your camper’s virginity.

For seasoned outdoors types, it’s an oasis of cleanliness, lush greenery and beautiful views of the dam where, if you have a rod, bass and trout are just waiting to be caught.

The Bass Lake campsite forms part of a bigger conferencing lodge, so civilisation is always nearby. And the camping area is beautifully demarcated into stands with hedges separating you from your neighbour for a bit of privacy.

There’s an electrical point so hairdryers and appliances and devices that can take camping closer to glamping without sacrificing the rustic, is possible. Except when Eskom kills the vibe.

The terrain is spotless, there isn’t a paper nor a remnant of the previous family’s camping exploits and the ablution facilities are spotless.

There are two blocks and there’s never a queue, the showers are spacious and hot water aplenty.

Dishwashing areas are tidy and if you’re too immersed in nature to bother about washing up, part time workers troll the campsite and do your dishes, sweep out your tent and make life a little easier at a decent gratuity.

Troubles in tenting up a storm are also easily solved with experts at hand to help set you up.

Fishing and more

Everyone who camps at Bass Lake seems to pack their fishing rods. Bass and other fish are catch and release, but if you’re lucky enough to reel in some trout, the resort will clean it for you, fillet it the way you like it and will charge you for the weight of the fish.

There’s a second lake or dam a short walk away from your tent. This is where you can get onto a pedalo and fish in the centre of the calm waters or take your kids for a paddle. It’s R20 for every halfhour, the same price as box carts that you can rent for Junior.

The only catch is that dad must push the contraption around the dam, and a fair portion of it is uphill.

The second body of water is also where one of the best restaurants I have ever dined at is situated.

The view is spectacular and the food is better than many of the city’s finest fare. In fact, it’s so good that it’s worth the drive from Joburg just to dine there.

Chef Spencer Sykes prepares everything fresh and while the cooking may take bit longer because of it, the taste bud heaven is worth every second’s delay.

Try the fillet with bone marrow, the pork belly, the, well, everything on the menu. Dessert is exceptional with three options – bread pudding, crème brûlée and the chef’s take on malva pudding. Pricewise, it compares favourably to family restaurants. Spencer’s Restaurant also of[1]fers breakfast and light meals for lunch. Next door is a bar-cum-coffee shop with cakes baked by Sykes’ wife, who is an accomplished pastry chef.

The carrot cake is exceptional and there are real, fresh blueberries in the blueberry cheesecake. Back to camp and the balance of service beyond cleanliness and self-styled comfort is great.

The small tuckshop that sells essentials even delivers your wood, charcoal and firelighters to your tent or caravan.

The camp manager criss-crosses the site daily, radio in hand, to ensure that everyone’s happy. She checks in with every guest at least twice a day. Right next to the tuckshop is a giant pool that’s split into three.

There’s a deeper, adult pool, a semi-shallow pool for older kids and a toddler area. There’ are also trampolines and a jungle gym.

There’s so much to say about Bass Lake and the wonderful family experiences to be had. It’s the kind of place where, when departing, you are already planning your next trip.

CHILD’S PLAY. Children enjoy the simple pleasure of playing in the sand.

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