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Traveling on the main public road through the Baviaanskloof between Willowmore and
Patensie does not require a permit from the Dept. of Nature Conservation. However in
heavy downpours parts of the road are often washed away, so phone ahead to find out
logistics.

A signboard as you enter the Baviaanskloof declares that the next refuse bin is 93km
away. So please do not litter and when visiting the Baviaanskloof area please
remember to take away all refuse generated by you during your stay, since it not only
pollutes the environment but also holds tragic consequences for wild animals like the
Baboon.

Cement Road (R329)

The Cement Road, as the R329 between Willowmore and Steytlerville is fondly called, is
the quickest way from Cape Town to Shamwari and National Addo Park. The route
starts outside Willowmore (off the N9) and ends at Wolwefontein to join the R75. Leaving
Willowmore you travel for 35 km on the only cement strip road in South Africa, sharing
half the road with the oncoming traffic. En route you'll see Cockscomb (1759m). You'll
pass through Steytlerville, a town known for wool and mohair. The vegetation along the
road is semi-desert vegetation and includes succulents and cycads. The town is famous
for its Edwardian Church, said to have the largest floorspace among its contemporaries
south of the Sahara.

A mere 5km outside of Steytlerville you'll pass through Noorspoort (the Valley of Flags)
where you will find the old and new South African flags painted on the rock face, as well
as flags depicting South Africa's history, starting with the first Vikings in 1474.

Interesting rock formations can be seen whilst traveling and despite the low rainfall in
this area, many species of birds and animals are found in this district.

At Wolwefontein, the R329 ends and meets the R75 - north to Graaff-Reinet and south
to Port Elizabeth and Addo.

The Baviaanskloof can be explored by two main roads, both equally interesting. One
route leading from the Willowmore side through the Grootrivierpoort and on to Patensie,
the other coming from Steytlerville through the Grootrivierpoort and on to Patensie.
From Willowmore to Steytlerville along these two roads is roughly 280km.

North to South

Jansenville – Mount Steward – Steytlerville – Hadley – Grootrivierpoort – Patensie

Turning of the main road outside of Jansenville and onto the R337 to Klipplaat, 12km
further turn left to Steytlerville. The 54km untarred road takes you through the Small
Winterhoek Mountains that have little, but nevertheless spectacular, canyons with
massive folded cliffs of red sandstone.
The gravelroad meets up with the tar road a mere 5km outside of Steytlerville. Turn right
and en route you'll pass through Noorspoort (the Valley of Flags) where you will find the
old and new South African flags painted on the rock face, as well as flags depicting
South Africa's history, starting with the first Vikings in 1474.

Stop off at the Karoo Hotel for a refreshing Breakfast before heading off on the
Grootrivierpoort Route that takes one out of Steytlerville on the gravel road through
Grootrivierpoort and on toward Patensie.

It is approximately 96km and takes about 4 hours and is a route for bakkies, 4x4 or
mountain bike enthusiasts. From Steytlerville it's fairly flat and the dirt road runs
southwards to the Baviaanskloof Mountains, the road then climbs gradually until it
reaches the foothills of the Baviaanskloof Mountains. Follow the signs for the
Cockscomb Road, after 5km turn right at split in the road, follow the Winterhoek signs,
continue pass the Rietfontein turn off. 18Km further turn right to Hadley and at the T-
junction further one turn right again to Hadley and the Grootrivier Poort Route.

The road runs alongside the range until you reach Hadley, the last farm before you enter
the Grootrivier Poort. Continue pass the sign for the Hadley farm on your right and
continue on the winding and narrow decent to the Grootriver Poort. It is an interesting
route in that you see both farm livestock and wildlife inhabiting the same areas.

The road follows a series of ascents and descents before entering the Baviaanskloof
conservation area and descending dramatically to the Grootriver Poort. Travelers can
get out of their vehicles at any stage to take in the vastly impressive landscapes. A must
is the view from the top of the last decent to the beautiful gorge of the Grootriver. A
definite must see for any nature lover.

The road drops steeply and dramatically, a descent of 400 meters. From the view site it
is a 3 km descent to a gate on the right, which takes one into the Baviaanskloof
Wilderness Area. Pass through a farm gate before the poort and keep left up the other
side. There is only one choice of road here all the way until one reaches a T-junction at
the Telkom tower where you take a right to Patensie. However the climb up the
mountain is on a surface that is badly eroded in places. The track is badly rutted and
steep in places, offering some very technical riding. The scenic drive however is a must.

The winding road, as it descends towards the Gamtoos valley, offers a panoramic view
of the Elandsberg and Groot Winterhoek mountain ranges, dominated by the 1759m
high Cockscomb, the one of the highest mountain peak in the Eastern Cape, known to
some of the earlier indigenous tribes as "T'numkwa" (Mountain of the clouds).

At the T-junction turn right, at the sign saying Humansdorp. Continue for 30 minutes
down the mountain until you reach the R331, a tar road from Patensie. Turn right to the
Grootrivier Poort road and at the first stream stop for lunch.


