Gemsbok 4x4 Trail (Grade 2 4)

Gemsbok 4x4 is ideal for a group of friends or families that enjoy nature and are looking for a getaway from it all.  The unspoilt beauty of the Karoo can be experienced on this farm.

The Gemsbok 4x4 Trail commences at the Old Gemsbokfontein farmstead at 1170m above sea level along the well-used farm road.  After passing through the river bed a few times, you can see the track climbing up the Roggeveld mountains in front of you.  Take time and enjoy the breathtaking views of the Moordenaars Karoo.  Beyond the ver verlate vlaktes you will be able to see the Swartberg Mountains, Buffelspoort, and Towerkop to the south and the Matroosberg to the South-west.

The nature of the vegetation and shrubs change as you reach the higher altitude and winter snow-levels.  You can camp at Boesmanshoek campsite.  If you don’t want to camp, there is a well equipped quest house 60km from Gemsbokfontein at Saaiplaas. This trail is only 3⅟₂ hours from Cape Town.  There is accessible snow in winter (June, July and August).  The beautiful Moordenaars Karoo scenery, bush camping and stargazing is a welcome bonus!

 

More Info:

 • Maximum number of Vehicles: 10

 • 10 Smallish campsites

 • You are provided with a map

 • Ablutions: 2x flush toilets and 2x bush showers

 • Bring your own braaigrid and toilet paper

 

Contact: Francois Conradie

Tel: 023 5511817 to book or

Email: fdconradie@roggeveld.co.za

Wagendrift 4x4 Trails

Wagendrift is a 4-wheel enthusiast’s dream come true.  Apart from the many 4X4 trails, some of Wagendrift’s spectacular scenery and experiences are only accessible by 4-wheel drive vehicle.  The 4X4 trails at Wagendrift guarantee you of an exhilarating experience that you will never forget.  All the trails have varying degrees of inclines, deep dongas and loose rock.  You will traverse magnificent passes boasting exquisite views.

River Trail (Grade 3 - 4)

The River Trail sets out from the camp site and crosses the Buffels River which, depending on the leiwater, can be fast-flowing, strong and deep.  The riverbed provides lots of 4X4 action.  You may find you need to walk certain sections first.  The trail criss-crosses the river bed, climbing in and out at intermittent points.  Once progress becomes easier, it’s almost the end of the trail.

Zeebra Mountain Trail (Grade 2)

The Zebra Mountain Trail is a circular grade 2 trail that rewards drivers with exceptional vistas and excellent game-viewing opportunities.  It offers a mostly easy mountain driving experience that provides loads of fun.

You will be provided with a map. And the maximum number of vehicles aloud is 10. You can stay at the Wagendrift Lodge or cottages.  The more adventurous can make use of Wagendrift’s camping facilities.

Anysberg Nature Reserve

Anysberg Nature Reserve lies in the Klein Karoo between Ladismith, Laingsburg, Touwsrivier and Montagu.  The reserve offers the visitor some of the most striking scenery in the Karoo as well as fascinating animals and plants and various recreational activities.

Anysberg Nature Reserve was established in 1988 in order to conserve the local veld type and to eventually re-introduce game species which historically occurred in this region.  Anysberg lies within the Cape fold mountains and the vegetation is transitional between mountain fynbos and typical Klein Karoo veld.  The plant life ranges from eye-catching succulents to impressive stands of proteas which occur at higher altitudes.

Mammals include steenbok, duiker, gemsbok, red hartebeest, the endangered Cape mountain zebra and numerous other small, shy species.  Leopard roam the mountains.  Other notable carnivores include black-backed jackal and caracal.  Bird-watchers will find this an interesting locality, with approximately 180 bird species having been recorded.

Numerous archaeological sites are dotted over the reserve.  Bushman paintings depicting scenes from the past and ruins dating from the late 1700s are reminders of the early hunters, farmers and herders who inhabited the area.

Anysberg offers the visitor a choice of several recreational activities. You can enjoy the two-day horse trail or rent mountain bikes from the office to follow the jeep tracks which traverse the office.  Visitors can also go Kayaking on the dam on Anysberg – Kayaks can be rented at the office.  Environmental education programs are available for organized groups.

