Swartberg Nature Reserve

Most people know this reserve from the legendary Swartberg Pass, perhaps the most beautiful road in the country. Meandering over the rugged Cape mountain range like the graceful waft of smoke from an old buhsman’s pipe, this epic road links the southern Cape with the great Karoo in the north. But what you see from the pass is just a hint of what lies on either side. Along with the Cederberg, this is the Cape’s most remote wilderness area, and it’s possible to hike for days without seeing or hearing anything remotely human. Visitors should stay over at the CapeNature huts in the awesome Gamkaskloof (not the same as Gamkasberg), also known as Die Hel (The Hell). This isolated community of farmers lived here for 150 years, separated from the rest of the world until 1963, when a road was finally built into the valley. Today the kloof forms part of the Swartberg’s conservation plans.