Discover yourself in Boondock’s Labyrinth
The beauty of the Genesis Route is that it is one of Mpumalanga’s best kept secrets. It is not overrun by tour groups, fighting for the best vantage point to snap a selfie. Yet it should be! As there truly is something for everybody and each destination is as magnificent as the one before.
Boondocks Labyrinth is no different. Perched on the top of an impressive rocky outcrop 8km in from the road you will be forgiven for feeling like you have landed in the middle of nowhere. The panoramic viewpoints reveal pristine bushveld as far as the eye can see and the sounds of the bush echo from every corner.
The drive up to the labyrinth is a 4x4 enthusiasts dream. While for those like me whose car is a little less able to cope with the rugged terrain, you can park under the shade of a thorn tree and hitch a lift with owner Stuart Jensen. The route to the lodge and labyrinth is as impressive as the destination. With Giraffe, antelope, and the occasional leopard sighting turning the 20 minute trip into a fabulous game drive.
At the top you will be greeted by Ann, a native of Ireland. She told me that the second she set foot on the Boondocks reserve she felt like she had come home, “from the moment we brought the place, we knew we needed to share it”. Sharing it is exactly what they have done. Their beautiful lodge sleeps 11 people while the three self-catering chalets can sleep a further 6. They are also open for day visitors who want to spend the day walking the many hiking trails or cooling off in one of the properties pools. But the real attraction remains the labyrinth.
Boondocks Labyrinth is one of South Africa’s top spiritual tour sites and I didn’t really know what to expect. On our walk down, Stuart explained the difference between a labyrinth and a maze is that, “a maze is a game - the aim is to lose yourself, whereas you find yourself in a labyrinth”.
The conversation stopped as we got close to the labyrinth and a feeling of tranquillity set in. As the beautifully situated labyrinth appeared amidst a glen of old trees, and the sound of running water provided the perfect ambiance. I can understand why people get engaged and choose to have their weddings here. It really is like something out of a fairy tale.
The Labyrinth itself was smaller than I had imagined, yet as soon as you start walking the pathways you get drawn in to it and somehow it seems to open up in front of your feet. My experience of the labyrinth was perhaps not as dramatic as that of others who have felt the presence of missing loved ones, or a connection to a higher place. I was simply overcome by the tranquillity of the setting and after 30 minutes in the labyrinth I felt relaxed, refreshed and revived; which, as a first time mother of a 6 month old baby, is as magical a present as anyone could give me!
So what is the labyrinth’s magic? Stuart believes it enables you to lose connection with the moment and allow your subconscious to come to the forefront. This allows all the mundane day-to-day concerns to fade away whilst giving you the time to evaluate the deeper aspects of life.
The inspiration to build a labyrinth came from a visit to one in the Karoo, and they are currently in the process of advising Nelspruit’s Botanical Gardens on the construction of a labyrinth there. Stuart and Ann hope is that in the future more Labyrinths will be built around South Africa. As they believe, “Labyrinths have a special energy. You don’t need to understand it or how it heals you. All you need is to be open to it. Then one day build one and invite other people to share in it”.
Whether you believe in the healing power of Boondock’s Labyrinth or not, it’s worth visiting for the scenery alone. The mountain walks and birding will keep nature lovers coming back for more and if like me you are willing to give the Labyrinth a go, then I think you might walk away feeling all the better for the experience and get the most out of your journey.
Directions to Boondocks Labyrinth:
You take the N4 towards Nelspruit, turning off at Machadorp (signed for Badplaas). Travel for 45km before turning left at the T-junction towards Barberton. Go past Barberton and continue until the first 4way stop. Turn left onto the R38 towards Kaapmuiden. After 40km you will see the Boondocks sign on your right.