A visit to the Unique and Beautiful
Kagga Kamma Private Game Reserve.****
Information about Kagga Kamma Private Nature Reserve ****
Breathe in the fresh air and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere of the Lodge. Kagga Kamma not only offers guests spectacular scenery and absolute tranquillity but also stylish accommodation, fine dining and exclusive tours and activities - all included when you book your stay.
The Cederberg area is unique in that it comprises an untouched Karoo-like wilderness where guests will find beautiful wild flowers and small critters that are scarcely seen in other parts of the country. Kagga Kamma is equally unique in that it offers guests experiences and facilities they will not find anywhere else. Guests can choose from a variety of accommodation types which include Cave Suites, our Outcrop Open Air Room and our luxurious Thatched Rondavels for an experience of the surroundings in the most magical way possible.
Kagga Kamma Nature Reserve offers guided 4x4 and quad bike safaris, hiking trails and star gazing at the mini Observatory. Guests can relax at the resort’s swimming pool while marvelling at the rock formations it’s built around. The Spa offers exclusive wellness treatments to relax and rejuvenate and guests can enjoy a sundowner as the sky changes colour in the late afternoon. Guests can also look forward to picturesque views of the Karoo-like landscape in winter and summer.
How Kagga Kamma started:In 1986 Willie de Waal, Pieter de Waal and Pieter Loubser bought Kagga Kamma as well as three adjacent farms. The owners immediately saw the potential of the beautiful and secluded 15 000 hectare properties.
In 1987 a small stone cottage was built to allow the owners to entertain friends at Kagga Kamma. It was love at first sight for the visitors. The owners soon realised that people wanted to share and preserve the area on a wider basis and decided to turn Kagga Kamma into a Nature Reserve in 1988. To provide the best quality water to the reserve the owners bought Grootvlei Farm in 1989.
They built the first chalets and introduced some antelope species to the reserve. From there Kagga Kamma grew into what it is today: a luxurious resort in an unique environment that is continuously striving to offer guests memorable experiences while preserving the natural environment.
With the typically crisp, clear night skies of Kagga Kamma guests love to lay back and watch shooting stars at night and in the morning be slowly awakened by the rising sun. Its beautiful, romantic setting and luxury facilities make the Outcrop Open Air Room the perfect spot for honeymooners and couples.
Outcrop Open Air Room
Do you wish you could sleep under the stars, listening to the sounds of the night as you drift off to dreamland? At Kagga Kamma not only can you do this, you can do this in style. This is one of Kagga Kamma's most unique features; a night under the starlit skies with all the comforts of a suite. Situated on a remote rocky outcrop far away from the Lodge, this idyllic space is home to the first luxury sleep out facility of its kind. While checked in at Kagga Kamma, guests have the option of sleeping outside if the weather permits. A double bed and glowing fire will be waiting. Guests also have the option of taking a picnic basket for dinner or departing to the Outcrop Open Air Room after dinner at the lodge.
Bushman Lodge offers guests a choice of five spacious en-suite, thatched rondavels or ten unique cave suites that are built into the sandstone rock formations.Each cave suite has a private terrace and is stylishly furnished. The beautiful rock formations can be experienced up close in these suites that blend into their environment seamlessly.
Enjoy breakfast and lunch at the Lodge's restaurant and fine dining under the stars at the outdoor lapa. Because our guest's comfort is our main priority we provide heaters for the suites during winter months and advise guests to dress warmly when dining outside.
Let your inner adventurer out when you camp at Kagga Kamma in an untouched natural environment. Wooden partitions are used to cordon off ablution facilities. Showers, consisting of a bucket and showerhead, are provided and water should be heated on a fire. Guests can bring their own chemical toilets or rent from Kagga Kamma.
Water canisters of 50 litres are available free of charge for a deposit of R100. Guests are welcome to bring their own canisters. Please do not collect fire wood from the reserve. Firewood is for sale at Reception.
Close to the swimming pool and ± 1½km from the restaurant, curio shop and bar (with satellite TV) Up to ±10 vehicles Ablution facilities: flush toilets, washbasins and showers.
