Bass Lake Adventures
101 Trail Guide | 2010
Bass Lake Adventures
Unusually set next to an old mine quarry 45 minutes south of Sandton, Bass Lake Adventures is part of a 75 hectare estate.
First impressions of the scenery may be somewhat deceptive, as it soon becomes clear that Bass Lake is a little-known environmental find.
Strict rules apply to the Bass Lake 4×4 trail. You’ll find these on the back of the permit you receive after paying the fees and signing the indemnity.
The trail is numbered so there is little chance of getting lost or making a wrong turn. Everything here is done strictly by the book.
Designed by owner Alan Pepper, the trail is a 14.7 km obstacle course that takes around 3 hours to complete.
It uses natural obstructions to add technical charm.
The trail starts with a steep climb to the top of a ridge from where you will encounter axle-twisters, ascents and descents, cambers, and crossings of mud and water.
The terrain varies from forest to grassland, from soil to gravel and from open spaces to rock driving.
It is only once you are on the track that you become aware of the diversity of plant life in the area.
Various indigenous tree species have been introduced by Alan and his wife, Karen, resulting in a healthy and diverse bird population. Their environmental efforts have been recognised in that the facility has won the Fish Eagle Environmental Award five times in eight years.
Bass Lake is Mitsubishi Xplorer accredited, and offers training courses ranging from introductory to advanced, as well as a recovery course.
Known for his personalised tuition, Alan specialises in husband-and-wife teams as well as those who find 4×4 driving daunting.
There are five luxury lodge tents (one of which is ultraluxurious) with private bathrooms on the waterfront, four A-frame chalets and five permanent bow tents with shared ablutions.
Breakfast is included in the accommodation price.
The campsites next to the lake share a central ablution facility, and there are braais.
Diving, hiking, mountain biking, archery, paintball, bass fishing and bird watching. Training courses include scuba diving, 4×4 and quad biking. Bass Lake can also host conferences, team building and corporate events.
What you need to know
Henley-on-Klip (10 km)
Best time to go: All year round, but it is best when dry.
Trail distance: 14.7 km
How long will I be driving? 2-3 hours
GPS: S26.50967 E28.06681
FULL REVIEW | JULY 2006 (DO15) | Danie Vorster
Nearest town Meyerton (Henley on Klip) (10km)
Contact Alan Pepper
Tel 016 366 1127/8
Cell 083 250 4385
Fax 016 366 0133
Best time of year All year; best when dry
Maximum vehicles 10
Route distance 14km (2–3 hours)
What do an old mine quarry, a scuba diving instructor and a 4×4 training venue right in the middle of Gauteng have in common? I was asking myself this as I arrived at the mine’s security gate. I felt a bit sceptical. “Is this a waste of time coming to Bass Lake? What can a mine quarry possibly offer the nature lover, the 4×4 enthusiast and the bird watcher?”
Even when driving over the ridge down into the quarry, one is not yet impressed. But when you reach the lake it feels as if you’ve been transferred to another planet.
The peace and tranquillity fill your soul and transport you from the frantic hustle and bustle of the city to another place.
Alan Pepper moved to Johannesburg in 1983 and found Bass Lake dolomite mine in 1986 by chance as he flew over the freshwater lake.
At that stage he was only looking for a place from which he could run his diving school and, after some negotiations, managed to get permission from the mine authorities to take ten people at a time to dive the lake.
Alan and Karen Pepper finally obtained a lease from the mine in 1996 and started Bass Lake Adventures as an adventure destination, where one can scuba dive amongst the various wrecks on the bottom of the lake.
Alternatively, there was the option to do a scuba diving course, go for 4×4 and quad bike driver training, or have a drive on the 14km obstacle track.
Alan used to do overland safari trips during the winter months when it was too cold to scuba dive.
Out of these trips arose the need to teach people about safety whilst driving off-road, and this led him to build a 4×4 track at Bass Lake in 1997.
He then joined the Mitsubishi Explorers club and also does various other training for numerous vehicle dealerships, as well as vehicle launches.
The lake itself is well stocked with black bass and makes an ideal fishing destination.
Bass Lake is only 20 minutes’ drive from Johannesburg, so you can always grab your fishing gear and escape whenever the office stress is getting too much. Bass Lake is currently pumping 3 000 liters per minute of fresh water out of the lake to keep the water level controlled.
A number of camping sites next to the lake, complete with braai facilities, makes this an ideal weekend stopover.
The main tented camp blends in well with the natural bush surroundings and is situated on one of the ridges overlooking the lake.
It is only once you set off on the 4×4 track that you become aware of the diversity of plant life in and around the track and quarry. Various indigenous tree species have been brought in by Allan and Karen, which resulted in the growing numbers of bird species.
Bass Lake has ensured that the mine wins the prestigious Fish Eagle Environmental award five times in an eight-year period, as an example of how an old mine can be rehabilitated to become environmentally friendly.
The trail starts with a steep climb to the top of the ridge where you will encounter various obstacles like axle twisters, ascents and descents of varying heights, and mud and water crossings. Alan has loads of patience and has the knack to help people overcome their own fears.
The 4×4 training course is aimed at getting the whole family to know their vehicle. The terrain varies from forest to grasslands, from soil to gravel and from open spaces to rock driving.
Bass Lake is ideal for conferences, team building and corporate events.
The Gecko restaurant serves excellent cuisine. A dive shop sells various diving equipment items and can refill your air cylinders as well.
WHY I LOVED IT
“Alan’s personal touch, his vast amount of knowledge in his appro
ach to the professional driver training offered, as well as the peace and quiet found next to the lake make this an ideal destination.” Danie Vorster
WHERE TO STAY
- Five Tented Lodges with bathrooms (one tent is luxurious).
- Six Bow Tents share an ablution block (breakfast is included in the accommodation). Braai facilities are available next to the lake.
- Various campsites next to the lake share a central ablution facility.
- Training includes scuba diving, 4×4 training, responsible 4×4 and quad training.
- Other activities include hiking, mountain biking or archery and paintball. Bass fishing, microlight flying and bird watching.
Accommodation rates range from R60 – R150 pppn
Trail R100 pv (2 people) & R20 extra pp (children under 6 pay 50%)
Rates for activities on request
WHY GO THERE
- The diversity of the various eco systems found in the rehabilitated quarry
- The lake and its tranquillity
- Personal touch of the owners
- Challenging obstacles without any vehicle breakers
- Peaceful and secure area
- Easy access – close to Johannesburg
What you should know
Alan & Karen Pepper
016 366 1127/8
083 250 4385
14.7km | 2-3 hours
There are five tented lodges with bathrooms (one ultra luxurious one) and six bow tents which share an ablution block. Breakfast is included in the accommodation. Braai facilities are available next to the lake.
There are various campsites next to the lake all of which share a central ablution facility. All sites come complete with braai facilities, makes this an ideal weekend stopover.