Accommodation

Self-catering

  • Sweetthorn Eco Lodge

    Number of people it sleeps: 6
    Bedding provided: Yes
    Towels provided: Yes
    Electricity: Solar and gas
    Kitchen equipped: Gas
    Braai facilities: Outside with grid available
    Bathroom equipped: Solar and gas heated shower
    Disabled access: No

  • Fossil Ridge Eco Lodge

    Number of people it sleeps: 4
    Bedding provided: Yes
    Towels provided: Yes
    Electricity: Solar and gas
    Kitchen equipped: Appliances are gas
    Braai facilities: outside with grid available
    Bathroom equipped: Solar and gas heated Shower
    Disabled access: No

  • Tierkloof Eco Lodge

    Number of people it sleeps: 8

    Bedding provided: Yes

    Towels provided: Yes

    Electricity: Solar and gas

    Kitchen equipped: Appliances are gas

    Braai facilities: Outside with grid available

    Bathroom equipped: Gas heated shower

    Disabled access: Only with assistance

     

Camping

  • Ou Kraal

    Ou Kraal has recently been upgraded, with four new herders huts, and an Enviro-loo toilet on site. Each hut sleeps two hikers in two single beds with mattresses, with a shelf around the interior for bags and belongings. Ou Kraal is an opportunity for hikers, or those with a 4×4, to experience a night in the heart of the Gamkaberg.

    Number of units: Four. Ou Kraal sleeps up to 8 people, accommodating two in each hut

    Electricity: No

    Ablution facilities: Toilet and a basin

    Braai facilities: outside, with grid available

    Disabled access: No

    What we provide:
    Braaigrid (wood provided on request for hikers only)
    Enviro loo (waterless toilet)
    Water tank with rain water (use sparingly)
    Three-legged Pot (No 3)
    Two beds in each Herders hut with mattresses

    What you need to bring:
    Lighting & wood
    Warm clothes (temperatures may drop rapidly)
    Drinking water, cutlery to prepare and eat meals
    Bedding and towels
    Torch

    Services available at Reserve:
    Selling of firewood – available at the reserve office

  • Stables

    Number of rooms: 2 rooms sleeping 4 people in each on bunk beds

    Electricity: yes

    Ablution facilities: heated shower (electricity) and standard toilets

    Braai facilities: outside, with grid available)

    Disabled access: No

  • Gamkaberg Campsite

    Number of campsites: 2 with a maximum of 4 people per site
    Electricity: no
    Ablution facilities: heated shower (electricity)
    Braai facilities: Outside, with grid available
    Disabled access: No

Gamkaberg Nature Reserve

Gamkaberg: where the lion retreated, so humanity might prosper

Number of people it sleeps: 8

Bedding provided: Yes

Towels provided: Yes

Electricity: Solar and gas

Kitchen equipped: Appliances are gas

Braai facilities: Outside with grid available

Bathroom equipped: Gas heated shower

Disabled access: Only with assistance

 

Activities

  • Picnicking

    There is a picnicking area situated under a thatch lapa that is available to day visitors, where you can relax and soak in the unique atmosphere of the Klein Karoo after your hike or 4×4 excursion.

    A small braai is also available for use.

  • Wildlife Watching

    Gamkaberg was established to protect a small, remnant herd of Cape Mountain Zebra. From just five in 1976, there are now between 40 and 50 at the reserve, making Gamkaberg a unique area for Wildlife Watching.

    There are also many species of buck, along with a variety of other wildlife, that can be viewed in the reserve, either via the hiking trail, or on the 4×4 trail.

  • Birdwatching

    An abundance of birds inhabit the Klein Karoo region, and many of them can be found in Gamkaberg Nature Reserve.

    Download the Klein Karoo bird list here.

  • Hiking and Walking

    Day Walks

    The hiking trails on offer at Gamkaberg give you the chance to experience some spectacular viewpoints and natural tranquility within the reserve. Hikers have several options including the overnight Tierkloof Hiking Trail and should be prepared for some fairly rough terrain. When hiking at Gamkaberg, always be prepared for unpredictable weather as the area experiences high temperatures in summer and gets very cold in winter.