At Kagga Kamma guests can look forward to fine dining with an a la carte menu prepared by Chef Willem Kruger. Relax in our spa that offers an exclusive range of TheraNaka treatments and TheraVine products.
The swimming pool is perfect for lazy days in the sun, soaking up the amazing surroundings while cooling down. Kagga Kamma also has excellent, fully equipped conference facilities that provide accommodation, snacks and internet access.
Kagga Kamma Swimming Pools In-between some of the most spectacular rock formations, guests will find one of Kagga Kamma's two swimming pools. During those hot Karoo-like summers this is the place to be to cool down or find some shade. In winter-time guests often curl up with a book on the sun loungers surrounding the water.
Restaurant and Pub The restaurant at Bushman Lodge provides guests with a mouth-watering a la carte menu. Enjoy breakfast and lunch at the restaurant and dinner under the starlit night skies. The restaurant boasts a range of wines that will compliment meals perfectly. Guests are also welcome to enjoy the cakes and sweet treats created by our Executive Chef.
Willem Kruger – Kagga Kamma Executive Chef
Kagga Kamma is proud to introduce our culinary expert, Willem Kruger. Willem has 30 years experience in the hotel industry and has worked in over a dozen kitchens of top lodges and hotels.As a young boy Willem was inspired by his mother's cooking and later worked for Anton Rupert who helped him cultivate his passion. Officially, Willem's career started in the South African Airforce as a Trainee Chef where he got hooked on cooking and never looked back.
Today, Willem still uses some of his mother's recipes and believes it's thanks to her that he has become such a successful chef. Willem's specialty is Lemon Meringue but he also loves making Seagulls Fare at Kagga Kamma. This dish consists of mussels, shrimp and calamari with onion and garlic in a delicate, creamy sauce served on pasta and topped with parmesan cheese. Ingredients used at Kagga Kamma mainly come from Ceres but Willem also has a vegetable and herb garden from where he gets the freshest ingredients for his dishes.
Along with the friendly and helpful kitchen staff at Kagga Kamma, Willem makes delicious meals that can be enjoyed in the relaxed atmosphere of the resort's beautiful, unique setting.Kagga Kamma also has a cosy pub for guests to enjoy. The pub is a Wi-Fi area and has satellite TV for watching sports events.
Enjoy breakfast and lunch at the Lodge's restaurant and fine dining under the stars at the outdoor lapa.
Kagga Kamma Relax Spa invites you to put your feet up, enjoy the view and be pampered. The spa offers an exclusive range of TheraNaka Massages where guests can choose between Relaxing, Uplifting or Detoxifying Oils. Facials are done with TheraVine products and deluxe manicures and pedicures will leave you looking and feeling like royalty.
At Kagga Kamma there is more than enough to keep the adventurous occupied. Mountain bike trails take guests on a scenic adventure through the unique terrain. 4x4 Enthusiasts will enjoy the spectacular views and vast stretches of Karoo mountains and valleys while encountering antelope, rare birds and reptiles. For the fun-loving Kagga Kamma recommends a Quad Bike Safari, taking place on otherwise inaccessible routes.
Kagga Kamma has two trails; one of 10km (Red) and one of 30km (Black). The circular trails start at the reception area and wind through the bush. The route comprises mainly of a 4x4 track and the terrain is varied.
The route can be a bit sandy in patches but is suitable for the average rider. The total ascent of the route is 300m. Riders can expect to complete the route in two to three hours. Packing a camera is a good idea as wildlife and beautiful scenery can be enjoyed along the way.
Kagga Kamma's trail offers 4x4 enthusiasts spectacular views over vast stretches of Karoo and the mountains and valleys of the Cederberg. Rare birds and reptiles can be seen along this trail as well as some antelope species and cheeky baboons.The route is more than 100km long in total and it is best to travel with more than one vehicle. The route is quite difficult and has some very steep sections.
From mid-August to mid-November the area turns into a botanist's paradise with wild flowers blooming in every direction. December to February are the hottest months (temperatures can reach over 40˚C) while winter months vary from mild to very cold with occasional snow in higher areas. Higher areas are generally 8˚C colder than the lower sites.
