I am expecting a call from National Geographic about this photo

Marico Oog

Tony and me at the entrance to the farm
Tony and me at the entrance to the farm

Marico Oog is a natural spring located on the Grootfontein farm in the North West Province, belonging to Willie Muller and his family. We took a detour from Zeerust to the farm in order to dive in the spring, and to spend a couple of days without cellphone signal (MTN only) and without the distractions of life in the city. We were accompanied by our non-diving buddy Ian, who is a serious twitcher and brought his long camera lens to spy out the local birdlife.


View Larger Map

Accommodation

The chalet we stayed in
The chalet we stayed in

There are three chalets at Marico Oog, only one of which has a toilet. Guess which one we chose. There is an ablution block for use by the inhabitants of the other two chalets (which do have baths/showers) and the campers – camping is allowed anywhere on the grounds. No appliances, cutlery or crockery are provided, so you have to bring just about everything including bedding. There are fridges in the chalets and fitted sheets on the beds but otherwise it’s quite rustic. I liked the thatch roof and the shady interior of the chalet, but Tony didn’t enjoy the occasional spider that passed by!

Facilities

Each chalet has a balcony area with a braai – the one we were in had a huge stoep and space for five to sleep in the same room. It’s the furthest from the water, but the walk is neither far nor demanding. There is a lot of grass to run around on (if that’s your thing), and the chalet we were in is well spaced from the other two, which are back to back. There’s a water slide on the grass left of left the middle of the map, but I’m not sure whether it’s functional.

Wildlife

Ian on the pontoon
Ian on the pontoon

The swimming pool (top right in the map above) was almost empty, which made for some lovely photographic opportunities. Ian found three mice (one dead) in the pool, and several frogs. To me the bird life was quite diverse, but there didn’t seem to be anything on the farm that couldn’t be seen elsewhere. Each evening we sat on the pontoon on the Oog and watched barn, white-throated and greater striped swallows coming to feed at the water and roost in the reeds. It’s very quiet and peaceful there, except for the inhabitants of the neighbouring farm, who share part of the water and seemed to enjoy fishing with beers in the evenings.

Diving

I am expecting a call from National Geographic about this photo
I am expecting a call from National Geographic about this photo

There are no compressor facilities at Marico Oog, so you have to bring everything you need. We rented cylinders in Johannesburg, one each. Because the Oog is at most 13-14 metres deep and on average more like 5 metres deep, you can dive for a couple of hours on a cylinder if you want to, so it’s not really necessary to rent a pantechnicon to transport your dive gear. The water is about the same temperature as False Bay in summer (19-22 degrees).

Access to the water is via a ladder, reached by walking along the left hand path you can see leading to the water on the map above. The right hand path leads to the pontoon raft.

Entrance to the Oog
Entrance to the Oog

Marico Oog water is bottled and sold as Vippita spring water.

Vippita spring water bottled at Marico Oog
Vippita spring water bottled at Marico Oog

Published by

Clare

Lapsed mathematician, creator of order, formulator of hypotheses. Lover of the ocean, being outdoors, the bush, reading, photography, travelling (especially in Africa) and road trips.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *