Kopbeenskloof 4x4 TrailEnquire Now
57km from De Doorns
36km, 5-7hrs, Grade 2-4
+27 82 829 6308 www.kopbeenskloof.co.za
Configuration: Two sections, circular and return.
Terrain: Steep and deep river crossings, rocks, gravel, sand and dongas.
It’s is a self-drive route; no guiding needed. This is a year-round destination. Several self-catering accommodation options are available as well as camping facilities and a huge function hall. There is only one trail at Kopbeenskloof, but several trails in the area: Gecko Rock, Karoo Adventures and Leeuwenboschfontein. Mountain biking, hiking and trail running are popular on the farm tracks, while fishing is available in the farm dam.
Kopbeenskloof nestles between the Krakkadouw and Waboom Mountains. They create a dramatic landscape to explore and imposing silhouettes as a backdrop for burning Karoo sunsets. The diversity of flora is rich, as the farm stretches over three distinct biomes. It offers shelter to a variety of game. This includes the elusive leopard and caracal, mighty sable antelope and dainty klipspringer. There are also birds, including countless sugarbirds and sunbirds enjoying the abundant fynbos, and regal black eagles patrolling the skies.
The Kopbeenskloof Trail consists of two sections. There’s a grade 2/3 loop taking you to a viewpoint offering sweeping views over the farm. Then there’s a grade 4/5 return route with a scary downhill section into Skull Gorge. The easier section starts on flattish jeep track before slowing climbing through a few stream crossings. Some are quite deep. Then it’s up a steep rocky incline through dense Karoo bush to reach the top of the ridge and the wonderful views over the valley.
The second section or the descent into Skull Gorge should not be attempted alone or without low range, diff lock and good ground clearance. A sandy track zigzags to the south-eastern corner of the farm and the start of the descent. The incline is very rocky and very steep. It has a hairpin to the left and an impressive side-slope that will have your passengers hanging onto door handles. Walk it first, take it slowly and place a spotter to guide you down to the valley floor.
Your self-catering accommodation options include a fully equipped guest house that sleeps nine, a rustic cottage without electricity that sleeps four, or several spacious wooden chalets with bunk beds and adjacent ablution facilities with hot water. There is also a campsite with flush toilets and hot showers. If you really wish to rough it, you can camp in remote and safe areas where stargazing is at its best. There are no facilities here however. Do not come here without your mountain bike, hiking or trail running shoes. The jeep-track trails and farm roads offer kilometres of exploration. There is also a well-stocked farm dam for the fishing enthusiast.
Follow the N1 north from Cape Town through Worcester and De Doorns and up the Hex River Pass. Turn right onto the R318 towards Montagu. Now follow the R318 for 27km before turning left onto the Nougaspoort gravel road. After another 6km you will see the Kopbeenskloof gate on your right.
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.