5 More awesome things to do in Baviaanskloof

Glenmore 4 x 4 Trail

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where? Glenmore Farm, Willowmore, Baviaanskloof, Eastern Cape

When? Booking required.

How? Call +27 (0)82 834-9219

How much? Price on request

Overnight? Stay at accommodation in Willowmore, in Eastern Cape

The Glenmore 4×4 trail is located on a farm in the Baviaanskloof, and consists of five trails. The farm is located approximately 35km from Willowmore, which is in the Baviaanskloof Wilderness area.

Riverside Camping at Baviaanskloof Lodge

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where? Baviaanskloof Lodge, Onverwags Farm, Cambria, Patensie, Eastern Cape, South Africa

When? Booking is essential.

How much? Price on request

More? See www.baviaansklooflodge.com

Riverside camping is only 2 km away from the main lodge. 4×4 Trails are also available. Baviaanskloof Lodge itself offers Comfortable Accommodation, Dinner Bed and Breakfast, Outdoor Recreation Facilities and Tourist Info Services. Accommodation consists of spacious en suite rooms, dining room, lounge as well as outdoor living area with BBQ facilities and a breathtaking view.

Camping at Gonjah

 

 

 

 

 

 

When? Booking is essential.

How much? Price on request

Website:http://www.baviaans.net/gonjah/

The campsite at Gonjah is delightfully set next to a gently flowing mountain stream, surrounded by towering Yellowwood trees – a real escape to the country.

There are basic facilities on site including a hot shower and flush toilet and braai wood is available so that you can light up that campfire and enjoy nature the way it was meant to be – uninterrupted.

Other Activities

  • Excellent hiking is available around the chalet and in the area.
  • Fresh water fishing nearby in the Gamtoos River.
  • Cycling Trails are close by.
  • Hankey golf course is just 15km away
  • Firewood can be bought for braais and campfires.
  • 10 minute drive to Tolbos Country Shop and Restaurant.

After Hours Number:

041 000 1585 or 082 566 4047 (Hetsie)

Elandsheuwel MTB Trails

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where? Elandsheuwel, Steytlerville, 6250

When? Please enquire. Booking is essential.

How? Call +27 (0)49 834-9011

How much? Price on request

Overnight? Stay at accommodation in Steytlerville, in Eastern Cape

Elandsheuwel is a working angora goat and merino sheep farm that is easily classified as ‘far from the madding crowd’. It offers three trails – 6km, 14 km and 18 km. However further jeep tracks, 4×4 routes and paths all over the farm, over and across hills, make up hundreds of kilometres of trails if you are prepared to explore.

Baviaanskloof MTB Route

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where? The Baviaanskloof World Heritage Site, Eastern Cape.
The untarred R332 stretches for 180 km from Patensie in the east to Willowmore in the west.

Difficulty: Difficult, the routes are long and can be gruelling

When? Best during daylight hours.

Type of route: gravel roads, tricky river crossings, dense wooded areas, uphills and heart-stopping downhills
Best: summer is incredible, even winter days can soar to 28 degrees, although the evenings and early mornings are really chilly

How much? Free

Overnight? Stay at accommodation in Willowmore, in Eastern Cape

The ride is tough, but the beauty and the remoteness are second to none.

If you haven’t read the preceding blog “11 Awesome things to do in Baviaanskloof”, you can do so now by selecting this link.

 

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Cedar Falls Baviaanskloof

11 Awesome things to do in Baviaanskloof

Baviaanskloof Hartland 6-day Hike

Baviaanskloof Hartland 6-day Hike

Where? Gamtoos Valley
Start: Rietrivier

Finish: Rietrivier

Duration: roughly 12 km a day

Fitness: you need to be fit to cope with steep sections, rock surface and rough terrain

Tip: This is a slackpack trail, but you will need to provide your own lunch and drinks every day.

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Vondeling Optel Craft

Vondeling Optel Craft

Where? Vondeling, near Willowmore, Eastern Cape, South Africa

When? Please enquire.

How? Call +27 (0)73 565-0813

How much? Price on request

Overnight? Stay at accommodation in Vondeling, in Eastern Cape

Vondeling settlement consists of an isolated scatter of homesteads, made up of only 29 families, on public and private land close to the now disused Vondeling railway siding. It is located 47 km west of Willowmore in the Eastern Cape, close to the boundary with the Western Cape Province.

