The breath-taking Baviaanskloof Mega Reserve is one of the Cape Floral Region Protected Areas, collectively a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Covering roughly 200-square kilometres of pristine mountainous terrain, the ‘Valley of the Baboons’, is one of the largest wilderness conservation areas in South Africa. Just 120 kilometres west of Port Elizabeth, this awesome wilderness playground has much to offer nature lovers and outdoor adventurers.
The eastern side of the reserve starts at the Komdomo Campsite. From here the road winds 250 kilometres through the incredibly scenic and craggy Groot River Port towards Willowmore in the west.
A paradise for adventurous and active types, the vast mountainous landscape offers a unique wilderness experience with a plethora of things to do. These include rock climbing, mountaineering, camping, wildlife viewing, mountain biking, fishing, scenic drives, bird watching and 4x4 trails.
The diverse habitats support over 1,000 different plant species including the striking Erica and Protea families as well as ancient cycads. The reserve is also home to more than 50 mammal species, 300 bird species and numerous reptiles and amphibians.
A state-of-the-art World Heritage Site Interpretive Centre overlooking the Cambria Valley showcases the diversity and natural and cultural history of the Baviaanskloof region.
Things to do near
*Distances are shown as the crow flies and not necessarily the actual travelling
Stormsriver (37.6 km from Baviaanskloof)
This two-day circular route is easy to moderate and is a total of 24 km long. The trail starts and ends at Witelsbos State Forest. Permits must be obtained and overnight resting places are situated next to the water. Please enquire.
Four By Four Trails
Steytlerville (40.6 km from Baviaanskloof)
Elandsheuwel Guest Farm has two 4x4 trails; mountain bikes and quad bikes are welcome. The trails are 3 km and 8 km respectively and take about 1 to 3 hours to complete. The difficulty grading is between 1 and 2. The farm is located just outside of Steytlerville and en route to Wilowmore; the GPS indicates where the turn-off from the R329 is situated.
Stormsriver (42.3 km from Baviaanskloof)
Spectacular coastlines, lush forests, deep river gorges, majestic mountains and open savannah – the Garden Route National Park has it all.
This section of the South Coast of South Africa owns one of the loveliest stretches of coastline on the planet. Home to a variety of ecosystems, the park combines the world renowned Wilderness and Tsitsikamma sections, the Knysna Lake section, various mountains, and indigenous forest and Fynbos regions.
Resembling a mosaic of landscapes and seascapes from ocean to mountain areas, the Garden Route National Park is celebrated for its diverse ecological and cultural heritage. Not only that, the Park is a playground for adventurers and nature lovers.
Managed by SAN Parks, it offers numerous accommodation choices, events, activities, places of interest and scenic attractions.
Mountain Biking Trails
Stormsriver (43.4 km from Baviaanskloof)
This scenic ride offers 22 kilometres of wonderful riding through forest and mountain fynbos. Suitable for families, the undemanding trail mostly follows comfortable contours in the plantation and indigenous forest.
Starting from Storms River Village along the old Storms River Pass, the trail takes cyclists over the low water bridge over the Storms River. This will get you to the awesome viewpoint of Storms River Mouth in the Tsitsikamma National Park.
From this point you have the choice of cycling back on the same route or walking with your bike down to the suspension bridge.
Mountain bike hire: Mild2Wild Adventure Centre +27 (0)42 281 1054
Stormsriver (43.5 km from Baviaanskloof)
Looking for hip and unusual things to do on the Garden Route? Segway Off-Road ECO-Tours offer guided tours on a Segway Personal Transporter, a great way to see the outdoors.
The Segway Personal Transporter is easy and safe to use. Before each tour, guests receive a thorough orientation from an experienced trainer.
Tours pass through the quaint Storms River Village, into the Tsitsikamma pine forest and over the historical Witteklip Bridge. Booking is essential.
Stormsriver (44.4 km from Baviaanskloof)
Starting a little distance from the restaurant, the Loerie Trail is one of the short hikes from Storms River Mouth Rest Camp that don’t require permits or fees.
The two-kilometre circular route starts on the same path as the Blue Duiker Trail and takes a short cut through beautiful scrub forest featuring small trees of Cape Beech, Kershout and Bastard saffronwood.
The meandering path then passes through pristine coastal fynbos. Don’t miss seeing the views from the lookout platform. This is also a brilliant vantage point to spot whales in winter.
Grab a copy of 'Secrets of the Forest' and 'Deeper into the Forest' at the Enviro Centre. Maps and info are available at the camp's Info Centre. The start and end is well signposted just off the tarred road.
Joubertina (44.6 km from Baviaanskloof)
Lying inland and north of Nature's Valley is the relatively undiscovered Formosa Nature Reserve.
Most travellers to the Garden Route cling to the lovely coastline and miss the beautiful wildness of the Tsitsikamma Mountain range. But if you’re after the solitude of a pristine reserve that is seldom disturbed, look no further.