Guided Quad Bike Safaris
For more adventurous guests the reserve offers this unique nature and game viewing experience. Quad Bike safaris take place on parts of the reserve that would be otherwise inaccessible and allow guests to enjoy not only the beautiful environment but also the excitement of riding a quad bike on the terrain. Excursions last one to two hours and are arranged on request.
To see the Cederberg's interesting ecological features in all their glory, guests are welcome to use the hiking trails and walks on the reserve. The rock formations and plant life that have been in the area for centuries will inspire, delight and surprise nature lovers.
The clear, dark skies of the Cederberg make Kagga Kamma the perfect star-gazing spot. At the Mini Observatory guests can see billions of stars, planets, satellites and shooting stars up close through our 10-inch telescope. This fascinating experience is facilitated by an expert who will assist and guide guests to ensure that they experience the wonders of the sky as clearly and closely as possible.
Bushman Art Tour
Ancient bushman living-sites can be found all over Kagga Kamma Game Reserve. These paintings were made with different colours of stone which was ground up and mixed with fat to form paint. The reserve has expertly trained rangers who can help guests find and understand these paintings and provide more information on this fascinating culture. Guests can also expect to discover some paintings themselves along the hiking and walking trails.
Dry Mountain Fynbos and Succulent Karoo plants provide grazing for animals in this Western part of South Africa. Kagga Kamma's qualified guides take guests on game drives where breathtaking views over the Ceres Karoo and Cederberg can be enjoyed. Morning and Night drives cross the 15 000ha reserve to spot resident animal species such as antelope and ostrich. Guests may also spot Lynx, Jackal and the spectacular Cape Mountain Leopard. On the drive the guides will also point out interesting bird and reptile species and share fascinating facts about plants of the area. This experience between the magnificent rock formations will leave guests with a deep appreciation for Kagga Kamma's unique environment.
Educational Talks about snakes and reptiles are presented by our Head Field Guide, Nicholas van Zyl. Nicholas is a qualified snake handler and has a great amount of knowledge about snakes and a passion for sharing interesting facts with guests.
Kagga Kamma does not have any captive snakes but should Nicholas find a snake on the resort he will show it to interested guests before releasing it away from the resort. A variety of snakes can also be seen on our guided tours. Get to know these fascinating creatures better in a completely safe environment.
Reptiles and Amphibians that are endemic to the Cederberg include:
• Armadillo lizard
• Southern Speckled Padloper (rare)
• Berg Adder
• Puff Adder
• Black Spitting Cobra
• Banded stream frog
• Delalande's Sand frog
• Karoo Toad
• Raucous Toad
• Tradouw Mountain Toad
The area's apex predators are the felids Leopard (Panthera pardus) and Caracal (Caracal caracal). Other mammals include the Rock Hyrax (Procavia capensis) or "dassie", Meerkats (Suricata suricatta) and other mongooses (Herpestidae), larger antelopes (e.g.Bontebok Damaliscus pygargus dorcas and Gemsbok Oryx gazella), the vulnerable Cape Mountain Zebra (Equus zebra zebra), and Chacma Baboons (Papio ursinus). There are also many birds, small mammals, reptiles and insects.
The N1 begins in central Cape Town at the northern end of Buitengracht Street outside the entrance to the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront. The first section of the N1 is shared with the beginning of the N2; it is a four-lane elevated freeway that runs along a strip of land between the city centre and the Port of Cape Town. On the eastern edge of the city centre the two roads split, and the N1 turns east as Table Bay Boulevard, passing the Ysterplaat Air Force Base and Century City before the N7 intersects it on its own way out of the city towards Namibia. Major improvements have been made to the Koeberg Interchange, where the N1 meets the M5, one of the main arterial routes linking Milnerton with the Southern Suburbs.
The N1 then heads through the suburbs of Goodwood and Bellville, where the R300 terminates at it, before heading towards Paarl. At Paarl, the freeway ends, and the N1 is tolled as it passes through the Huguenot Tunnel running underneath the Du Toitskloof Mountains; the tunnel was opened in the late 1980s to replace the old Du Toitskloof Pass running over the mountain. After emerging from the tunnel, the N1 winds through the Molenaar River Valley (which is a short dual carriageway section) before emerging from the valley and heading towards Worcester. From Worcester, the route heads through the Hex River Valley and then enters the Karoo by ascending the Hex River Pass.
