Karoo Adventures 4x4 TrailEnquire Now
59km from Montagu
35km, 5-8hrs, Grade 2-5
+27 23 358 1869 www.karooadventures.co.za
Configuration: Several circular routes.
Terrain: Mainly rock, loose and large as well as solid rock faces.
It’s a self-drive route; no guiding needed. This is a year-round destination; just check in after heavy rains as some sections might be closed. Several self-catering accommodation options are available as well as camping facilities. For the more adventurous, there is a zip slide on the property. There are several trails: an obstacle course and a multi-day trail at Karoo Adventures, plus the Winter Trek Route, a soft-roader/4x2 route on a neighbouring farm. A host of activities including zip lines, quad and mountain biking and hiking is available.
Karoo Adventures lies only 20km off the N1 between De Doorns and Touwsrivier. It’s very easily accessible from Cape Town for those in search of adrenalin, clean air, beautiful sunsets and star-filled skies. The farm, Koenieskraal, has been in the Le Roux family for four generations and is the setting for most of the Wagon Wheel 4×4 Trail. The sheep grazing on this farm keep one eye open while sleeping, as leopards and caracals also call this place home.
The diverse selection of 4x4 trails at Karoo Adventures offers something for everyone. The grading ranges from a casual drive in the mountains to very challenging grade 5 sections. The trails cover a variety of terrains, and fauna and flora. There is enough to keep you busy for two full days. The trails follow some of the old mule wagon routes between Touwsriver and Montagu, which also link the farms in the area. The trail is 35km long and has two sections: a mountain section and a Karoo section.
The Chicken Run is a short obstacle trail in the middle of the Karoo and Mountain sections and makes for a great warm-up. It starts with a steep climb, and then a zigzag that can get quite slippery when wet, followed by a steep descent down to the dirt road. The Karoo section has one challenging part, the Witkruisarend Trail, but there are escape routes available. This is a rocky technical trail through a dry riverbed. It will test your ability to traverse steep side-slopes.
The Mountain section offers very scenic views over the Koo and Keisie valleys. It starts with the Bergroete (grade 2) and includes the infamous Ratel Route (grade 5) as an alternative to the easy mountain sections. The route has steep and sometimes very narrow sections. Land Rover corner has some serious steps and climbs. The little section just before it is a relatively steep climb over large, loose rocks. As you crest, the trail becomes too narrow to have both wheels on level ground. It’s a white-knuckle moment, with a steep ravine that is about 3m deep on one side.
The Waboomsberg route traverses five farms over two days, starting from Koenieskraal and ending at the Driekuilen Private Nature Reserve. This brand new 42km route follows ancient wagon trails dating back to 1756 as it completes a circle through and over the Waboomsberge. Most of the first day is accessible to 4x2s, but as you hit the ascent of the Waboomsberge on the second day, it’s a very different story.
For self-catering accommodation, you can choose between the fully equipped No 45 Survivor Cabin that sleeps four, or the Zoutrivier Cottage. There are also three campsites: Peerboom Camp has a small hut, flush toilets and hot water. Luiperdskloof Camp has flush toilets, a hot water shower, braai facilities, shade and a running river. Kareekloof Camp has ample shade but no facilities. This is where you rough it and test your equipment. Adrenalin junkies as well as the active bunch will love the zip line course across six platforms as well as the quad and mountain bike trails.
Follow the N1 north and turn right, about 20km past De Doorns, onto the R318. Karoo Adventures is to the left, about 20km from the N1 turnoff.
As the name suggests, the Cape Winelands is an area of vines and vineyards; the berries of which are responsible for that most delicious fermented juice of the grape: wine. The region is well known for its proliferation of estates and cellars that continually create quality wines throughout the cultivar spectrum.
This is an area that encourages leisurely meanders along its various wine routes, absorbing the natural beauty of the rural surroundings.
The region stretches northwards from the eastern outskirts of Cape Town. In the south the popular and trendy towns of Stellenbosch and Franschhoek nestle in the shadow of the mountains that make up the Hottentots Holland Nature Reserve. To the west the popular tourist ‘Route 62’ follows the Breede River Valley. It takes in the town of Robertson, the quaint village of McGregor and continues to Worcester.