You can spend days exploring this long stretch of wilderness that lies between the Tsitsikamma National Park, Nature's Valley, and the Baviaanskloof Wilderness Area. There are no formal hiking trails in the 5 0000-hectare reserve – just lots of lovely footpaths to discover the stunning mountain forest and wet fynbos.
Abundant bird life draws twitchers from far beyond the limits of Kareedouw and Misgund, the Klein Karoo villages on either side of the park.
Don’t miss one of the reserve’s major attractions – trek up the famous Formosa Peak to summit the highest pinnacle in the Tsitsikamma Mountains.
Stormsriver (44.9 km from Baviaanskloof)
Tsitsikamma National Park offers an underwater wonderland waiting to be explored by scuba or snorkel!
The Storms River Mouth and Tsitsikamma National Park are a marine protected area filled with an abundance of colourful and inquisitive marine life making this dive site the Garden Route’s best kept secret.
Untouched Adventures offer full scuba gear hire, cylinder fills and guided dives. A variety of scuba courses are available ranging from 4-hour introductions to 4-day qualifying courses.
Stormsriver (45.1 km from Baviaanskloof)
South Africa’s most frequently hiked trail is so popular that bookings need to be made at least a year in advance – but don’t let that stop you.
The dramatic setting of luxuriant Tsitsikamma forest meeting the rugged Indian Ocean coastline in the Garden Route National Park contributes greatly to this unforgettable five-day hiking experience. Along with the incredibly diverse natural beauty, the area is paradise to numerous birds, wildlife, plants and trees.
Starting at Storms River Mouth, the first day is an easy warm up of 4.8 km, passing an interesting cave and gorgeous waterfall. The following three days are fairly tough and a reasonable level of fitness is required. The last leg of the 42 km route is a relatively easy 6 km amble to Nature's Valley.
Footpaths mostly follow the shoreline along cliff tops with stunning ocean views – dolphins and whales are often spotted. The trail returns to sea level for river crossings. Be aware of the dates and times of high and low tides as it is highly inadvisable to attempt river crossings during high tide.
The best time to hike the trail is between September and March. Overnight stops are situated at stunning locations. Rustic wooden huts offer bunks and mattresses, fireplaces, firewood, drinking water and toilets.
Stormsriver (45.1 km from Baviaanskloof)
The two-hour Kayak and Lilo Adventure takes guests up the Storms River and under the famous Storms River Suspension Bridge.
The trip offers magnificent views of the gorge, river and ocean in the marine protected area.
This fun adventure is suitable for the whole family, and is a "must do" for a holiday to the Storms River or Tsitsikamma area.
Stormsriver (45.5 km from Baviaanskloof)
Known as ‘Day One’ of the massively popular Otter Trail, the Waterfall Trail is definitely a worthwhile excursion at Storms River Mouth.
The linear route runs along the coastline for three kilometres until reaching the graceful waterfall, which marks the halfway point. The starting time for doing this walk is all important – in latest time to start in summer is 14:30 and in winter it is 13:30.
The hike is considered tricky because of the jagged and slippery terrain and it is advisable to tackle it at low tide. Don’t forget to take your swimming gear for a cooling plunge under the waterfall. Look out for the red flash of Knysna turacos in flight.
Grab a map of the various walks and a list of fauna and flora species at the Storms River Mouth Info Centre.
Tsitsikamma (50.1 km from Baviaanskloof)
Growers and Exporter of cultivated proteas & Fynbos
Tsitsikamma (55 km from Baviaanskloof)
Five… four… three… Experience the extreme thrill of the highest commercial bungy jump bridge in the world.
So you’re brave enough? After being secured in a full body harness, you walk along a 200-metre catwalk suspended beneath the road surface. This gets you to the place where it all happens – the top of the arch – 216 metres above the Bloukrans River!
Not into plunging headfirst? Try the exhilarating zip across the gorge on a 200-metre Flying Fox cable slide (foofie slide in South Africa speak). This takes you to the top of the arch where you can watch all the action.
For the less fearless you can walk along the catwalk to the top of the arch from where you look out over the gorge to the mountains and the sea in the distance.
Four By Four Trails
Willowmore (61.8 km from Baviaanskloof)
Glenmore 4x4 Trail really consists out of 5 trials, namely Kudu, Springbok, Dassie, Duiker and River. It is situated on a Little Karoo farm about 35 km from Willowmore and forms part of the Baviaanskloof wilderness area. The trails vary from easy to moderate with gradings from 1 to 3, depending on the season. The trails cross over rocky terrain, streams and the possibility of mud. A high clearance vehicle is required for these self-drive tracks. Please call for further information.
Natures Valley (62.3 km from Baviaanskloof)
The 4.8 km Kalanderkloof Hiking Trail starts directly opposite the entrance of the De Vasselot camping site. This route progresses up the Kalanderkloof to the lookout point. From the lookout point the route winds all the way back to the campsite.