Currently only the section of the N1 passing through the Huguenot Tunnel is tolled, although there are plans to toll the N1 from the junction with the R300, roughly to De Doorns. This would allow for upgrading of the N1, most especially the opening and construction of the Northern Bore of the Huguenot Tunnel so that two lanes of traffic could pass in each direction through the tunnel, and the building of grade separated junctions along the N1 through Worcester. Although the town is bypassed, there are a number of traffic lights on the N1 through Worcester.
The Route To Kagga Kamma
From Cape Town: Take the N1 North, at Worcester turn off to Ceres. In Ceres follow the directions to P.A. Hamlet and Citrusdal. After passing through P.A. Hamlet and Gydo pass, turn right at "Kagga Kamma" sign just after the small town called "Op-die-Berg". Turn right at the next "Kagga Kamma" sign after about 18km.
From here it is gravel road. Turn left at "Kagga Kamma" sign after 19km. You will arrive at the entrance gate of Kagga Kamma after 15km
The Huguenot Tunnel is a toll tunnel near Cape Town, South Africa. It extends the N1 national road through the Du Toitskloof mountains that separate Paarl from Worcester, providing a route that is safer, faster (between 15 and 26 minutes) and shorter (by 11 km) than the old Du Toitskloof Pass travelling over the mountain.
Geological surveys and design started in 1973, and excavation followed in 1984, tunneling from both ends using drilling and blasting. The two drilling heads met with an error of only 3 mm over its entire 3.9 km length. The tunnel was finally opened on 18 March 1988.
Currently the tunnel carries one lane of traffic in each direction. Plans are underway to open a second unfinished tunnel, the "northern bore", to carry eastbound traffic. This will allow for two lanes of traffic in each direction, with each tunnel carrying traffic in one direction only.
In 2002, traffic peaks occurred during Easter (a record on 26 April 18 200 vehicles) and the December school holidays (12 000 vehicles per day).The tunnel is maintained by Tolcon, a subsidiary of the Murray & Roberts construction company.
The tunnel was constructed by Hochtief Construction AG and Concor Holdings.
The toll as proclaimed in 7 March 2013 was (in South African Rand):
Light Vehicles: R 30.00
2-axle heavy vehicles: R 79.00
3 and 4-axle heavy vehicles: R 124.00
5 and more-axle heavy vehicles: R 201.00
The tunnel has 13 video cameras that feed into an automatic incident detection system, which can sound alarm devices for any of the following conditions:
Ceres is the administrative centre and largest town of the Witzenberg Local Municipality in the Western Cape Province of South Africa. Ceres serves as a regional centre for the surrounding towns of Wolseley, Tulbagh, Op-die-Berg and Prince Alfred Hamlet. It is situated in the Warmbokkeveld (Afrikaans: "warm antelope field") Valley about 170 km north-east of Cape Town. Ceres is located at the north-eastern entrance to Mitchell's Pass and was the old route north between Cape Town and Johannesburg, which was later replaced by the N1 highway, which traverses the Breede River Valley to the south.
It was named after the Roman goddess of agriculture, Ceres, a name which is fitting as the valley in which the town is situated is extremely fertile and is a major producer of South Africa's deciduous fruit.
Geography & climate Ceres experiences a typical Mediterranean climate tempered by its altitude. The town experiences warmer temperatures in summer, due to its inland location with infrequent rainfall, however winters are cool to quite cold and wet, with frequent snowfalls on the surrounding higher-lying ground, rarely falling on the valley floor itself. Total annual precipitation averages 1088mm, with average temperatures ranging from a February maximum of 29,9°C to a July minimum of 2,4°C.
The Warmbokkeveld is climatically warmer than the surrounding highlands, which is known as the Kouebokkeveld ("cold antelope field"), with the latter often experiencing snowfalls in winter.
Ceres is well known for fruit juices exported worldwide bearing the town's name. It is also famous locally for winter snow and cherries: Cape Town residents flock to the town during winter to ski or simply play in the powder something of a rarity for the otherwise mild climate they are used to whilst in summer, people come to pick cherries at the "Klondyke" farm.
