There’s little that compares to the vast, stunning stillness of the Swartberg Nature Reserve.
It’s unbelievable to think that the valley’s settlers spent over a hundred years living in total isolation until the first road was built in 1962. Gamkskloof Valley is known as Die Hel, and it is easy to see how the place got its name. It is an area of stunning, sometimes brutal extremes; from the most treacherous mountain passes to the hottest days and coldest nights. The 121 000ha reserve lies in the Oudtshoorn district between the Great and Klein Karoo and is traversed by the extraordinary Swartberg Pass, considered to be one of the most scenic drives in the world.
Enjoy a guided tour by True South Travel who do sky explorations, birdwatching tours, hiking expeditions and eco-excursions on the reserve. With 130 bird species on the reserve, the twitchers can cross off some specials from their list while the anglers amongst us can try their luck in the Gamka River – just don’t forget your freshwater angling license.
Self-catering accommodation options abound with the likes of the Willem Marais Cottage that sleeps a family of four, Stappies Cordier House for a couple and the Bush Shelter for a group of 12 looking for a dormitory for the weekend.
Swartberg Nature Reserve: +27 (0) 23 541 1736; +27 (0) 23 541 1259