Situated between the Kouga and Baviaans Mountains in the Eastern Cape, the Baviaanskloof, meaning “Valley of Baboons”, is the third-largest nature conservation area in South Africa. The route encompasses the broader Baviaanskloof area, including a World Heritage Site, incorporates the towns of Hankey, Patensie, Willowmore, Steytlerville and the surrounding areas. Further south east, the towns of Jeffrey’s Bay, St Francis Bay, Cape St Francis, Oyster Bay and Humansdorp offer a coastal gateway to the Baviaanskloof. Linking these towns with the Baviaanskloof Mega-Reserve is the Langkloof Route, which includes the rural towns from Kareedouw and Joubertina.
The Baviaanskloof Route is an eclectic mix of nature, culture, agriculture and communities. The route has seven diverse sub-routes (or regions), each with unique characteristics and visitors are encouraged to see the Baviaanskloof as a destination where they can spend at least a week.
The main road through the Baviaanskloof is a narrow, steep, gravel-surfaced, winding road through mountainous terrain. Many streams are crossed while driving the length of the kloof and in the rainy season the rivers can become impassable. Visitors should therefore check road accessibility before arriving. There are no refuelling points in the Baviaanskloof Nature Reserve. Visitors are advised to refuel before entering the reserve.
Reasons to visit:
The Baviaans Route is in a malaria free area, where the climate is pleasant year round and visitors can still swim in clear mountain pools and drink from fresh river streams. The region is rich in tradition and local people have lots of stories to share a plate of traditional food and music. Donkey carts can still be seen traversing the dirt roads and on steep passes along parts of the Baviaanskloof.
The area has diverse flora and beautiful scenery. The people are down to earth and friendly and visitors are treated like family.
The region is blessed with numerous natural caves and rock shelters many of which were inhabited by early KhoiSan people over thousands of years. The shelters are home to remarkably well-preserved archaeological deposits and fine examples of rock art.
The route envisions that the entire community should benefit from tourism and therefore a number of development projects have been launched. These projects aim to provide income for unemployed people and assist them to acquiring skills. Many of the established guesthouses, farms and B&Bs on the route are involved in community development in one way or another, either through training, job creation and other social activities.