Indigenous forest, mountain fynbos and rare birds make Boosmansbos a hiker’s paradise
Boosmansbos Wilderness Area, next to the Grootvadersbosch Nature Reserve in the Langeberg Mountains, boasts dramatic mountainous terrain, wild indigenous forests, lush mountain fynbos and almost exclusive access for visitors wanting to explore the wilderness. Boosmansbos was proclaimed a wilderness area in 1978 to protect the area’s indigenous forest, including yellowwood, stinkwood, white and red alder, beech and candlewood. It is also a World Heritage Site, as it falls within the Cape Floral Kingdom and is home to several rare erica species, such as erica blenna, erica langebergensis and erica barrydalensis.
This is an exclusive hiking destination and advance bookings are essential, as only 12 hikers a day are allowed on the 64km of marked trails traversing the conservancy’s 14 200 hectares. Hikers pass through fragrant mountain fynbos, beautiful proteas and ericas before descending into the kloofs and the shade of the forest canopy. Look out for a variety of buck, mongoose and genet. Shy leopards seldom make an appearance. This is a birder’s paradise with nearly 200 species regularly spotted, including eagles and the double-collared sunbird.
How to get there
From Cape Town: Take the N2 from Cape Town towards George. Just past Swellendam and Buffelsjag River, take the left-hand turn-off for Suurbraak/Barrydale. Turn left and continue through the town of Suurbraak and past the turn-off for Barrydale via Tradouwpass. The tar road becomes a dirt road. Continue till a T-junction, turn left and keep left at the next fork in the road. Follow the signs for the Grootvadersbosch Nature Reserve. The road ends at the entrance gates to the reserve; enquire at the office for directions to Boosmansbos.
GPS: 33 56 9.50 S 20 52 46.25 E
Office hours: 07:00–16:00
Tel: +27 (0)28 722 2412
Accommodation and permit bookings Tel: +27 (0)21 483 0190
So... in for something different we set out on the Boosmansbos 3 day hike. We enjoyed a jolly start: up Loerklip; overnight at the Helderfontein huts, so far so good, abundant water from the rain 3 days earlier and a trail that was hard to loose. Ideal hiking weather in the winter sun. Battered by the Groot Winterhoek Wilderness, we then opted for the route less travelled: up Grootberg, onwards to Horingberg. That's when the fun started. Less talking, more walking., ehhh scrambling through dense thickets, battling to hold a bearing, The lady at reception (who admittedly had never been up here herself) had predicted plenty water and some budu bashing but for large parts, the trail has vanished due to it being unwalked: one inevitably looses it in the shoulder-high fynbos on the already steep slopes after rounding Grootberg. A challange for shins and ankles. No trail for hours, no water since we'd left the huts, and a setting sun: we weighed our chances. Against the gradient right up the peak marked 1331m on the map to confirm our position. Water down to 750 ml between the 2 of us. Pitched our tent, ran through scenarios for the next day. Savoured those 2 remaining grapefruits to be even more water savvy. Rose with sunrise, found a track (on the other side of the ridge than is indicated on the map), descended to the spot marked 'suggested campsite' that we'd planned on the night before, and then the liberating sound... trickling water. Lost the trail again, missioned straight up the Horingberg, discerned a path further down, and paced it back to Grootvadersbosch, where we could unwind in the comfort of the Scolopia cottage shortly before sunset (thanks to that farmer that took us the last km's). It had been a 10 hour day. Stunning vistas of the Cape folds and in hindsight the most wicked camp spot for sunset and sunrise, but we got more than we'd bargained for. Bring your stamina. More water still. And a proper map (1:10.000).
How do you want to get involved?
Bookings are processed through our Call Centre during office hours Monday to Friday 07h30 to 16h30 and Saturday 08h00 until 12h00 noon (CAT).
Our friendly tourism booking officers will take you through the booking process and answer all enquiries.