The infrastructure at the settlement consists of a primary school and a church hall. There is no electricity supply. The town use to be connected to the outside world by train, but they have long since stopped running. Vondeling Optel Craft is recognized as a reliable supplier to the top craft retail stores, and niche Christmas decoration stores in South Africa, and is also exporting successfully.

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Soetendalspoort 4×4 Trail

Where? 46km from Willowmore in the Baviaanskloof Region, Eastern Cape

When? Please enquire.

How? Call +27 (0)44 923-1872

How much? Price on request

Overnight? Stay at accommodation in Willowmore, in Eastern Cape

Experience the haunting beauty of the Karoo in a very special way when venturing out on the Soetendalspoort 4×4 Trails. These trails are situated less than 50 kilometres from Willowmore in the province of the Eastern Cape. They are secluded from the bustle of city life, allowing the drivers and their passengers to experience the South African landscapes in their most unadulterated state.

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Doringkloof 4×4 Trails

Where? About 80 km from Willowmore in the Baviaanskloof, Eastern Cape

When? Booking is required.

How? Call +27 (0)49 839-1160

How much? Price on request

Overnight? Stay at accommodation in Baviaanskloof, in Eastern Cape

Deep in the ancient formations of the Baviaanskloof Mountain Range lie the Doringkloof 4×4 Trails. This area is characterised by rugged landscapes, enormous mountains that burst from sometimes arid ground, and an abundance of plant and animal life. It remains popular amongst campers and explorers from all over the world; those wanting to be part of the untouched part of the South African countryside.

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Longmore Forest MTB Route

Longmore MTB Route

Where? Longmore Forest, Off N2, towards Hankey, Baviaanskloof

When? Monday to Sunday from 07h00

How? Call +27 (0)41 368-7244

How much? Price on request

Overnight? Stay at accommodation in Hankey, in Eastern Cape

This long trail is perfect for the intermediate mountain biker and can take between 2 hours to a few days to complete (if you wanted to come back to cover all routes of course) depending on how long you want to ride for and what routes you decide to take.

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Eden to Addo Hike

Eden to Addo Hike

Where? The hike starts in Knysna and ends in Addo.

When? At the moment, the hike is not yet formal, and happens only once a year in September. Contact for full details.

How? Call +27 (0)44 533-1623

How much? Price on request

Overnight? Stay at accommodation in Addo, in Eastern Cape

The Eden to Addo hike is considered by some as the longest, if not the toughest hiking trail in South Africa. Regarded as a ‘mega’ hike, the Eden to Addo entails an 18-day haul from Knysna to Addo and the Addo Elephant National Park, on its way to being one of the largest national parks in southern Africa. The ‘eden’ in the title no doubt suggests a ‘lost’ paradise; a play on what would once have been deep forests along the coast.

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Gonjah 4×4 Trails

Gonjah Trails

Where? Gamtoos River Valley, Baviaanskloof, Eastern Cape.

When? Please Enquire

How? Call +27(0)42 283-0596

How much? Price on request

Overnight? Stay at accommodation in Gamtoos Valley, in Eastern Cape

The exciting Gonjah 4 x 4 Route is a fabulous way to explore and discover the gorgeous area of the Gamtoos River Valley in the Eastern Cape. This area borders the Baviaanskloof region, which is one of this province’s most prized natural jewels and tourist attractions.

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Baviaans Heritage Tours

Baviaans Heritage Tours

Where? 70 Wehmeyer Street, Willowmore, 6445, Baviaanskloof, Eastern Cape

When? Booking is essential.

How? Call +27 (0)44 923-1574

How much? Price on request

Overnight? Stay at accommodation in Willowmore, in Eastern Cape

The Baviaanskloof is a majestic mountain range that is not only significant for its natural abundance, but also for its historical and cultural heritage, particularly when coupled with the valleys, kloofs, farms and even villages around it. It is no wonder, then, that this is a renowned UNESCO World Heritage Site, inviting tourists from all over South Africa and the world to see the bounty and beauty of the Eastern Cape Province.