    Permits may be purchased for R40 per adult and R20 per child at the reserve office or bookings can be made via CapeNature Central Reservations office.

    The Klein Karoo falls within the Cape Floral Kingdom and is one of the botanical wonders of the world. It harbours five biomes, namely:

    • Renosterveld,
    • Afromontane forest,
    • Fynbos,
    • Succulent karoo, and
    • Subtropical thicket

    The Gamkaberg day trails take you through the succulent karoo and subtropical thicket.

    Download the Gamkaberg Bossie Identification Guide (pdf) for a map of the day trails and a list of the common species you may encounter.

    Bossie Trail Poster - Gamkaberg Nature Reserve

    Guarrie Trail

    Trail distance:  0.7km
    Estimated time: 20 min

    This short trail takes one through the lowland succulent karoo vegetation. The 20 most common and interesting plant species are demarcated for ID purposes and interpretation is provided in the info brochure.

    Trail Preparation: Do not hike alone. Wear comfortable walking shoes, sunscreen and a hat. Make sure to carry sufficient food, water and take along your binoculars. Permits are to be purchased via CapeNature Central Reservations or reserve office. In winter, a raincoat/pancho is advised.

     

    Spekboom Trail

    Trail distance:  1.3km
    Estimated time: 30 min

    This trail branches off the Guarrie trail and takes you higher up onto the foothills into the spekboomveld. It offers a wonderful view of the Klein Karoo vlaktes as well as the Swartberg Range in the distance. The 20 most common and interesting plant species are demarcated.

    Trail Preparation: Do not hike alone. Wear comfortable walking shoes, sunscreen and a hat. Make sure to carry sufficient food, water and take along your binoculars. Permits are to be purchased via CapeNature Central Reservations or reserve office. In winter, a raincoat/pancho is advised.

    Mousebird Trail          

    Trail distance:  2.5km
    Estimated time: 1.5hrs

    This trail takes you mainly through the Sweet thorn thicket along the valley bottom. It’s a great trail for observing the wide variety of bush birds which occur on Gamkaberg. (Bird list provided in the info brochure). The 20 most common and interesting plant species are demarcated.

    Trail Preparation: Do not hike alone. Wear comfortable walking shoes, sunscreen and a hat. Make sure to carry sufficient food, water and take along your binoculars. Permits are to be purchased via CapeNature Central Reservations or reserve office. In winter, a raincoat/pancho is advised.

    Pied Barbet

    Trail distance:  4.1km
    Estimated time: 2.5hrs

    Acacia Pied Barbets are often seen and heard along this trail. It branches off from the Mousebird trail and continues further up in the sweet thorn thicket along the valley bottom. Returning at a higher level through the spekboom veld it allows one a view over the sweet thorn treetops. Also great for birding but offering a glimpse into the Tierkloof Ravine where the real wilderness starts.

    An option is to branch off into the Tierkloof for a km or two, as your time or fitness levels dictate, just to experience the change in surroundings as the high cliffs on either side with forest vegetation in the valley bottom makes an appearance. Just turn back and join up with the Pied Barbet trail when you have taken in the pristine views.

    Trail Preparation: Do not hike alone. Wear comfortable walking shoes, sunscreen and a hat. Make sure to carry sufficient food, water and take along your binoculars. Permits are to be purchased via CapeNature Central Reservations or reserve office. In winter, a raincoat/pancho is advised.

    To Overhang and Back          

    Trail distance:  14.4km
    Estimated time: 6hrs

    This trail is highly recommended for those with a bit of extra time and fitness levels.  It covers the two longer day trails (Mousebird and Pied Barbet) as well as the continuing deep into the Tierkloof which has remnants of evergreen forest vegetation below spectacular sheer sandstone cliffs all along the way. At the overhang you can have a picnic and a rest while looking over the dense vegetation further up the ravine before turning around to complete the route back to the start at the info centre.

    Trail Preparation: Do not hike alone. Wear comfortable walking shoes, sunscreen and a hat. Make sure to carry sufficient food, water and take along your binoculars. Permits are to be purchased via CapeNature Central Reservations or reserve office. In winter, a raincoat/pancho is advised.

