Oorlogskloof Nature Reserve


Some of the overnight camps have been provided with five tents which accommodate three people each. Each tent has three matresses. The other camping sites are very basic and range from caves, ruins and stone kraals to clearings under trees. 

Please note:  Hikers must overnight at these specified sites.

At the start of the trails is a basic hut with a gravel floor, candle holders, stretchers and a long drop toilet. Please do not use the pit toilets as rubbish bins. A lapa with picnic tables and chairs are also available. Fires may only be made at the starting point. Please bring your own firewood. Braai grids and pots are available.


Telephone bookings are essential. Please contact them between 08:00 and 09:30.


Experience one of these Oorlogskloof Nature Reserve hiking trails:

One day circular routes:

  • Leopard Trap Day Hike – 15.5km (6-9 hours);
  • Rietvlei Day Hike – 17.9km (7-10 hours); and
  • Saaikloof Day Hike – 5.2km (2-3 hours).

Four to seven day circular routes:

  • Rock Pigeon Route – 52.2km (4-5 days); and
  • Rameron Rigeon Route – 52.4km (4-7 days).

Drinking water can be obtained from the Oorlogskloof River, springs and seasonal water in rock pools on the mountain. Swimming along the trails is allowed. All these routes are indicated by clay tiles or wooden signs and the trails are demarcated with cairns where necessary.

The maximum group size is 30 hikers and the minimum group size is three adults.


San people (Bushmen) lived in this area until just prior to 1740.  For food they relied mainly on the gathering of edible plants, but also hunted and fished on a smaller scale.  During the winter months the number of wild ungulates was drastically reduced due to the migration of these animals to areas with better grazing and available water.  The San then relied on wild plants for food.

Khoi inhabited the area at the same time. They lived on the plains rather than the mountainous areas that the San inhibited.


The Oorlogskloof River, originating in the Roggeveld Mountains near Calvinia, flows through a deep, spectacular gorge of approximately 500m wide. The Oorlogskloof River carved its way through a thin layer of Table Mountain Sandstone and quartzite, to expose the softer floor formations such as limestone, shale and frit.


This area has a typical Mediterranean winter rainfall.

Average rainfall:  426mm/year.

During December to April the water is restricted to pools. During the summer period at least two litres of water per person per day must be carried by hikers.

Fauna and flora:

Vegetation types include:

  • Afro Montane Forest;
  • Bokkeveld Sandstone Fynbos;
  • Vanrhynsdorp Shale Renosterveld; and
  • Kamiesberg Mountain Shrubland.

533 Plant species are recorded with extravagant displays of spring flowers as well as unique fauna (39 mammal, 94 bird, 13 snake, 13 lizard, 2 tortoise and 4 frog species).  The Oorlogskloof River is also inhabited by three endangered fish species, endemic to the river system, namely the sawfin, the Clanwilliam yellow fish and the Clanwilliam sandfish.  More common species such as the chubbyhead minnow are also found in the river.

The following are prohibited:

  • Entry without a permit;
  • Only toilet paper is to be thrown into the toilets;
  • Littering – cigarette ends and matches constitute littering;
  • Everything that is carried in, must be carried out – only human excretement may be buried;
  • No pets are allowed;
  • No firearms;
  • Disorderly behaviour;
  • Disturbance of the fauna and flora;
  • Breaking up of the group (hikers must stay together);
  • The placing of mattresses outside the tents; and
  • No fires are allowed – designated areas have been demarcated for camping fires.  Backpacking stoves must be carried.

General information:

  • Hikers must be fit, because the terrain is rugged and inhospitable;
  • The use of this wilderness area is at each hikers own risk;
  • Permits must be available for inspection during the hike;
  • All human excretions must be buried – this includes paper.  Hikers must carry a small spade;
  • Be prepared for extreme weather conditions;
  • All requests by reserve personnel must be complied with;
  • Regular campsite and toilet inspections will be made;
  • Please close the tent zips and toilet lids upon leaving the site;
  • At least two litres of water should be carried by each hiker per day during the summer;
  • The tents that are available on the Rock Pigeon Route are suitable for 15 hikers;
  • If you think it is going to rain, you need to provide and carry a tent on the Rameron Pigeon Route;
  • During the winter months it is difficult to cross the Oorlogskloof River;
  • Please remember to replace the key in the box at the main gate on departure;
  • Please leave the gates in the same position that they were found; and
  • Hikers will be held responsible for the cost of a rescue operation which, in some cases, can be very expensive.
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