Adventure secrets of the Baviaans

2016-07-10 16:30 - Louzel Lombard
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Did you know that the Baviaanskloof is South Africa’s biggest wilderness area – from the Baviaans and Gamtoos Valley? This Mega Reserve is a world heritage site and is rich in biodiversity, including seven of South Africa’s eight Biomes. 

As the largest protected site in the country, the Baviaans area offers 4x4 enthusiasts and nature lovers the perfect surroundings for adventure. 

Families will especially enjoy this area, as one there are hikes varying in difficulty and range and splash pools are a plenty for cooling off. Even in winter, the cool rock pools are a welcomed resource for adrenaline pumping hikers and mountain bikers. 

The Baviaans is considered a playground for adrenaline junkies of all sorts, and the challenge of the Baviaans always leaves you wanting for more. 

Here are 3 of our favourite adventures in the Baviaans:

The Trans Baviaans 24hr MTB Marathon

Annually, the Trans Baviaans Mountain Bike race takes place over 230km, over 24 hours. This race is considered to be the toughest single stage MTB races in the world. 

The mountain bike marathon creates the perfect combination of extremely challenging cycling amongst spectacular scenery through exquisite mountain ranges, right into the heart of the magnificent Baviaanskloof Wilderness Area, all in a team format.

Since its start in 2004, it has been growing annually, deserving its place on many mountain bikers’ wish list.

Because this is a team event, consisting of two, three or four cyclists per team, the concept is very different to that of an ordinary MTB race. Due to the night time finish the first 10 teams home are greeted with the firing of a rocket! 

Every team that finishes receives a commemorative medal which completes a puzzle that fits into a shield after the completion of five events – motivating riders to complete the Trans Baviaans at least five times. The distance of 230 km from Willowmore to Jeffrey’s Bay must be completed in 24 hours to qualify for a medal.

The Trans Baviaans 24hr MTB Marathon has become so popular organisers are now doing two consecutive events on the first two weekends of August this year. 

You can get more details here

The Sewefontein Wild Fig Tree Forest 

If you're a little intimidated by all the action and adventure in the Baviaans, we know how you feel. So, for a milder adventure in this spectacular spot, opt for a hike through the stunning Sewefontein Wild Fig Tree Forest

Sewefontein Community Farm is situated in the Baviaanskloof and is collectively owned by 75 shareholders. The farm was bought in 2002 and boasts seven natural springs from where travellers can drink fresh mountain water and hike along the fountains.

A photo posted by @mira_leia on

It's a beautiful and unique forest of old wild fig trees with a hiking trail and shady picnic spots.

Guided tours are offered through this treasured forest. Patrick Ruiters, for example, offers guided walks to show travellers the artesian borehole as well as the Wild Fig Tree Forest. You can get hold of him at the Seven Fountains Tourist Info Office. 

A photo posted by Vhuthu (@tshish1) on

There are also picnic spots on offer as well as camping sites in a nearby Kloof.

The Zaaimanshoek 'Lost City' and Baviaans Community 

Zaaimanshoek is often referred to as the "lost city" of Baviaans, and a stroll through this tucked away community reveals the true local culture and a community seemingly undisturbed by time.

If you want to get to know the people of the area, this is a great place to start. The locals will also be able to tell you the secrets of the Baviaans - where to hike or run or MTB. Be warned, however, that Afrikaans is the most-commonly spoken language, and you'll probably struggle to hear fluent English. 

A photo posted by Robyn Owen (@robynkime) on

If you'd like to take something uniquely Baviaans home, please leave the flora and fauna alone... Instead, visit the unique Baviaans Craft Shop, just opposite Vero’s Restaurant. 

The small craft shop sells local arts & crafts and nibbles. There are also other Baviaanskloof related items such as T-Shirts for sale. The shop is part of the Baviaans Community upliftment project.

The old Winston le Roux's cable way system is also a sight to see in the Baviaans. This cableway once bridged the gaping Waterpoort, providing an effective link between the Enkeldoorn and Bergplaas farming communities. 

Constructed in the early 1960's, the system was used to transport farm produce (wheat, potatoes, vegetables and livestock) between the two areas, by-passing the tortuous and time-consuming road route.  

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