South Africa is one of the most stable parts of the world in seismic terms but on the 29th of September 1969 a massive shock shook the district without warning. The epicentre of the quake was on a major local structure called the Worcester fault, which had clearly been geologically active in the distant past but had not moved in over three hundred years of recorded history. Ceres was affected badly. Many old Cape Dutch buildings were damaged and some lives were lost. The quake was strong enough to knock plaster off walls in Cape Town, a hundred miles (160 kilometers) away.
Famous people De Wet Barry - Rugby union player, Springbok
Christiaan Barnard -- first surgeon to perform a successful human-to-human heart transplant operation spent the early years of his medical practice in Ceres.
Angelo G Fredericks - Teacher and researcher
Henry Francis Maltby - Writer and playwright
Raymond Herman Mordt - Rugby union player, Springbok
Simon Rademan - Fashion designer and stylist
Breyton Paulse - Springbok rugby player
Ernst Joubert - Rugby player
Ernst van Dyk - Wheelchair racer
Elton Fortuin - Academic and researcher
Witzenberg Municipality is a local municipality located within the Cape Winelands District Municipality, in the Western Cape province of South Africa. As of 2011 it had a population of 115,946.
The municipality covers an area of 10,753 square kilometres (4,152 sq mi) which includes the Land van Waveren (Tulbagh) valley, the Warm Bokkeveld, the Koue Bokkeveld and the Ceres-Karoo.
It stretches from the Groot Winterhoek Mountains in the west and the Hex River Mountains in the south as far as the Northern Cape provincial border in the north and east. It abuts on the Hantam Municipality to the north, the Karoo Hoogland Municipality to the northeast, the Laingsburg Municipality to the southeast, the Breede Valley Municipality to the south, the Drakenstein Municipality to the southwest, the Bergrivier Municipality to the west and the Cederberg Municipality to the northwest.
According to the 2011 census the municipality has a population of 115,946 people in 27,419 households. Of this population, 65.9% describe themselves as "Coloured", 25.3% as "Black African", and 7.7% as "White". The first language of 75.2% of the population is Afrikaans, while 16.6% speak Xhosa, 4.5% speak Sotho and 2.0% speak English.
The principal town and location of the municipal head office is Ceres on the eastern slope of the Skurweberg mountains, which as of 2011 has a population of 33,224.To the west of Ceres, on the other side of the mountains, is the Land van Waveren valley with the towns of Wolseley (pop. 12,130) and Tulbagh (pop. 8,969)0 To the north of Ceres is the town of Prince Alfred Hamlet (pop. 6,810), and further north, in the Koue Bokkeveld, the village of Op-die-Berg (pop. 1,531)
Cederberg Mointain Range
The Cederberg mountains extend about 50 km north-south by 20 km east-west. They are bordered on the west by the Sandveld, the north by the Pakhuis Mountains, the east by the Springbok flats and the south by the Kouebokkeveld Mountains and the Skurweberge. The main access road, the N7, runs to the west of the range. The nearest towns are Citrusdal to the southwest and Clanwilliam to the north. The area is sparsely populated.
There are several notable mountains in the range, including Sneeuberg (2026 m) and Tafelberg (1969 m). Tafelberg (Afrikaans for "Table Mountain") should not be confused with the Table Mountain in Cape Town. Notable landmarks include the Maltese Cross, Wolfberg Arch and Wolfberg Cracks.
The dominating characteristic of the area is sharply defined sandstone rock formations (Table Mountain group), often reddish in colour. This group of rocks contains bands of shale and in recent years a few important fossils have been discovered in these argillaceous layers. The fossils are of primitive fish and date back 450 million years to the Ordovician Period.
The summers are very hot and dry, while the winters are wetter and cold with typical annual rainfall in the low lying areas of less than 700 mm. The higher peaks receive a dusting of snow in winter. Summer days are typically clear and cloudless. Due to the clear skies most of the year, it makes an excellent site for skywatching and has its own amateur observatory.