North, across the N1 highway, the historic towns of Paarl, Wellington and Tulbagh are strung out between a series of mountains. In the far north-east, the town of Ceres is a dot in a sweeping valley of fruit orchards.
Craggy mountains are a feature of the landscape, giving rise to the region also being called the Boland (High Land). The mountains include the ranges of the Groot Drakenstein, Langeberg, Hexrivier and Witzenberg. Their steep rocky peaks plunge to gentler gradients rich in fynbos and proteas, before levelling out in fertile valleys threaded with chortling streams.
In these low-lying areas, suspended between the slopes, vineyards stretch in patchwork patterns. Like an artist’s palette the area changes with the seasons - from subtle spring pastels, through lush summer greens, to the earthy shades of autumn.
Not only are the Cape Winelands a delight for connoisseurs of fine wines; the towns themselves are centres for a host of enjoyable pastimes. Many are steeped in history and have magnificent collections of traditional Cape Dutch and period architecture.
These are best viewed during a stroll along the leafy streets. The historic Church Street in Tulbagh has the largest concentration of provincial monuments in one street in South Africa. The university town of Stellenbosch, with its oak-lined boulevards, is the second-oldest town in the country, dating back to 1671. Today it is an important cultural centre with a host of galleries and museums, and the country’s oldest music school.
Franschhoek, reclining in a somnolent valley ambience, entices gourmets to sample its fare at some of South Africa’s top restaurants. McGregor is well known for its life-enriching tranquillity and Ceres for its fruit production and snow-covered mountains in winter. Besides their wineries, Robertson and Worcester are known for the production of some of South Africa’s best known brandies – Klipdrift and KWV, respectively.
The winelands is great country in which to enjoy a leisurely trip along minor roads that fade into the fynbos. They will take you into valleys and gorges, past barns stacked with bales of lucerne, and paddocks with grazing sheep and lazing cows. Around farmsteads and cottages, chickens strut their stuff and pigs wallow in slushy heaven. Dams mirror the sky and hillsides, their reflections rippled by drifting and preening waterbirds. Tractors till the land, and labourers and farmers wave to every passer-by.
For centuries the terroir here has been ideally suited to the production of great wine and today, more than ever before, it is also conducive to the making of good times and fond memories. The Cape Winelands is a region to relax in, whilst inhaling the warm, scented air and indulging in the finer things in life.
Look out for
Wine tasting – naturally this is a popular and pleasant pastime in the region. The Stellenbosch wine route, established in 1971, is the oldest in South Africa. Today other routes lead to the cellars and estates around virtually every town in the region. Many of the wineries offer tasting and sales from Monday to Saturday. Maps are available from the tourism office in each town.
Brandy tasting – this much-loved spirit is produced by a good number of cellars and specialist distillers throughout the region. There are 2 brandy routes in the region. The Western Cape Brandy Route winds through Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, Paarl and Wellington. The R62 Brandy Route goes through Robertson and Worcester. Many of these offer tasting, tours and sales from Monday to Friday.
Historical towns – the Cape Winelands is rich in history, with most towns and many of the wine estates having their own collections of historical buildings, museums and monuments. The region is synonymous with Cape Dutch and Victorian architecture. Highlights include Church Street in Tulbagh and the De Oude Drostdy Museum just outside the town. There are Zeederberg Square and the Paarl Museum in Paarl, and Klein Plasie open air Museum in Worcester. Twenty declared National Monuments are in Wellington and there is the Huguenot Memorial and Museum in Franschhoek.
Scenic drives – where there are mountains and valleys there are always scenic roads and passes to explore; here is no exception.
River rafting – the Breede River is the sixth largest river in South Africa and is a playground of fun and adventure.
Adrenalin - for lovers of the adrenalin rush, Ceres Zipslide Adventures offers 8 slides totalling 1.4km amongst the rock formations of the Skurweberg mountains near Ceres.
Art galleries – the towns are home to a host of artists and galleries. The Stellenbosch Gallery and Rupert Gallery in Stellenbosch are popular and showcase art through many mediums and genres.
Wildlife on display – the area has a number of parks that allow one to get close to a variety of wild creatures in captivity. Some of the better known ones include the Drankenstein Lion Park, Butterfly World, Paarl Bird Sanctuary and the Le Bonheur Crocodile Farm - all situated between Paarl and Stellenbosch.