Mount Everest Game Reserve, Free State
The privately owned Mount Everest Game Reserve is set in a particularly scenic part of the Free State close to the town of Harrismith and, despite its smallness, gives one access to Mount Everest (as well as the 'I've climbed Mt. Everest' t-shirt to prove it). That's not the Mount Everest, also known as Sagarmatha or 'head in the sky' - the highest mountain on Earth in the Himalayas - but rather one of a number of sandstone crags set in the game park in amongst rhino, ostriches, waterbuck and mountain zebra, that is fairly popular with the climbing fraternity.
This hilly region of the Free State, roughly 20 kilometres north east of Harrismith, gives climbers and hikers access to a series of sandstone crags, outcrops and boulders with highly original names like the Ostrich egg, Refrigerator, Cyclops (no 19 is a particularly heady experience) and Horned toad, although the rock quality is said to vary from superb to decidedly questionable but there is, by all accounts, a routes handbook at the reception of Mount Everest Game Reserve to help one decide on where best to climb.
One of the campsites (one can choose from houses, huts or camping) is set in amongst the hilltops and is a wonderful base from which to spend a few days rock-climbing in the reserve, which include sport routes, single-pitch routes, easy and hard routes.
Located in the foothills of the Drakensberg, nearby Harrismith is well known as a convenient refuelling stop en route to Durban and as the place to restock before heading into the hills, quite literally - both the Amphittheatre and Mont-Aux-Sources are accessible from here.
Accommodation in Mount Everest Reserve
The farm offers accommodation in caravan and camping sites as well as nine chalets, some of which are set amongst the hilltops to ensure total privacy, while others are in the main camp, providing a place for children to play and roam. Mount Everest is also a working sheep farm and chicken farm and ...
Did you know?
A visit to the game reserve gets you an 'I've climbed Mt. Everest' t-shirt!