Gydo Pass The Gydo Pass was built at the same time as Michells Pass by Andrew Geddes Bain and his team of convict labourers. This important pass connected the Warm Bokkeveld with the higher altitude Koue Bokkeveld, as well as the remote, but fertile (and therefore lucrative) Witzenberg Valley a few kilometers west of the head of the pass. The pass was completed in 1848. Translated from the indigenous and ancient Khoi language, 'gydo', means 'steep passage'. There are other references to the origins of the name "Gydo" which suggest that the name is derived from the Euphorbia plant which grows on the slopes of the Skurweberg nearby.
The small village of Prince Alfred Hamlet lies at the foot of the pass. Some years ago this pass was utilised for vehicle hill-climb racing, which was enormously popular, attracting large crowds. Inevitably, a spectator was seriously injured which put an end to the spectacle. The event was known as "King of the Mountains" and the last disastrous race took place in 2008, much to the dismay of local motor racing fans.
The pass provides magnificent scenery as it twists and turns through every angle of the compass on its way up to the Koue Bokkeveld and the hamlet of Op-die-Berg, which is another 25 km past the head of the pass. The pass is usually closed to traffic a couple of times during winter when snowfalls make the pass impassable. The town of Ceres virtually comes to a standstill when the first winter snow storms arrive, as thousands of city folk descend on the little town to enjoy the snow - for many it is a first time event in their lives!
If the snow falls just before a weekend, things can get quite chaotic with gridlocked traffic stretching back as far as the foot of Michells Pass in the south - some 10 kms out of town. There are a number of passes that lead into the beautiful Ceres Valley, besides the Gydo Pass. To the south there is Michells Pass; to the north - Theronsberg Pass - which takes traffic back to the N1 and Sutherland and finally the Swaarmoed Pass, which lies to the north-east of the town, which rises up the mighty Matroosberg Peak and accesses some lovely farms like Klondike Cherry farm and the well known Matroosberg 4x4 route up into the snowfields.
The town is aptly named after the Roman goddess of Agriculture. The name is synonomous with fruit juice and the valley provides the bulk of the South African market with Ceres fruit juice products. There are many other crops grown there including vast plantations of onions on the upper pateau (Koue Bokkeveld) as well as some excellent vineyards.
Michells Pass Mitchell's Pass is a mountain pass in the Western Cape province of South Africa which approaches the town of Ceres from the south-west, connecting it to Tulbagh, Worcester and the Breede River Valley. The pass is traversed by the R46 road and the (now closed) Ceres branch line railway. From its western entrance near Wolseley the pass ascends 190 metres (620 ft) to the summit at an elevation of 490 metres (1,610 ft), before descending a short distance into Ceres.
The pass was planned by Charles Collier Michell, Surveyor-General of the Cape Colony, for whom it was named. It was constructed in 1848 by Andrew Geddes Bain. A railway line through the pass was constructed from 1910 to 1912. In 1938 the road was widened and concreted.
Prince Alfred Hamlet
Prince Alfred Hamlet is a small town in the Western Cape province of South Africa.It was founded by Johannes Cornelis Goosen, who was born in the Klein Drakenstein and came to the Warm Bokkeveld as a young farmer.
In March 1851 Goosen bought the farm Wagenbooms Rivier from George Sebastiaan Wolfaardt at the “fantastic” price of £6 000. Ten years later he measured out first 80 and then another 10 plots and sold them for £6 000 each. These plots had water rights and each owner also received one morgen of land to cultivate in the Bakoven River to grow feed for their animals.
While Goosen was busy measuring out his plots, Queen Victoria's son Prince Alfred visited the Cape Colony.Goosen decided to name the new town after the Prince and so the name Prince Alfred Hamlet was born.
In 1861 the first school was established with 42 pupils under the tutorship of Master Strobos. The building, a temporary construction, was known as the “House on Sticks”. In 1871 the “House on Sticks” was demolished when a permanent building became available. It was also used as the church.
In 1906 the Prince Alfred Hamlet members of the Ceres Dutch Reformed Church decided to build their own church. D.G. Roux laid the cornerstone on 5 May 1906. Each member had to help by donating a delivery of the stones and each family bought its own pew. In 1926 a parsonage was built so that a full-time minister could be appointed to serve this congregation. On 5 November 1954 they broke away from Ceres “Mother” Church and Rev. I.B. Fourie took up the position of minister of the independent parish. On 25 April 1964 Fourie laid the cornerstone of the new church. The new building was opened on 14 and 15 November and the old building was converted into a hall.
