The Montagu Pass, opened in 1848, traverses the Outeniqua mountains and took 3 years to build by 250 convicts at a cost of 36,000 Pounds Sterling. The name Outeniqua is derived from the Khoi-Khoi word meaning “people carrying bags of honey”. According to the reports left by early travellers the slopes of the fecund mountains were covered with heather and swarming with bees.
The Swartberg Pass, Thomas Bain’s final and best piece of road building, is for many South Africans the rubicon of gravel road passes. running between Prince Albert in the north and Oudtshoorn in the south, the route offers extravagant views over the Little and Great Karoo.
Take a leisurely drive through Meiringspoort and marvel at its natural beauty: the high sculpted cliff, which rise sharply from the edge of the road, will have you staring upward in absolute awe. Meiringspoort forms part of the Swartberg nature reserve which encompasses about 120 000 hectares, including the mountainous area on both sides of the Poort.
Ostrich racing is one of the exciting attractions to be found in the Klein Karoo. Oudtshoorn rose to fame during the 1800s when ostrich feathers became a fashion item on a world-wide scale: no outfit was considered complete without a feather boa. The Little Karoo proved to be ideal for raising ostriches and by the time the railway was extended to Oudtshoorn in 1913, the town was flourishing with multi-millionaire farmers and ‘feather palaces’ – large, ornate and sumptuously decorated mansions. Today many of these palaces still stand as a tribute to more prosperous times; visit Le roux’s townhouse, an annex of the CP Nel Museum, for an excellent example.
Klein Karoo Wine Route
One of the most diverse wine regions in South Africa, the Klein Karoo produces a variety of quality wines including dry wines, brandies, world class port and South Africa’s champion white muskadel.
SANParks - Wilderness
The South African National Parks Wilderness Section named Ebb and Flow is the ideal location to spend a day in peace and quiet alongside the Touwsrivier. Enjoy scenic walks in the forest, hike to the waterfall or relax canoeing, braai’ing and generally enjoying the great outdoors. Perfect for family fun!
The rural charm of Harkerville
Situated 8km west of Plettenberg Bay, Harkerville is set at the edge of the beautiful Diepwalle Reserve, and is a peaceful rural community famous for nature hikes in glorious indigenous forests. It is also the best place for a Saturday morning leisurely breakfast at the Harvest Time Saturday Market which is considered to be the best produce and crafts market between Plett and Knysna.
The Monkeyland Primate Sanctuary
Monkeyland is the world’s first free roaming primate sanctuary, catering for several species of primate. Established in a pristine natural high canopy forest, it is an adventure playground for primates. Enjoy the unique experience of a monkey safari and lunch in the lively forest: it is the only eating spot in the world where you can watch a variety of primates, from all over the world, playing and enjoying their freedom.
Bontebok National Park
This 8000 hectare national park is home to the threatened Cape Mountain Zebra and Bontebok. It also boasts 196 different birds and 490 different plant species. The plants and flowers are at their best in April.
Visit Gamkaskloof, also known as Die Hel, and experience a really special day’s outing filled with nature, history and activity. Pack your picnic basket and fill your tank before heading off as there is no petrol in the valley. 4x4 is needed in some areas.
Knysna Forest 4x4 Trail
The Knysna Forest 4x4 Trail is situated in the heart of the Garden Route National Park and will allow you to immerse yourself in the wonderful local fauna and flora. These include soaring yellowwoods and stinkwoods that are hundreds of years old.
Perdekop Hiking Trail
Distance: 9.5km; 3 - 4 hours; circular route
GPS Coordinates: S34 02.848 E23 13.851
The trail starts from the Harkerville forestry station and follows an easy path along a circular route back to the station. Sections of the walk are shared with the Hakerville Coastal Hiking Trail. This is a Green flag hike accredited by the Hiking Organisation of Southern Africa (HOSA).
Elephant Hiking Trail
- Black: 9km; easy circular route; starts at the Diepwalle office
- White: 8km from forest station or 6.5km from Diepwalle picnic site; easy circular route
- Red: 7km; moderate circular route; starts in Diepwalle close to the office
GPS Coordinates: S33 56.909 E23 09.434
All three trails add up to just over 18 kilometres. Green flag accredited hike by the Hiking Organisation of Southern Africa (HOSA).
Terblanche Hiking Trail
Distance: 6.5km; circular route; also known as Wandelpad
GPS Coordinates: S33 56.716 E23 03.244
The hike starts and ends at the Grootdraai picnic site, so enjoy a picnic before or after the hike. From the Grootdraai picnic site the trail heads into the forest sharing the path with the Outeniqua overnight trail so be sure to keep right at the fork shortly after the start.
Kranshoek Hiking Trail
Distance: 9km; circular route
GPS Coordinates: S34 04.702 E23 13.672
This hike starts at the Kranshoek picnic site at the top of a tall waterfall, then winds its way through the forest down into the gorge. It follows a stream towards the coast, meandering along the coast before going up the slopes to the plateau and back to the picnic site via the Kranshoek viewpoint.