    Multi-Day Hikes

    Tierkloof Hiking Trail Day 1    

    Trail distance:  13.2km
    Estimated time: 8hrs

    Tierkloof Hiking Trail Day 2     

    Trail distance:  11.6km
    Estimated time: 7hrs

    Starting in succulent karoo, this is a moderately strenuous trail taking hikers through a deep, forested ravine to a fynbos-rich mountain plateau. Here they overnight at the remote Oukraal camp and enjoy spectacular views of the Swartberg and Outeniqua mountain ranges.

    Trail Preparation: Do not hike alone. Wear comfortable walking shoes, sunscreen and a hat. Make sure to carry sufficient food, water and take along your binoculars. Permits are to be purchased via CapeNature Central Reservations or reserve office. In winter, a raincoat/pancho is advised.

  • Swimming

    Swimming is only permitted for guests staying at the eco lodges.

  • 4x4 Trails

    By bringing your 4×4 to the reserve you can access the plateau where most of the herd animals occur and enjoy what the Gamkaberg has to offer.

    4x4 Generic

    There are two 4 x 4 routes in the Gamkaberg Conservation Area.

    The Zebra Crossing 4×4 Route takes you on the Gamkaberg sector mainly through upland fynbos and renosterveld and offers you a chance to see rare Cape Mountain Zebra in its natural habitat. The route covers a large and rugged section of the reserve, taking you to and from spectacular viewpoints more than 1000m above the Little Karoo.

    The Kannaland 4×4 Route on the Groenefontein sector winds through the vlaktes and foothills where Succulent Karoo and sub-tropical thicket are the dominant vegetation types.

    The name “Kannaland” means the place where the Kanna plant grows. Kanna is a sprawling succulent belonging to the genus Mesembryanthemum. Since it was abundant in this area it was widely used by the early inhabitants (San and Khoikhoi) as a mood altering substance. The prepared, dried plant material was chewed, smoked or used as snuff to elevate mood, decrease anxiety and stress, as well as to reduce thirst and hunger, with no documented severe adverse effects.

    The main attraction of the 32 km route is the 40 000 ha of unspoilt landscape through which it takes you, making this a unique wilderness experience. The route is not technical and relatively easy to drive. There are a number of steep uphills and downhills, but all are on stable surfaces. (It can also be tackled by experienced mountain bikers.)

    The area covered by the route is an Arid Zone Flora Biodiversity Hot Spot, and prime conservation land has been bought up since 2002 by the WWFSA with funds donated by the Leslie Hill Succulent Karoo Trust.

    This makes the route a plant lover’s dream as many of the unique dwarf succulent plants which are characteristic of the succulent karoo biome can be seen along the way. Associated with the high diversity of habitats through which you travel is also a host of interesting birds. Although shy and seldom seen, interesting nocturnal mammals such as leopard, caracal, jackal, honey badger, aardwolf, aardvark, porcupine, spotted genet and striped polecat are often recorded on the remote camera traps used for research. Antelope that are commonly seen are klipspringer, kudu, eland, steenbok and duiker. Spectacular landscapes and geological formations make the route perfect for photographic expeditions and the peace and solitude is unequalled.

    The trip will take a minimum of 5 hours from the Gamkaberg visitor centre. You have to exit the reserve at the Gamkaberg main gate and re-enter the reserve at the start of the Kannaland route (30 km further on). There are two shaded but basic picnic/ braai spots on the route, Dou Karoo and Batis, with an open-air long drop toilet at Batis. There is no water along the way and you need to take your own firewood as you are not allowed to collect wood.

    This is an extremely sensitive environment and has thus previously not been open to the public. It is also for this reason that the route is open only to visitors using the overnight facilities on Gamkaberg. Visitors are reminded that under no circumstances may vehicles leave the track. There are no refuse bins along the track so please take all your refuse out with you.

    A maximum of three groups will be allowed on the route per day and this will be allowed on a first come first served basis.

    Do’s and Dont’s

    1. Stay on the track at all times.
    2. It is illegal to remove any plant, animal or rock from the property.
    3. Practice “leave no trace” principles and take all your refuse (to the smallest detail) out with you.
    4. The route is not technical but is unsuitable for low clearance 4×4 vehicles. It is graded 3 (i.e. low range and limited off road knowledge required).
    5. Remember to take your own water and braai wood.
    6. Fires are only permitted in the demarcated fire places at Doukaroo and Batis.
    7. Please respect the privacy of other people you encounter along the route.