A Dutch Reformed Mission Church, i.e. a separate church for Coloured people, was established in 1965 and a church was built. The first minister was J. Marais. This church, as well as many other old houses, did not survive the earthquake of 1969.On the10 April 1929 Prince Alfred Hamlet got its own train station.The Minister of Railways, W.C. Malan, applied the last bolt to the line before the train, filled with school children, left Ceres for the ceremony at Hamlet.
A Town Council was inaugurated on 8 December 1874 and on 28 December 1910 the town was given the status of Municipality under the Municipality Law of 1882. In 1926 a Town Hall was built and in 1979 the offices next to it were added. The Hamlet Country Hotel is the oldest business still in operation. Part of the building was constructed in the 19th century and since 1940 the Kahn family has run it.
Op Die Berg
Op-die-Berg is a settlement in the Cape Winelands District Municpality in the Western Cape province of South Africa.It is located north of Ceres in the Kouebokkeveld region, synonymous with cherry orchards and occasional heavy snowfalls in winter.
The Swartruggens is a mountainous area between the Koue Bokkeveld and the arid Ceres Karoo. The conservancy obtained funding from the Department of Water Affairs to improve the management of groundwater in the area, in particular to cap a leaking artesian borehole drilled into the flank of the Swartrug by the Provincial Roads Department.
Other project objectives were to install a network of weather stations and monitor climate change. In addition, important springs were identified, protected and together with boreholes, used as groundwater monitoring points.
Kastbakkies Pass The decisively steep Katbakkies Pass traces over what was once an old sheep-trekking route over the mountain. It joins the Koue Bokkeveld with the Ceres Karoo. It was recently tarred and although fairly short, it has a serious gradient of 1/13 which will tax many an underpowered vehicle. The pass is frequently covered in snow during winter as the snow line of 1000m ASL is well below this pass's maximum altitude. It's a narrow road so take it slow and enjoy the spectacular barren landscape.
The pass starts at the single lane bridge over the Riet River and immediately starts climbing up the foothill of the mountain looming ahead. After a kilometer it turns towards the right into a very stiff climb of 1:5 - enough to sap the power from all but the most powerful engines. The elevation gain is 282 meters on the ascent producing a gradient of 1:8,8 - making it one of the steepest passes in South Africa. The total length of the pass is 3,38 kms. Dramatic views open up to the west over some rugged and starkly beautiful landscape. There are two well constructed view sites where one can stop safely and soak up the primodial scene of ancient landscapes.
The oddly named Katbakkies translates into "Cat's Face" and there is an unverified story that one of the cliffs along the road resembles the face of a cat. About three-quarter of the way up, the road turns abruptly to the north-east and rises through a narrow poort. Here there is a plaque cemented into the face of a large rock on the northern side of the road, edifying the vital statistics and history of the pass. With a summit height at a lofty 1200 meters above sea level, the entire pass is often covered in a mantle of snow in winter. The original path over the mountain and kloof was a Khoi path for their livestock and later became a route followed by local farmers in the 1800's. The pass was tarred in 2011, making it much safer in the winter months.
Birdwatchers have been known to mistakenly call Peerboomskloof 'Katbakkies'. Katbakkies Pass, however, lies further to the west, and is joined to Peerboomskloof by a rugged plateau. To all intents and purposes they are one long pass joined together by a high altitude plateau. The scenery is spectacularly rugged and barren and at times resembles an almost lunar landscape.
The entire drive is enjoyable, wild and remote and includes sections of gravel road. Only the two passes themselves have been tarred, but the road has retained it's original line and it's stiff gradients. It is fairly narrow along it's entire length and there were no road markings at the time of filming. At the eastern end of the Peerboomskloof (or Skittery) Pass, the road joins the main gravel road to Sutherland and the amazing Tankwa Karoo.
A trip from Cape Town to Sutherland or the Tankwa Karoo can be driven along this route including several beautiful passes - like Bains Kloof, Michells Pass, Gydo Pass, Katbakkies and Peerboomskloof Pass. It is definitely longer and slower than the N1 but the rewards are infinitely richer