Baviaanskloof is an area we’ve been wanting to explore for a while and so with a birthday coming up we decided to make a road trip out of it, stretching the celebration to 5 days!
This area was declared a world heritage site in 2004 to maintain its pristine, natural environment and the whole 200km road is a thing of beauty.
We drove the road west to east, dealing with the easier part of the journey at the beginning – the part that’s called the tame side.
Of caves and log cabins
The first two nights we stayed at Makkedaat caves – literally caves (of differing sizes) that have had a door and window added onto the front and a bathroom hut built at the side. It was a magical feeling crawling in underneath the stone ceiling to sleep and to look out over the mountains the following morning. The imagination went into overdrive thinking about who had slept there over the previous hundreds of years.
The next night found us staying in a log cabin on a farm and being adopted by their dog, Skollie. He guided us on a hike along a river bed with cliffs narrowing to outstretched arm width in some places and was far more adept at boulder hopping than we could ever hope to be.
The road less travelled
The longest stretch of our trip, about 60km and 4×4 only, is referred to as the wild side and for good reason as a lot of the road has been washed away and is incredibly slow going. However we did come across a group of Italian motor bikers who seemed fearless in the face of adversity!
The scenery was breathtaking, when you could take your eyes off the road, and the driving fun, especially fording the many river crossings. It was a slow journey that took us most of the day but it’s a real drive into the wilderness and we hardly saw another car which was just as well going up and down the single track passes.
It was a pat on the back and a cold beer when we reached our accommodation for the night and the next day we drove out of the reserve on what now seemed like a very easy road, us being old-hands at the 4×4 stuff and all!
The only disappointment of the trip was that we didn’t spot the wild buffalo or rhino that are roaming free, but we did see buck, tortoise and of course many baboons – as the name would suggest.
There are mountains and plains; lush green semi-tropical vegetation; rivers and gorges.
It is an incredibly beautiful, untamed place and a great escape from the bustle of everyday life – the only worry here is how to get from A to B.
Baviaanskloof is indeed breathtaking.