Patensie – Gamtoos Valley - Cambria - Geelhoutbos – Studtis - Willowmore

A journey through the Baviaanskloof Wilderness Area is a memorable experience and
the 200-kilometer long gravel road between Patensie and Willowmore is one of the best-
kept scenic secrets in South Africa.
The area has a multitude of diverse flowers and an abundance of bird species and wild
life. The majestic Baviaanskloof - and Kouga mountain ranges enfolds a deep ravine
which forms the Baviaanskloof.

The tar road from Patensie becomes a gravel road and passes the turn off to the Kouga
Dam, the life source of the Gamtoos Valley. The road gradually winds its way through
the Grootrivier Poort and enters the Cambria basin where the true splendor of the
Baviaanskloof mountain range (1561m) looms.
The road that started in the east, meanders a spectacularly narrow gorge with red
coloured sandstone cliffs, crossing the river numerous times, elevates to steep plateaus
and winds it's way down through mesmerizing mountain ranges to level out on the
narrow floor of Baviaanskloof, leading through Coleslaws, Studtis and Zandvlakte
towards Willowmore 258km away. It's a road with very steep gradients but a worthwhile
experience.
The road passes the Geelhoutbos turn off. This accommodation facility is situated 4km
from the turn off.
From Geelhoutbos to Studtis is another 25km. The road climbs again before the valley
opens out into farmland and the road flattens passing the farm Zandvlakte. The road
continues with a series of gradual climbs to the Studtis Police Station.
The rare and unique Baviaanskloof Cedar (Widdringtonia Schwarzii) may be seen
growing at Nuwekloof pass (± 1000m above sea level) en route to Willowmore after
which the road enters another narrow gorge to emerge from the Baviaanskloof area into
the Klein Karoo. The gravel road meets up with the N9 leading south to Uniondale and
west towards Willowmore.
South to North


Willowmore – Nuwekloof Pass – Studtis - Geelhoutbos – Cambria - Patensie
Four kilometers outside Willowmore on the N9 (Willowmore - Uniondale), take the
Baviaanskloof - Patensie road (T1). After a further 15km take the Baviaanskloof road
and not the Winterhoek.
The Baviaanskloof route ascends over a distance of ± 26 km to the top of the
spectacular Nuwekloof Pass (± 1000m above sea level) and the official start of the
Baviaanskloof. The pass stretches for 7km.

Over the next ± 80 km the route drops down into the Baviaanskloof passing through a
number of farms such as Rietrivier and the Police Station at Studtis. Studtis is named
after a German trader who once ran a store in the area.

Continue pass Studtis and take the opportunity for one more refreshing jump into the
river. By which time you've criss-crossed the river so often that you would have
eventually lost count.

The road enters the Baviaanskloof Wilderness area under the control of Eastern Cape
Nature Conservation. This long descent ends at Geelhoutbos a distance of ± 110 km
from Willowmore. It is 4kms from the turn off to the Geelhoutbos cottages.
Geelhoutbos to Cambria is 55km. Leaving Geelhoutbos the road follows a series of
switchbacks and runs along the plateau. The gradient is steep and driving should be
very slow. The route becomes more strenuous, narrower and more difficult to negotiate.
The last part of the Baviaanskloof trip leads straight through the nature reserve up
Combrinck's Pass. It's quite steep and there are some very tight turns with breathtaking
drop-offs and dramatic scenery and breathtaking views, reaching a high point at
Bergplaas, at ± 147 km from Willowmore, a plateau covered in grass with plenty of
wildlife roaming. From here it drop suddenly into the upper Gamtoos Valley past some
citrus farms to Patensie

Going up the passes pay attention to the slopes covered in spekboom, aloes, and
mountain fynbos, spot some proteas and marvel at the endless views of the Karoo.
Admire the diverse vegetation, the dense forest vegetation in the ravine and the
multitude of diverse plants along the slopes.

Continue pass the turn off for Kouga Dam, formerly known as the Paul Sauer Dam. The
dam with its beautifully designed wall, 365 meters wide and 94 meters high, holds 130
million cubic meters of water and is the main source of irrigation for the Gamtoos Valley.
Continue on till the Elandsrivier turn off to your left and head to Steytlerville via the
Grootrivier Poort.

Patensie – Grootrivierpoort – Hadley – Steytlerville – Jansenville
From Patensie turn right at the Elandsrivier road. Follow the road for 16km up pass the
Telkom Tower. Turn left at the turn off – No sign, but the road leads to the Grootrivier
Poort. Drive slowly since this road is in poor condition and badly eroded.
At the bottom of the steep decent you’ll cross the Grootrivier. Picnic at the river crossing
and take a refreshing dip before once more heading up a steep ascent.
From the Grootrivier Poort the road climbs steeply and dramatically, an ascent of 400m
to Hadley (the first farm outside of the Baviaanskloof Nature Conservation) is 50 km and
the road changes dramatically. The road runs through a series of ascents and descents
and crosses numerous mountainsides; take note as the vegetation changes from
mountain fynbos to Karoo landscape.
Hadley to Steytlerville is 48 km and the road continues pass Geduld se Hoogte
which literally translates to Patience Rise and at the split in the road turn right to
Steytlerville (6km further).

				
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