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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Gamtoos - Patensie Valley

What a great place to wake up every morning!

I have had the privilege of living in so many parts of the world, but the best place to see the sun rise and set every day remains right here, in the farming community of the #Gamtoos Valley.

Patensie - Gamtoos Valley

I may be somewhat prejudiced because I was born and bred right here on the family farm, #Gonjah, en-route to the world-famous heritage site, #Baviaanskloof. But that aside, I still feel smug that I get to live this life and take in the scenery, while other poor souls are slogging away in the city, grinding through daily traffic and trying not to get too depressed by the concrete jungle. On a bad day, while travelling to #Tolbos, in the centre of our #citrus town of #Patensie, me getting ‘caught’ in the traffic may involve slowing down for a tractor or waiting for a guinea fowl family to scatter across the road!

“Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man (or woman!) healthy, wealthy and wise,” is such a relevant proverb – especially here in the country. Luckily, most mornings we are blessed with the most stunning sunrise, which gets every one pumped for the long days, filled with the productive busyness that goes with running a farm and providing essential services to all members of the community. And then, just when you think the day will never end, the sun is setting into the horizon we are engulfed by a spectrum of feel-good colours.

Time for retrospection, gratitude and a cold one on the stoep….

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Then we changed gears at #Tolbos

By – Carin Scheepers

My move back to the #Gamtoos Valley from #Stellenbosch where I had been studying, working, cheffing, appreciating fine #wines – and living a pretty exciting, metropolitan life – served as the catalyst for the positive forward-thinking decisions and change that would bring #Tolbos storming at top gear into 2017.

The past year has flown by in a few blinks and since May 2016, our little #Tolbos ‘padstal’ evolved from a traditional, #South African country shop into a sleek, contemporary Bistro, Deli and Info stop en-route to the world-famous #Baviaanskloof.

There was revving of engines, breakdowns, gnashing of teeth, tears and torrential outbursts – but we are now firmly on the right path.

When Toska Joubert, former co-owner of the shop accepted my offer of a buy-out which would make me a partner with my mom, Hetsie Scheepers, the grafting started in earnest. Because #Tolbos had been established in 1988 as the first farm stall in the #Patensie area, we were fortunate to have a good, solid foundation to build on.

We introduced new logo’s to go along with our new image; refurbished much of the interior; added luxuries to improve the comfort of our customers; developed the #kiddies’ play area; introduced new stock items; extended our selection of fine #wines … and our #trading hours. The updated #menu includes the popular to-share snack platters as well as good old favourites – after all, we aim to please!

Everything became ‘official’ with the launch party held in August 2016. Every month brings new challenges and exciting developments but there’s always time for sun downer and a bit of local chit-chat around our cosy fire..


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