An After Xmas get-away, once the schools were back. Off Up Baviaans – a favourite trip for us.
NOTE:- Double click on photos to get full size awesome effect 🙂
Left Cape Town early; N2 and then to R62 and through De Rust, Oudtshoorn to the turn off into Baviaans before Willowmore,
We stayed as usual at our all time favorite near the caves, but down into a private kloof – The Retreat – Cedar Lodge – always a pleasure to stay here – Owned by Linden & Jeanne Booth, run by the ever present and helpful Willem & Martha
CLICK WEB SITE – CEDAR LODGE
View from Cedar Lodge
The Kareedouw 4×4 Trail takes you away from Bavianns and up and over the mountains down towards the R62 and as we were going down to the coast to Oyster Bay and we had not done this route before it seemed like a great idea for something new. The turn off is at Rus & Vrede Farm – this is just before the boom where you pay to go into the Baviaans Reserve area – There is a sign for the farm but it is easy to miss – it is however marked on T4A – The fact there there is a route is not advertised on the farm sign. It is necessary to go to the farm house – easy to find – where we paid R 100 for the vehicle and R 20 each for the two of us. They do keep a register of who comes through and when but thats about it. I had set the route on my GPS which proved to be a good idea – pulled in to about 150 Metres – as at the beginning there are many confusing farm roads and the route is not well acknowledged. The farmer, I think, is happy to keep a low profile on this one and certainly there is not much in the way of “track” upkeep. However to get across & into the Formosa Nature Reserve and down the other side this is the only approach option.
A useful place to stay over on this route is Rob Rouxs place… – Baviaans Lodge Click 4 website BAVIAANS LODGE
A beautiful setting, easily accessable by bad gravel road from Kareedouw but only by the 4×4 route from Baviaans. Rob Roux, a widower, with three sons ranging from 7 to 16, is doing a sterling job of getting his place up and running again after a sad period in his life. He is building more chalets, has good camping facilities and will feed you too in the farmhouse and bar if so required – this would make a good venue for an LCCSA saamkuier – We stayed in a chalet and DB&B was R 790.00 for both of us. Excellent value for money – good food – to be highly recommended.Rob reckons that
the route to his place should be called Die Kleine Hell – has merit !
Continuing the next day we travelled on a dreadful gravel road down to Kareedouw which I thought would have nothing to it but is in fact quite a large village –
From Kareedouw we headed for the coast over the N2 and down to Oyster Bay Lodge a 4 star establishment catering mainly, I think, for overseas tourists on their way to Shamwari.
Click 4 website Oyster Bay Lodge
An upmarket place in scrubby coastal terrain, own private beach which is quite magnificient. Good chalet accomodation. Excellent quality food. But with all the problems that these sorts of places have.
I firmly believe that architechs and interior desecrators should be made to live with their whims and fancies – why is it so difficult to build a shower WITH a door – flooded room time again. At least the loo had one 🙂 The room could have done with a bit of maintenance but to be fair this close to the sea it must be an on-going battle. The owner, Hans – (Dutch), was on duty this weekend as his management staff were taking a breather – he was forthcoming, interesting and kind – he was also v interested in hearing about our recent trip to Tanzania as he was planning a similar one. His wife on the other hand really looked pained to have to be waiting on tables – she did not acknowledge us at all until virtually the last minute when we accidentially came face to face. Not a good hostess manner I think. Also the staff have this annoying habit of interrupting your meal several times with a “Is everything alright ? are you enjoying your meal thus far ?” and similar enquiries. Maybe the overseas people need this but personally I find it a cramp. They offer all sorts of attractions and if you want to be away from the crowd then this is a nice place to stop. Not cheap.
Oyster Bay Beach
The Sunday was wet so we went to Cape St Francis and saw Francis Bay – scene of a recent fire of thatched roofed cottages all built cheek by jowl – Over-crowded, noisy, ruined. Why anyone would pay these sorts of prices to live like this is beyond me – a few minutes away is open countryside !
The Eastern Cape has many areas that are run-down, under-maintained or just plain neglected.
Wireless brings on an entirely new meaning here !!
Early one morning in Addo I heard the lonely mating call of a South African Railway Locomotive – needless to say it went unrequited 🙁
Much of the once fine railway system now looks like this:
TO ADDO AKA The Add-em up warthog Park 🙂
Double click for large image
We have been through and around Addo on many occasions but this was our first actual trip into the park. San Parks are to be applauded for their excellence here – We entered in the South near Colchester; stayed two nights in the very nice chalets at Matyholeweni, one night at the Spekboom Tented Camp in the lower part of the Northern Section and a final night in a chalet at the Main Camp in the North. – Note there is only camping available at the Main Camp, it has to be said that whilst neat and tidy the slots are way too close to-gether – not good when crowded – given the amount of space they have there, including a section for caravans, a little more forethought might have gone a long way. The Main camp is, well, a main camp; with shops restaurant etc – a place for one night only I think.
The Spekboom Tented Camp is situated in the south-western part of the northern section. It comprises 8 secluded & separate tents, a communal ablution & kitchen area, and a fine hide; sadly not lit at night. Whilst you are not allowed to drive around after hours the hide is always available. Lin saw some more Rhino here but sadly did not have the camera ready 🙁
We got lucky at the hide with two kudu bulls squaring up to each other. For a Utube video of the fight see the link at the end of this report.
We drove the roads around the park too – the gravel road on the western side proved to be the more interesting.
HOME: Via Steytlerville, Antoniesberg Pass – Groot River Crossing – Baviaans (again !), Calitzdorp etc.
On our way away from cape Town, through the Baviaanskloof Route we thought the track much worse than last year. Certainly the heavy rains in October did a great deal of damage. Antoniesberg Pass was appreciably worse with a lot of flood damage at the actual Groot River Crossing.
So from here we went back into Baviaans and stayed the night at the Baviaanskloof Lodge just before the booms into the reserve.
Click 4 website Baviaanskloof lodge
A simple Guesthouse we arrived un-announced as their phone was not working – The Madam ! Was in PE but we were made to feel welcome straight away and Madam indeed did get back in time to cook us good wholesome farm food. This farm does watermelon & fruit, is nothing special in the looks department, but excellent value for money DB&B R960 -for both.
Leaving the Kloof we head off across country in driving rain with thunder & lightening (Lin’s favourite) to another old favourite of ours. The Retreat at Groenfontein above the dam in Calitzdorp.
We have not been here for two years and yet are welcomed back like old friends by Grant & Marie Burton (ex Okavango) – This is a three star Guesthouse well off the road over the river. A beautiful old Victorian Farmhouse complete with broekielace. They have wonderful suites here in the grounds but we prefer to stay in the house itself. Dinner is around a very long table outside on the verandah with 18 people, from all over the world – makes for good conversation. Always a pleasure to be here and excellent value for money. We stayed two nights.
So 13 days away 3581 Km’s travelled, a very varied & interesting trip, just what was needed having survived Xmas !
UTube Video of Kudu Bull Fight:-
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East Africa Trip:
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