Baviaans and gamkaskloof

Lets go local…..

Time to explore…..

  • 11 – 17 September 2020 R3 950 p/p sharing

Let’s go local and explore the hidden gems in our backyards

We must go beyond textbooks, go out into the bypaths and un-trodden depths of the wilderness and travel and explore and tell the world the glories of our journey –  “John Hope Franklin”

Come share our passion to travel to lesser and sometimes unknown locations, meet local people, experience their worlds and in the process – creating life-enriching experiences and making memories to last a lifetime, all while having the most fun you can. Come live this adventure without just being a spectator.


The Baviaanskloof Wilderness Area lies approximately 120 km west of Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape Province, South Africa and comprises of approximately 270 000 ha of unspoiled, rugged mountainous terrain. Starting in the East at Komdomo, the road leads through the rugged beauty of the “Grootrivier” Gorge on its winding path through this pristine conservancy, all the way towards Willowmore in the West. A total distance of about 203 km. The area offers a wide range of eco-recreational opportunities as well as an unique wilderness experience.

Set in the Karoo Midlands, the Baviaans area features majestic mountains rising from rolling plains, with lush green valleys providing stark contrast. With stunning sunsets and clear, starry nights, the Baviaans offers a taste of life at its unspoilt best.


Gamkaskloof or “Die Hel” as it has become known, is a hidden valley, deep in the heart of the formidable Swartberg Mountain Range. The fertile valley runs in an east-west direction and is approximately 20 km long and 600 meters wide.The Kloof gets it’s name from the Khoisan word for Lion – Gamka – also the name of the river that enters the valley from the north. There are about 153 species of bird-life in Gamkaskloof, even the fish eagle makes it’s appearance from time to time. Wildlife includes – Klipspringers, Grey Rhebuck, Rooikat, Porcupines, Leopard etc. The Valley features the Gamka River, several historic houses and outbuildings, a school, a cemetery and old norse watermill a landing strip and a curious history.

Swartberg switchbacks

Places to visit will include the following –

  • Kudu Kaya
  • Doodsklip
  • Doringkloof
  • Baviaanskloof
  • Makedaat Cave
  • van Terrabut Cave
  • Cango Mountain Resort
  • Die Hel
  • Gamkaskloof
  • Many farm and roadside stalls
  • Hiking
  • Birding
  • Kango caves
  • Swartberg Pass
  • Schoemanspoort Pass
  • Elands Pass
  • Swimming in rock pools

Adventure Itinerary

This adventure will start on the Farm Kudu Kaya where we all will come together for the first night. A large variety of birds, including Knysna Loeries, can be observed on the farm and walking trails.

The next morning will see us leaving Kudu Kaya en route to the Baviaanskloof Nature Reserve and Doodsklip will be our home for the night, in close proximity to awesome deep river pools, ideal for swimming.

A distinct ecological community

A UNESCO World Heritage Site as well as a Cape
Floristic Region protected area, Baviaanskloof (Valley
of the Baboons) is a magnificent mountain kingdom
spanning 2 040km, boasting seven of South Africa’s
nine biomes – fynbos, forest, grassland, succulent
Karoo, Nama-Karoo, subtropical thicket and savannah.
At the eastern entrance to the reserve is the
World Heritage Site Interpretive Centre with
dedicated displays that showcase the reserve.
Guides are on hand to show us around the
centre and explain all about the rich biodiversity,
cultural heritage and natural wonders that make
Baviaanskloof one of the most spectacular regions
in the country.

In addition to the scenic splendour of the region,
Baviaanskloof is fast gaining recognition as one
of South Africa’s premier adventure destinations.
Traversing this reserve by 4×4 up rugged mountain passes, through rivers and across the plateau, is an unforgettable true wilderness

The third day will take us to Doringkloof. This will be our base for 2 days exploring the surrounding areas or maybe try out one of their 4×4 trails (optional).

The longest trail, about 78 kilometers in length and has a grading of 2, winds its way from the Baviaanskloof valley right up the Kouga mountain range, past Graskop to the summit and then down to Kareedouw in the Langkloof.

En route one will see a rich variety of vegetation including cycads that are hundreds of years old. Much of the scenery is simply breath-taking.

Although not a particularly difficult 4×4 trail, some parts are sufficiently demanding to make it interesting.

Next up on the itinerary is the caves or hol kranse at Makedaat Cave situated on a working farm near Willowmore. We will use the Van Terrebert Cave as our base for the night. A natural rock overhang has been enclosed to form a double story cave house. Like all caves, it maintains an even temperature, being neither too hot in summer nor too cold in winter. The cave faces east resulting in spectacular views of the sunrise and romantic moons. At night the clear Karoo sky offers excellent opportunities to star gazers.

Day 6 will see us leaving the caves for the Cango Mountain Resort via Uniondale and de Rust where we will relax and enjoy the peaceful ambiance of a mountain retreat. From here we will visit the caves and do a little Indiana Jones style adventuring and explore the ancient mysteries that hide beneath the limestone of the Swartberg Mountains. Recent archeological discoveries have revealed that the Cango Caves have been sheltering mankind for more than 80 000 years. Poke around the dripstone caverns, vast limestone halls and towering rock formations that used to home our early homo sapien ancestors.

The last day take us over the Swartberg Pass and onto die Hel. Die Hel is arguably one of the most remote and interesting places to visit in South Africa. The drive is not for the faint-hearted but the variety of biomes and vegetation is fascinating. The camp sites are beautifully maintained by Cape Nature. We will explore the incredible history of the valley. It is a special place to rejuvenate the soul and connect with Nature.


  • Day 1 Kudu Kaya
  • Day 2 Doodsklip
  • Day 3 Doringkloof
  • Day 4 Doringkloof
  • Day 5 Van Terrebert Cave
  • Day 6 Cango Mountain Resort
  • Day 7 Die Hel

What do you need:

  1. A good reliable, serviced 4-wheel drive vehicle or high clearance 4×2
  2. Fuel range of app. 350km
  3. Camping equipment and cooking/braai accessories.
  4. Fridge/Freezer
  5. Last but not least – A good sense of humour and a positive outlook.

2 way radios will be supplied by ourselves.

Price includes:

  • All camping fees
  • Conservation fees
  • Park entry fees
  • 2 dinners
  • Tour guide with vast knowledge of area and qualified paramedic
  • Use of 2 way radios for communication, constant updates and history

Not included:

  • 4×4 vehicle hire
  • Fuel
  • Food
  • Daily activities
  • Transfer fees
  • Game drives

Travel and tour company guiding self drive adventures in Southern Africa

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