Things to do near
*Distances are shown as the crow flies and not necessarily the actual travelling
Seweweekspoort (11.1 km from Amalienstein)
Almost directly opposite Zoar, a quaint little town founded in the early 1800s by the Berlin Mission, is a gravel road that leads to one of the Western Cape’s hidden treasures – Seweweekspoort.
According to some, Seweweekspoort is named after a missionary, Reverend Zerwick. It is renowned for its special natural beauty, immense rock formations and cliffs, and its timeless feeling of remoteness. The towering cliffs of the Swartberg bear witness to the immense forces from within the earth that once upon a time elevated these rugged, folded formations.
The road runs for some 20 km through the Poort, taking you from the Little Karoo to the Great Karoo, as well as from the winter rainfall to the summer rainfall area. It has been a gateway to the hinterland since before 1800, and Adam de Smidt built a wagon and horse road only in 1860. He was a brother in law to the well-known Thomas Bain. Only minor improvements have been made to this road over the years.
At some 2325 m above sea level, Seweweekspoort Peak is the highest in the Cape region. It keeps a watchful eye over the remaining klipspringer, dassie and even the occasional leopard. Often, Verreaux eagle can be spotted soaring among the cliffs. Beautiful specimens of Kiepersol can be seen along the way as the road crosses the meandering stream 23 times.
Only 7 km to the northeast is the Bosluiskloof pass – also built by Adam de Smidt, concurrently with Seweweekspoort. This little pass served as an extension of Seweweekspoort to create a throughway into the vast interior, and still retains its own special, untouched beauty to this day.
Dr. Atherstone (geologist) said the following in reference to Seweweekspoort in 1862:
“The most wonderful gorge or mountain pass I have ever beheld… how few know of this extraordinary mountain gap”
And in reference to the Bosluiskloof Pass:
“[From the top of the Pass] a scene burst upon us that I shall not forget in a hurry”.
C. Louis Leipoldt, after having travelled through Seweweekspoort, proclaimed it to be one of the Seven Wonders of the old Cape Province. Many a traveller has echoed these sentiments – why don’t you experience it yourself.
Seweweekspoort (14.8 km from Amalienstein)
The magnificent and majestic route down the Bosluiskloof Pass traverses from Seweweekspoort down to the Gamkapoort Dam.
This is a scenic drive with breathtaking views and sights that are hard to forget. The route is about 25 kilometres long, and winds between the Swartberg and the Elandberg mountain ranges, defining the border between the Great and Klein Karoo.
Four By Four Trails
Calitzdorp (17.9 km from Amalienstein)
Bôjaankop 4x4 Trail has an amazing history dating back to the 1800s; sharecroppers would drag their bundles straight down the foothills of the Swartberg Mountains. The route follows the Gamka River and offers breathtaking views. The tail is relatively easy with a grading of 2 to 3. The 15 km route is a self-drive course and can reach 540 m above sea level.
The trail requires a low range, high clearance 4x4 vehicle – provision has been made for softroaders. The trail takes approximately 3 to 4 hours and is open all year round.
For accommodation, enquiries and bookings please contact Matjiesvlei Guest Farm .
Ladismith (22.2 km from Amalienstein)
Indigenous vegetation of the Little Karoo veld, as well as fauna like eland, springbok, duiker and steenbok can be seen on this beautiful walk. The circular trail is 12 km long and is rated as easy. Hikers must arrange for key collection at the Ladismith municipal offices, as the entrance to the trail is locked.
Four By Four Trails
Calitzdorp (25.2 km from Amalienstein)
Gamkaberg Zebra Crossing comprises various 4x4 trails ranging from 16 km to 36 km. The trails take about 3 to 4 hours to complete and stretch over the Gamkaberg Mountain. The trails start at the information centre and leads over scenic trails to be enjoyed by all. The difficulty grading is 2 and high clearance vehicles are needed. Soft 4x4 vehicles with no low range are welcome but please contact the information centre for further enquiries. The exact GPS coordinates are unknown and have been placed in Calitzdorp.
Prince Albert (42.7 km from Amalienstein)
Get the real Karoo farm experience! Magnificent views, bird-watching, horse riding, baboons and antelope to be seen. Bushman paintings are within walking distance.
Group lunches or dinners can be arranged.
The Weltevrede valley lies 25 km from Prince Albert and is surrounded by the Swartberg Mountains. Weltevrede is a working farm and the main crop is Adam's figs which are sun-dried.
Visit during the harvesting and drying season (from January to May) and see how the figs are picked, processed and packed. The owners also grow oranges and naartjies and rear ostrich. Visitors are most welcome to view all the farm activities.
Guided hikes over the Swartberg Mountain from the farm into "Die Hell" are on offer during the cooler months.
Oudtshoorn (52.3 km from Amalienstein)
Nestled between the Swartberg and Outeniqua Mountains in the Klein Karoo, this remote mountain reserve is definitely worth a visit.