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Cedar Falls Day Hike

Cedar Falls

Where? Go Baviaans, Ceder Falls, Studtis, Baviaanskloof, Eastern Cape, South Africa.

When? Only available to guests staying overnight at Cedar Falls Base Camp at Go Baviaans in Baviaanskloof.

How much? Falls into price group R1 to R100 per person. Confirm with the provider.

Overnight? Stay at accommodation in Studtis, in Eastern Cape

The magnificent Baviaanskloof Mega Reserve is one of the Eastern Cape’s most exquisite treasures, acclaimed for the dramatic mountain ranges and unique array of vegetation that make it so scenic. The Cedar Falls Day Hike is in the heart of the Baviaanskloof, and hikers can drink in the beautiful South African landscapes as they follow streams, negotiate rugged pathways, and descend into breath-taking kloofs.

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Bushmen Painting Walk

Bushmen Painting Walk

Where? Ceder Falls, Studtis, Baviaanskloof, Eastern Cape

When? Only available to guests staying overnight at Cedar Falls Base Camp at Go Baviaans in Baviaanskloof.

How much? Free

More? See website

Overnight? Stay at accommodation in Studtis, in Eastern Cape

Within the spectacular beauty of the Baviaanskloof, a number of hiking and walking trails lie in wait for eager adventurers. The Bushmen Painting Walk is ideal as it combines history and culture with the untainted splendour of this pristine part of the Eastern Cape.

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Tolbos | Bistro – Deli – Info

Where? Patensie, Fred Ferreira Way (R331), Eastern Cape

When? Tolbos makes for a perfect stop on your day trip. Open daily

How? Call +27 42 283 0437

Overnight? Stay at accommodation in Patensie, in Eastern Cape

Tolbos is a fully licensed restaurant, country shop and tourist information point in the heart of the Kouga Mountain Range and surrounding orchards. It offers a cosy indoor venue as well as a charming outdoor courtyard garden with children’s play area that is great for children and families to enjoy . Browse through the rest of this website for further information.

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Shuffle and shake, we never stop – almost!

Statistics tell us that businesses younger than 5 years have a staggering (and rather worrying) 80% chance of failing. That number drops significantly after year 7. Our beloved Tolbos has been a premier stop-over, eatery, shop and general social venue for tourists and locals for almost 30 years, however that gives me little comfort in today’s ever changing world of instant gratification and consumer culture.

As business owners in this modern age, we can no longer sit back and hope that things will always be “well” like people used to do “back in the day”. There is always the looming possibility that larger (or other) players in an industry can muscle you right out of your game (think larger national brands killing the independent corner shop, or the national pizza or burger chains who stifle local businesses).

I was thinking about this very scenario the other day and how sad it can be for a community when a national brand moves in. “But surely a national brand moving into your neighborhood is a good thing that will attract even more visitors?” -I hear you say. I am not so sure. Most of the profit made by “Mr & Ms local business” is pumped back into the local economy. Sure, the national brands provide employment, but then so do the independent businesses. The (big) difference is that most of the profit the national brands make are “shipped out” straight to head office and does not make it’s way back into the local town’s economy.

I also see the trend where people actually prefer to see fewer of the national brands when they are on holiday or exploring – after all, they are traveling to experience something new, not go to the same coffee shop they do in the city.

These are just a few of the reasons why we keep innovating, reshuffling, refreshing. We keep praying and we keep our faith. We have a passion. They say a change is as good as a holiday, and to a certain extent I must agree. We have only recently re-branded and renovated, and already we find ourselves regularly moving things around, improving efficiencies and processes and we keep on carving away at being better and better, for our customers and for ourselves day after day.

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I know a famous place, The Baviaanskloof Nature Reserve

Now, you may ask, “What is all this fuss about The Baviaanskloof?” Well, it is only THE most stunning Wilderness Area that lies tucked between the Baviaans and Kouga Mountain ranges, approximately 120 km west of Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape Province, South Africa. This World Heritage Site is a showpiece of natural wonders that spans approximately 270 000 Ha. Expect rugged, mountainous terrain, interspersed with green grazing areas, pristine natural forests, fynbos, valley bushveld and rocky riverbeds. Trees here have been around for yonks -keep an eye out for the Outeniqua Yellowwood tree which has an estimated age of 800 + years. Two surviving species of the ancient Cycad species are found in the Baviaanskloof; and one particular plant, believed to be over 3 000 years old, stands at the viewpoint, which offers a panoramic view over the Cambria Valley. There are more than 1000 different plant species, including those of South African favourites, the Erica and Protea families, in the nature reserve.