For more information on activities and accommodation please contact us at Tel: 021 483 0190

www.capenature.co.za

BIRDING IN THE LAINGSBURG DISTRICT

One of the most underrated entry points into the Karoo takes one via SEWEWEEKSPOORT (S33º 23’36.23” E21º 24’06.55”) to LAINGSBURG (S33º 10’55.79” E20º 42’18.40”). The turnoff is just outside Zoar on the R62 between Ladismith and Calitzdorp. The scenery through Seweweekspoort must be experienced and birders are in with a very real chance of finding specials such as Booted and Verreaux’s Eagle, Cape Rock-Thrush, Cape Siskin, Cape Sugarbird and Ground Woodpecker. Allow at least two hours to travel through this gorge to experience one of nature’s true marvels. Once the intersection is reached, there are two options - one can travel east to Bosch Luys Kloof Private Nature Reserve and the western shores of Gamkapoort Dam, or one can travel west towards Laingsburg. Travelling by 4x4 is advised when going east from here. Huge numbers of Cape Siskins can seasonally be found along the first five km along this road.

The gravel road towards Laingsburg is usually in very good condition, but caution is advised. Ensure that the many dams along this road are checked as African Darter, African Black Duck, SA Shelduck, Cape Shoveler, Cape Teal and many more waterfowl are common. Both the Vleiland and Rouxpos detours are also of interest. The scenery along this road is often described as a geologist’s wonderland - a supreme area for landscape photography. The turnoff to Anysberg Nature Reserve (S33º 30’58.27” E20º 28’26.11”) is just before Laingsburg. The Flood Museum in Laingsburg is certainly worth a visit. There is a variety of self-catering establishments available along this road.

We selected WAGENDRIFT LODGE (S33º 22’45.34” E20º 56’33.50”) and were very impressed - an ideal destination for birders and bird clubs. There are several accommodation options available and it includes camping and a 4X4 trail. This is big sky country in incredible blues. The silence is magical, the night sky glitters with millions of stars. Wagendrift Lodge is a magnificent example of the peace and tranquility of so many farm-based destinations in the Great Karoo. We found no less than 60 species in 6 hours of birding on the farm, including Acacia Pied Barbet, Familiar and Karoo Chat, African Fish-Eagle, Fairy Flycatcher, Chestnut-vented Tit-Babbler and Karoo Scrub-Robin. BirdLife Overberg has scheduled a mid-week outing to Wagendrift Lodge for March 2013.

The ANYSBERG NATURE RESERVE (S33º25’52.2” E20º48’0.5”) is also in close proximity and is registered as an Important Bird Area (IBA SA108). Featuring transitional vegetation ranging from mountain fynbos to typical Klein Karoo habitats, it hosts 164 bird species. The lower altitude Karoo plains are particularly good for Ludwig’s Bustard, Karoo Chat, Blue Crane, Karoo Eremomela, Karoo Korhaan and Rufous-eared Warbler, while Martial Eagle and Black Harrier are often present. Namaqua Warbler frequent the acacia thickets, and Grey Tit and Layard’s Tit-Babbler are found in the shrubs along slopes. Most of the fynbos associated species are present and many waterfowl may be found in wetter cycles. There are numerous archaeological sites and the reserve offers a variety of recreational activities and accommodation choices.

 

We have spent two periods of fourteen days each on the road investigating top birding destinations in the Central Karoo and Eden District municipal regions. There are so many brilliant places that is would be impossible to describe these within a trip reports. We have discussed this and decided that there is no doubt that the biggest surprise and our top area that we had visited is the area to the east of Laingsburg and to the west of Ladismith. The area basically straddles the Little Swartberg mountain range with the impressive massive of Towerkop towering above it. In the Karoo trip report we described Both Wagendrift Lodge and Koedoeskloof Guest Lodge in the Ladismith district offer great habitat and species diversity, spectacular landscapes and an abundance of water at this time of year. They can either be used as base for casual birding on foot, or to serve as venues to explore a variety of brilliant loop roads in the area.

Dr. Anton Odendal

BirdLife Overberg

www.westerncapebirding.co.za

All Photos intelectual property of Dr. Anton Odendal

 
 


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