Most folk who venture to Gamkaberg Nature Reserve come to soak up the peace and tranquillity. The best season to go is in spring although any time of the year is worthwhile.
Part of the Cape Floral Kingdom which boasts one of the richest floras on earth, Gamkaberg is a botanists paradise. Here you will find four of the South African biomes – Fynbos, Succulent Karoo, Subtropical Thicket and Evergreen Forest.
Home to the endangered Cape mountain zebra, honey badger and leopard, the reserve is an important refuge for rare Western Cape wildlife. Other animals you can spot include eland, red hartebeest, grysbok, grey rhebuck, klipspringer, duiker, steenbok, baboon, caracal, aardvark, aardwolf, black backed jackal and many small mammals. The reserve is also host to numerous birds, reptiles and insects.
Day trippers can look around the information centre, meander through the labyrinth, explore the short footpaths and use the picnic or braai spots. Open daily from sunrise to sunset.
Heidelberg (WC) (53.6 km from Amalienstein)
The 15 km Grysbok Trail in Grootvadersbosch Nature Reserve takes hikers on an exploration of the pretty mountain fynbos and forest fringes of the Langeberg Mountains. The reserve offers varied birding opportunities. Grysbok and bushbuck can be seen in the fynbos and indigenous forest of yellowwoods, ironwoods and stinkwood trees.
Duration: 4 hours
Distance: 15 km
Oudtshoorn (54.3 km from Amalienstein)
Dramatic gorges, stunning mountain scenery, amazing wildlife and birds characterize the Tierkloof Hiking Trail in Gamkaberg Nature Reserve.
This moderately strenuous trail starts in the Succulent Karoo biome before heading into a lush, forested ravine. Here a melodic chorus of forest songbirds rings in the kloof – particularly the vocal Bokmakieries and Southern Boubous. A pair of breeding Black eagles have claimed the cliffs for their eyrie and can often be seen soaring in the thermals.
The two-day trail eventually leads hikers onto the fragrant fynbos-clad mountain plateau. Spectacular views of the Swartberg and Outeniqua Mountains can be enjoyed from the far-flung overnight stop at Oukraal camp.
The camp provides beds, mattresses, gas fridge, stove, fireplace and ablutions. Permits can be obtained from the CapeNature Booking Office.
Day One 14.5 km, Day Two 13 km.
Heidelberg (WC) (54.6 km from Amalienstein)
The 10 km Bushbuck Trail in Grootvadersbosch Nature Reserve rambles through the pristine mountain fynbos and prime indigenous forest of yellowwoods, ironwoods and stinkwood trees. Underneath the canopy are an abundance of ferns, and numerous birds flit abut the treetops. Depending on weather conditions, the trail may be closed at certain times during the year.
Duration: 3 hours
Distance: 10 km
Oudtshoorn (56.4 km from Amalienstein)
The Spekboom Trail is one of five short day trails ranging from 0.7 km to 14.4 km in the Gamkaberg Nature Reserve. These routes take walkers through typical succulent Karoo, subtropical thicket and evergreen forest in the Tierkloof gorge.
Duration: 30 minutes
Distance: 1.3 km
Oudtshoorn (56.7 km from Amalienstein)
The 4.1 km Piet Barbet Trail takes hikers through succulent Karoo and subtropical thicket in the Gamkaberg Nature Reserve. This part of the Klein Karoo is within the Cape Floral Kingdom, one of the botanical wonders of the world, and is unmatched in its plant diversity compared with other arid regions.
Duration: 2.5 hours
Distance: 4.1 km
Oudtshoorn (56.8 km from Amalienstein)
The 2.5 km Mousebird Trail takes hikers through Succulent Karoo and Subtropical thicket in the Gamkaberg Nature Reserve. This part of the Klein Karoo is within the Cape Floral Kingdom, and is considered one of the botanical wonders of the world, unequalled in its plant diversity compared with other arid regions.
Duration: 1.5 hours
Distance: 2.5 km
Oudtshoorn (58.1 km from Amalienstein)
The 0.7 km Guarrie Trail is the shortest route in the Gamkaberg Nature Reserve. This part of the Klein Karoo is within the Cape Floral Kingdom, considered one of the botanical wonders of the world and unequalled in its incredible plant diversity compared with other arid regions.
Duration: 20 minutes
Distance: 0.7 km
Prince Albert (61.3 km from Amalienstein)
The Swartberg Hiking Trail presents a scenic but tough trek through fynbos over the Swartberg Mountains. There are three starting points: on the Oudtshoorn side, at De Hoek and from the Old Toll overnight cottage in the Swartberg Pass. Less fit hikers can chose the shortest route. Winter conditions can be extreme with occasional snowfalls.
Duration: 2 days
Distance: 12.8 km (Day 1) and 13 km (Day 2)