    Bookings can be made through CapeNature’s booking office.

  • Tierkloof Hiking Trail

    Day 1

    Trail distance: 13.2km
    Estimated time: 8hrs

    Day 2

    Trail distance: 11.6km
    Estimated time: 7hrs

    Starting in succulent karoo, this is a moderately strenuous trail taking hikers through a deep, forested ravine to a fynbos-rich mountain plateau. Here they overnight at the remote Oukraal camp and enjoy spectacular views of the Swartberg and Outeniqua mountain ranges.

    Trail Preparation: Do not hike alone. Wear comfortable walking shoes, sunscreen and a hat. Make sure to carry sufficient food, water and take along your binoculars. Permits are to be purchased via CapeNature Central Reservations or reserve office. In winter, a raincoat/pancho is advised.

  • To Overhang and Back

    Trail distance: 14.4km
    Estimated time: 6hrs

    This trail is highly recommended for those with a bit of extra time and fitness levels.  It covers the two longer day trails (Mousebird and Pied Barbet) as well as the continuing deep into the Tierkloof which has remnants of evergreen forest vegetation below spectacular sheer sandstone cliffs all along the way. At the overhang you can have a picnic and a rest while looking over the dense vegetation further up the ravine before turning around to complete the route back to the start at the info centre.

    Trail Preparation: Do not hike alone. Wear comfortable walking shoes, sunscreen and a hat. Make sure to carry sufficient food, water and take along your binoculars. Permits are to be purchased via CapeNature Central Reservations or reserve office. In winter, a raincoat/pancho is advised.

  • Pied Barbet

    Trail distance: 4.1km
    Estimated time: 2.5hrs

    Acacia Pied Barbets are often seen and heard along this trail. It branches off from the Mousebird trail and continues further up in the sweet thorn thicket along the valley bottom. Returning at a higher level through the spekboom veld it allows one a view over the sweet thorn treetops. Also great for birding but offering a glimpse into the Tierkloof Ravine where the real wilderness starts.

    An option is to branch off into the Tierkloof for a km or two, as your time or fitness levels dictate, just to experience the change in surroundings as the high cliffs on either side with forest vegetation in the valley bottom makes an appearance. Just turn back and join up with the Pied Barbet trail when you have taken in the pristine views.

    Trail Preparation: Do not hike alone. Wear comfortable walking shoes, sunscreen and a hat. Make sure to carry sufficient food, water and take along your binoculars. Permits are to be purchased via CapeNature Central Reservations or reserve office. In winter, a raincoat/pancho is advised.

  • Mousebird Trail

    Trail distance: 2.5km
    Estimated time: 1.5hrs

    This trail takes you mainly through the Sweet thorn thicket along the valley bottom. It’s a great trail for observing the wide variety of bush birds which occur on Gamkaberg. (Bird list provided in the info brochure). The 20 most common and interesting plant species are demarcated.

    Trail Preparation: Do not hike alone. Wear comfortable walking shoes, sunscreen and a hat. Make sure to carry sufficient food, water and take along your binoculars. Permits are to be purchased via CapeNature Central Reservations or reserve office. In winter, a raincoat/pancho is advised.

  • Spekboom Trail

    Trail distance: 1.3km
    Estimated time: 30 min

    This trail branches off the Guarrie trail and takes you higher up onto the foothills into the spekboomveld. It offers a wonderful view of the Klein Karoo vlaktes as well as the Swartberg Range in the distance. The 20 most common and interesting plant species are demarcated.

    Trail Preparation: Do not hike alone. Wear comfortable walking shoes, sunscreen and a hat. Make sure to carry sufficient food, water and take along your binoculars. Permits are to be purchased via CapeNature Central Reservations or reserve office. In winter, a raincoat/pancho is advised.

  • Guarrie Trail

    Trail distance: 0.7km
    Estimated time: 20 min

    This short trail takes one through the lowland succulent karoo vegetation. The 20 most common and interesting plant species are demarcated for ID purposes and interpretation is provided in the info brochure.

