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Baviaanskloof Snapshot

Sweeping bends and a lonely gravel road cutting below towering cliffs and canopies of indigenous forest, make the Baviaanskloof one of those places you’ll kick yourself for never getting to sooner. Wedged between the Baviaanskloof Mountains to the north and the Kouga Mountains to the south, access to the kloof was made possible by who else but the pioneer of most Cape’s mountain passes - Thomas Bain. Originally home to San hunter-gatherers, the fertile valley was gradually occupied by farming communities.

Today the R332 or T1 from Willowmore to Patensie, although somewhat rough in places, takes you through the heart of the Baviaanskloof, which thankfully hasn’t changed much since Bain and his motley crew cut through here all those years ago. A smorgasbord of succulent Karoo, open grassland, fynbos and Knysna forest-like vegetation awaits. As does the gentle flow of the Baviaanskloof River and the lure of gorge hikes, mountain treks, 4x4 trails and a good spread of varied accommodation options along the entire 200km route.

All considered, you’d be hard pressed to find any excuse not to take a slow amble through this stupendous wilderness. 

Things To Do

  • A number of short hikes follow the many deep kloofs up into the surrounding mountains; walks can often be extended up onto the plateau, with spectacular views down over the kloof.
  • When the rivers are flowing, find yourself a good swimming spot along the main drag and break the day with a plunge. Obligatory in summer. 
  • If 4x4 action is your thing, then take on some of the 4x4 trails on offer; most start on farms in the kloof and head up into the surrounding mountains.
  • Take your fishing rod and fly-fish in the Baviaanskloof River. The best fishing we're told is in the Baviaanskloof Wilderness Area on the eastern side of the kloof.
  • Grab a bite at Vero's Restaurant and visit Baviaanskloof Crafts near Studtis, a settlement roughly halfway between Willowmore and Patensie.
  • If you're up for a bit of hardground camping, the Baviaanskloof Wilderness Area has three campsites with limited facilities, but otherwise a great experience. Be warned though, the local baboons are food snatchers of note. 
  • Most definitely pack the mountain bike and head out for early morning or evening rides along the valley road. Flipping hell, if you're really keen, you can cycle the whole kloof! Some nutters do it in 24 hours!  
Getaways in and around Baviaanskloof
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Kouga Wildernis

Baviaanskloof, Eastern Cape

Historic farm bordering the Baviaanskloof, with a farmhouse, two cottages, a campsite, a bush camp, and an equipped caravan - 28km from Joubertina in the Kouga mountains

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