Destination: Baviaanskloof, Western Cape in South Africa

The Baviaanskloof Mega Reserve includes a Wilderness Area that is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Located in both the Western and Eastern Cape Provinces within close proximity to the incredible Garden Route, which sits along the southeastern coast of South Africa, it’s a breathtaking destination that is well-known to many travelers.

Photo credit: Sam vd Berg

The Baviaanskloof is for the hardy off-roader as well as the weekender, as there is much to offer within the diverse landscape including a large array of fauna and flora. It is a destination that caters for all tastes.

There are two entrances to the reserve and dependent on your mode of transport, this will determine the distance you will be permitted to travel within the reserve. For the novice, a badly corrugated road takes you to several campsites far away enough from the city to appreciate the beauty of the Baviaanskloof, but allows you to take advantage of the several cabins and campsites available and can be driven by sedan. Choose your entrance carefully as only capable 4×4 drivers can drive the length of the Baviaans. Although the whole trip can be completed in one day, it would be a shame to not at least adventure down some of the many trails around the reserve. It is possible to spend a couple of weeks in the area, if not more. Just keep in mind that there are no fuel stations or stores along the route and ensure that you have sufficient provisions on hand. The area is also known for excessive rainfall in the winter months, so call ahead at +27 44 923 1702 to ensure that the roads are accessible prior to travel.

Things to do in and around the Baviaanskloof

Bavians-Kouga 4×4 Trail – a 22-mile one-way trail that takes approximately four hours to complete

BergRiver 4×4 Trail – a 10-mile loop trail that takes approximately three hours to complete

Cedar Falls Day Hike – a six- hour hiking trail along gorges to the refreshing Cedar Falls

San Rock Art Wall – a two-hour hike through the Leopard Kloof Valley to the Running Man rock painting caves

The Leopard Trail – Slack-packing, guided four-day moderate hike starting at USD150 pp

Riet River Hiking Trail – Slack-packing, guided four-day hike starting at Makkedaat from USD100 pp

Hunting Safaris – organised by the Baviaans Tourism Office

Where to stay in the Baviaanskloof

Cedar Falls Base Camp – several houses to rent for couples and large groups –

Makkedat Caves – opportunity to sleep in man-made caves –

Uitspan Guest Farm and Campsites – popular and easily accessible from outside of the Reserve (this is our favourite camp) –

Komdomo Campsite: Twenty-seven sites with electricity, ablutions, and hot water

Doodsklip Campsite: Five dry camping sites

Rooihoek Campsite: Six dry camping sites

Bergplaas Trail Hut: Two bedrooms with bunk beds and one bathroom – sleeps 12*

GeelHoutBos Lodge: Four bedrooms and one bathroom with en-suite shower – sleeps 10*

*Bring your own drinking water and firewood

Editors Note: Day visitors permits are required for the Wilderness area in the reserve at a rate of $2.50 per person. No pets are allowed in the Wilderness Area within the reserve.

Luisa Bell has always had a passion for travel, but she never imagined that she would travel the world, with her family, in a self-built Land Rover Defender camper. As the navigator, administrator, and penetrator of bureaucracy, she has led her family to over 65 countries on five continents. Luisa is the wife of Graeme, and their quarter-century together feels like a full century in overlander years. Her two kids and her dog are her pride and joy, and if she could travel with them indefinitely, she would. With a background in immigration law, she has the ability to make the impossible possible and has no plan of settling down or retiring her full-time traveler status. Follow her adventures at