    Trail Preparation: Do not hike alone. Wear comfortable walking shoes, sunscreen and a hat. Make sure to carry sufficient food, water and take along your binoculars. Permits are to be purchased via CapeNature Central Reservations or reserve office. In winter, a raincoat/pancho is advised.

Location

Conservation

Gamkaberg Conservation

The reserve was established in 1974 in order to conserve a local population of endangered Cape mountain zebra and their natural habitat. The terrain is rugged, with mountainous plateau incised by deep ravines. The main rock formations consist of Table Mountain quartzites and shales, and Bokkeveld sandstone and shales.

Situated within the Cape Floral Kingdom, which hosts one of the richest flora on earth, the reserve is of particular interest to botanists. Here, four of the South African biomes are represented, namely Fynbos, Succulent Karoo, Subtropical Thicket and Evergreen Forest. The best times of the year to visit are in Spring and Autumn but visits throughout the year can be rewarding.

The rare and endangered Cape mountain zebra, leopard and honey badger are some of the reserve’s fauna highlights. Other mammals include eland, kudu, red hartebeest, grysbok, grey rhebuck, klipspringer, duiker, steenbok, baboon, caracal, aardvark, aardwolf, black-backed jackal and numerous smaller species. The reserve is host to a wide variety of birds, reptiles and insects. Gamkaberg is also rich in Khoisan rock art and early marine invertebrate fossils.

Filming

Gamkaberg Filming

The Western Cape is world renowned as being able to offer almost every possible cinematic location imaginable. CapeNature offers film producers a wide selection of the most breathtaking landscapes including mountains, dams, waterfalls, rivers and roads.

The combination of fantastic weather and amazing light has resulted in the Western Cape becoming a major venue for local and international film, video and stills productions.

In addition to this The Cape Floral Region, the Western Cape is an evolutionary treasure chest, which, as a result of relatively stable conditions over millions of years, has managed to retain the gems of natural selection. In 2004, the Cape Floral Region Protected Areas was added to the prestigious list of World Heritage Sites.

Accessibility

  • Walking Stick friendly
  • Wheelchair friendly

8 Reviews

Great place for a walk

Cees Kramer, London, Mar 28, 2015 - Gamkaberg Nature Reserve

We were very impressed by Gamkaberg. A beautiful park, friendly and well informed staff, clean facilities, plus hardly anybody there. Which is both a blessing, and a bit of a shame as the park offers lovely walks which are very well signed and maintained. We were looking for a good place to walk whilst staying in Oudtshoorn, and found Gamkaberg almost by chance on the internet. It is ca 30 km away from Oudtshoorn and well worth the drive.

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Sublime

Barbara Ikin, Feb 4, 2015 - Gamkaberg Nature Reserve

We have visited Gamkaberg about 15 times in the last six years. This time we were a large group staying at Tierkloof, Soetdoring and the Stables. As usual it was comfortable, exciting, clean, spectacular - Gamkaberg truly remains one of the gems of Cape Nature. Congratulations to Tom and every one of his team.

Reply

12 remote camps and cottages around South Africa - Getaway Magazine, Nov 6, 2014 - Gamkaberg Nature Reserve

[…] restio reeds and delicate pink proteas line the road into the heights of Gamkaberg Nature Reserve. A steep ascent at the beginning of the hour-and-a-half drive from the gate sets the tone from the […]

Reply

The Stables and Camp Site

jackie anderson, Oct 27, 2014 - Gamkaberg Nature Reserve

Spending the weekend in Gamkaberg was so amazing. The facilities are the cleanest I have ever experienced. The staff must be commended for their high standard of service. Gamkaberg is the feather in CapeNature's cap and a secret gem of the Karoo.

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Gamkasberg

Kobus en Lizet van der Merwe, Oct 3, 2014 - Gamkaberg Nature Reserve

This is a beautiful tented camp. Very well planned and laid out for maximum privacy and soaking in the wonderful vegetation and golden hills. Very comfortable and environmentally friendly. Stay a few days to relax and to enjoy utter peace. Staff very helpful and ample opportunities for hiking and bird watching. Thanks Cape Nature!

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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.