Bedding down... next to a zoo!

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NT Steenbokkie1 . A room in its garden setting. Pictures: Beth Hopper

For some it might be an experience to be avoided at all costs, but for me the stirrings and noises emerging from the adjoining small zoo proved to be something different.

Accommodation in Beaufort West was at a premium – unless we wanted to pay top dollar. Then I remembered friends had camped at Steenbokkie Nature Reserve outside of the town, and enjoyed their stay.

So we headed 7km out of town to see whether more than just campsites were on offer and were delighted when we were shown some of their accommodation.

Relaxing in their small, cool rooms – with en-suite bathroom reached through a Wild-West style swing door – after the heat of the Karoo, was a relief.

It being almost evening, there was no time to explore. In my bed that night, I wondered what all the strange noises were, but somehow it fitted with the “bush” experience, and lulled me to sleep.

In the morning, I found our rooms were next to a small menagerie/zoo. Mountain goats bleated and bounded up and down the small rocky faces of their home. Turkeys gobbled, and peacocks fanned their magnificent tails, while some other small animals strolled about.

NT Steenbokkie2 Turkeys and peahens against a colourful mural. .

Taking a short walk on the grass outside the rooms, I came across a one-horned springbok. It lay unconcerned under the trees, watching me through huge, luminous eyes. Wondering whether others might not quite like the idea of sleeping next to a zoo, I contacted my friends, who had again visited Steenbokkie, this time staying in a room rather than the campsite.

They were taken aback to hear there even was a zoo. On both their visits, they had arrived at night and left before sunrise and , no, they had not heard anything.

I should mention the only facilities are for making tea and coffee, for meals you have to go into town – unless you are set up with your own equipment for catering. But if accommodation is in short supply, and you are looking for just a bed to lay your weary head, Steenbokkie is worth a whirl.

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