The area is characterized by many diverse geological, topographic and climatic features. Check out the psychedelic and colourful rock formations and cliff faces – you would be forgiven if you thought you were on a 70’s high from all the fresh air!

A fail-safe way to start your exploration of this stunning site is to first visit Tolbos for some good food and expert advice on the area. After fuelling up on refreshments and some padkos, drive straight through Patensie for 40-odd km’s- past meandering citrus groves until you get to Komdomo and the Cambria Valley. Watch for antelope, birdlife and baboons throughout the Groot River Gorge. Keep driving – the fun has only begun! This route continues for about 203km’s to the Karoo town of Willowmore in the west.

 

Want to stay over? Not a problem. There are all sorts of amenities, to suit every budget. Pick from guest houses, B&B’s, camping sites, tented camps, hotels or working farms – you will be spoilt by the locals who are known for their hospitality and genuine, down-to-earth friendliness.

Quite simply, it is a place like this that inspires and drives eco-recreational enthusiasts!

Whether you prefer getting lost in the wild or sweating it off up an impossibly steep hill on a set of wheels, you can do here, in the Baviaanskloof. These valleys and hills literally beg you to ‘take a hike’ and you get to choose the pace and views!

Tourists who prefer to maintain their dignity can partake in a spot of bird-watching or keep an eye out for the rich and diverse wild animal population, which includes the species Cape Buffalo, Kudu, Cape Mountain Zebra, Red Hartebeest, Bushbuck, Mountain Reedbuck and Eland.

The Baviaanskloof is an eco-tourism destination right on our doorstep and it offers the traveller the perfect opportunity to explore South Africa in a safe and beautiful setting. Come on, what are you waiting for?

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An overview of Patensie and surrounds.

Tolbos is situated in the agricultural town of Patensie, where the main activity revolves around the cultivation of citrus. To get to the Valley, you will have to travel approximately 75km’s west on the N2, from Port Elizabeth. Pass through Loerie (famous for the South African ‘Naartjie’) and then Hankey (home to the world’s largest sundial and final resting place of Sarah Bartmann – a Khoi-San woman descendant of South Africa’s first inhabitants, the Khoi and Mfengu people), before arriving in Patensie. This is the last place to top-up, snack-up, refuel and refresh before heading off to the World Heritage Site of the Baviaanskloof (‘Valley of Baboons’). At Tolbos, we love to ‘chat’ tourism and will give all the info you may need for enriching your visit to the Gamtoos Valley. Take the opportunity to enjoy a hearty breakfast or sun downer snack platter while drawing up your travel plans.

Do experience farm-life, beautiful scenery or outdoor splendour by staying over at one of the many guesthouses, B&B’s or campsites in the Valley. Explore one of the challenging 4×4 routes or walk and bike a country trail route in the safe, rural area. Adventure and endurance racing are popular past-times and the Kouga region is proud to host many of these events throughout the year. Fancy something more relaxing or traditional? Try a spot of fishing, bird-watching – or aim for a birdie on the beautifully maintained Hankey Golf Course!

Keep an eye on local media for dates of Citrus festivals, traditional and extremely popular ‘Boere’ bazaars (fairs), sporting events and shows featuring well-known South African celebrities at various venues around town.

Should you have some spare time, take a slight detour to visit the Kouga Dam, about 32km’s en-route to the east entrance of the Baviaanskloof. This is the first double-arched dam engineered in South Africa, built in 1967.

From here, it is magnificence all the way into the 192 000Ha Baviaanskloof Wilderness area, nestled between the Kouga and Baviaanskloof mountain ranges. Truly worth a visit!

