Gamkaberg, Anysberg, Grootvadersbosch … say what?!

Three nature reserves, reasonably close together, and all with tongue-twister names … Gamkaberg, Anysberg, Grootvadersbosch. Lion, anise, grandfather … that’s how the foreign-sounding bits translate from Khoi, Afrikaans and Dutch. When you mention these places to anyone, most look at you with head cocked and ask: “Really? Where are they?”

Um, the Little Karoo and the Langeberg near Heidelberg, if you want to know. And if you like hiking, birding, bumping over 4×4 trails, this is a good start. Accommodation is mainly rustic but very comfortable, most importantly offering porous boundaries between you and nature. Dusk and dawn vibrate with trills and quavers and tweets; glimpses of bushbuck nibbling outside your window are thrilling; rugged mountains glow like burnished copper with the sinking sun.


Gamkaberg, with its charming tented camps, gives you hikes and a highly enjoyable 4×4 trail; at Anysberg, staying in renovated labourer’s houses, the hikes aren’t formalised but there are plenty of Jeep tracks to walk, while horse riding and stargazing have been added to the mix, 4×4 route included; Grootvadersbosch, offering lovely modern wood cabins, is for walkers only but the terrain is varied — open fynbos, fern and lichen-filled forest, and a grove of exotic Californian redwoods. Campers, you will find suitable facilities at all three nature reserves.

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