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Leeuwenboschfontein 4x4 Trail

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63km from De Doorns

-33.5666, 19.9857

20km, 4-6hrs, Grade 3-5

+27 23 358 1722 www.leeuwenboschfontein.co.za

Configuration: Circular with optional loops

Terrain: Rocky mountainous terrain with some very steep descents.

It is a self-drive route; no guiding needed. This is a year-round destination; snow is possible in winter. Several self-catering accommodation options are available as well as camping facilities. There is one main trail at Leeuwenboschfontein and a short obstacle course. There are several 4x4 trails in the area such as Gecko Rock, Karoo Adventures and Kopbeenskloof. Mountain biking, hiking, fishing, birdwatching and stargazing are some of the other activities on offer.

About

Leeuwenboschfontein lies in a valley, against the backdrop of the beautiful Klein Karoo. It’s in a unique landscape of succulents and renosterbos, bordered by breathtaking mountains. This is your chance to appreciate the uniqueness and variety of the Karoo fauna and flora, packaged in deep blue skies, endless vistas and deafening silence.

The 20km Mountain trail can be separated into three sections. A grade 3 drive will take you up to the lookout point. A grade 5 return route leaves from the lookout point and follows the northern contour to a boundary gate. Finally, once you are down from the lookout point, a grade 3/4 loop sets off to the west. A few sections will definitely tickle the grade 5 rating if attempted while it is raining or snowing. This trail has it all: steep ascents and descents, cross-axles and side-slope cambers.

The Mountain trail starts at the Main Guest House from where it winds through typical renosterveld, descending through some ditches and climbing over several small inclines. Some excitement waits along a 200m-long 30° climb towards God's Window, an enclosed shelter with magnificent 360° views of the surrounding hills and valleys. Luckily the eco-friendly ‘klip matte’ provide ample traction to get up the steep hill. There are toilets and a huge braai inside the glass-fronted shelter. There is also a nice deck to sit and take in the views.

From here, the road descends the mountain to complete the circular route. Two very steep declines await you on this section of the trail. It might seem dangerous, but the front tyres slip only ‘a few centimetres’ on the rocky steps, before gripping the rock again. If you have some nervous passengers on board, consider taking the alternate route. It is as scary as it looks, but worth it, with lots of really tight twists and turns in and out of a dry riverbed.

There are several self-catering accommodation options: bedding and other modern amenities are provided at De Kraal, the Main Guest House and Moira's Cottage. If you elect to stay in the Bungalow or Willows Cottage, you will have to provide your own bedding. The campsite is under willow trees next to a dam. All the sites are equipped with their own water and electricity as well as a light point. Other facilities include hot water, cloakrooms, toilets and a camping kitchen. Freezing facilities are also available. A spacious shed provides an alternate campsite should the weather turn against you. The shed is well suited as a venue for functions and includes a large indoor fireplace, showers, toilets and a kitchen.

Follow the N1 north from Cape Town through Worcester and De Doorns and up the Hex River Pass and turn right onto the R318 towards Montagu. Now follow the R318 for 26km before turning left onto the Nougaspoort gravel road. After another 12km, you will see Leeuwenboschfontein on your left.

Cape Winelands

Western Cape

About

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. 

When to go

To Do

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