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Meet the Tolbos General Manager: Lana ‘Pixie’ Fourie

Lana has been part of the www.tolbos.co.za family for just on a year now and it has been an absolute pleasure to have a cool level-headed person to rely on. There is no drama, but a self-assuredness that drives this lady. She is deceptively young-looking and when you spy her buzzing to Tolbos on her zippy scooter in her funky outfit, you would never dream that she is well into her 30’s!

Lana earned the nickname of ‘Pixie’ while still at boarding school in Pietermaritzburg in Kwazulu Natal – the story goes that her very short hairstyle emphasized her ‘Elfin’-like ears and, at Voortrekker Hoerskool, the cute likeness stuck. It would also seem that this nickname influenced her demeanour and when she is not managing day-to-day going-on’s at #Tolbos, she adores all things related to nature. Lana loves the outdoors and anything to do with plants and sums up her favourite past-time as #exploring. A good workout may include a stiff mountain trail on her bike in the nearby hills and to relax, Pixie Fourie also enjoys being creative by working up a storm of crazy, abstract art on canvas.

Lana started off in the restaurant trade way back in high school – with a part time job as a waitress. The bug bit and she continued on at a popular wedding venue, where she was exposed to many aspects of the hospitality trade. At age 19 she went on to work at an eatery in the #Drakensberg – where Lana stayed on for 5 years, eventually working herself up to management. As a young 20-something, it seemed an obvious choice to head to the big city and Lana tried out the fast pace in #Centurion – but it was definitely not the life for this girl-of-nature. So she ended up in the Eastern Cape, when she was offered a position at a hotel in #Grahamstown. Yet again, this offered Lana a great opportunity to further educate herself in various aspects of the hospitality trade – such as reception, housekeeping, budgeting, restaurant management, etc. For 4 years she worked in the #Frontier_Country and then this Pixie decided it was time to spread her wings once more.

Not sure whether to take a boat trip or study something new, she ended up in #Patensie, where exciting things were happening at Tolbos; and things clicked into place for this free-spirit. Lana has quietly crept into the hearts of locals and tourists that visit the Gamtoos Valley. She has managed to bag herself a ‘younger’ farmer and it is not complicated, but serious – part of the reason she has lingered longer in the Valley!

At Tolbos, Lana involves herself diligently in all aspects of managing the restaurant – whether it is ordering stock for the kitchen or getting down and dirty with the dusting. But her favourite tasks include all things creative – such as menu-planning, restaurant décor, event-planning and interacting with the locals and tourists alike. She is very good with staff training and secretly LOVES TO BE IN THE KITCHEN. We love this girl’s work and appreciate her contribution to the smooth running of our home-from-home – Tolbos.

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Drip, drip…here’s looking at the last drop.

 

By Carin Scheepers:

After taking a drive up the road to the #Kouga Dam this past weekend, we had the opportunity to meet #Drought face-to-face. And it was damn scary – if you would excuse the pun. In fact, it was nauseating to realise how deep (sorry, again?) in the dwang we are in this little Eastern Cape corner of #South_Africa. It felt like we were visiting a terminally-ill relative in hospital. The water was eerily still and grey as we were experiencing yet another uncharacteristically warm day for this time of year. The Dam seemed as if it was on its last legs, so-to-say…. It has resigned itself to its fate.

We have been fortunate enough to see the water spilling over this same dam wall not even 2 years ago. We had so much rain that our back roads were flooded for weeks on end. It was glorious.

Now, the dam level sits at a disturbing 20%. It is hard to comprehend what the implications are, until you are standing on the dam wall again and trying to do the Math. You guestimate how many acres of land have to watered here in the Valley and then you start figuring out the litres of water that still has to then pump through all the way to #Port_Elizabeth and surrounds for the millions of folk in the Metro. Yes, Houston, we do actually have a problem!!!

Please take the guys in charge seriously – we all have to do our part. Whether you farm or work in a factory, implement #water_saving measures now.  That old cliché, “Every drop counts,” is yet again very relevant. We take things for granted – think it is our ‘right’ – and then there comes a little reality-check.

South Africa is ranked as the 30th driest country in the world, so realistically our drought problem will always be around. In the meantime, we are praying for the miracle of rain – and some forward-planning from the authorities, so that our water-supply can be better managed in the future.

Kouga Dam

 

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