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Browsing: Eastern Cape

“Okay, so which way from here, my lovely,” I asked my fiancé-cum-co-pilot. In truth, without a map between us and little in the way of intelligible signboards en route, this was not a question Annette could’ve been expected to answer. I was merely trying to get a rise out of her as a she was still a little put out from not being able to shower earlier that morning — the donkey boiler water which I’d stoked for ages, and nearly asphyxiated both of us in the process, was deemed not hot enough. We were on the first of the

“Perhaps we should have done the easier Red Cone Farm route, after all,” I told my fiancée, Annette, as my furrowed brow channelled rivulets of sweat down my temples. Although Ferndale Farm’s Circle Road North route had already provided us with a fair number of Grade 3 challenges in the form of a large boulder crossing and some axle-twisting ruts, plus the odd 35° ascent and numerous narrow roads riding atop precipitous cliff-faces, we had until then been comfortable that our trusty Mazda BT-50 would not fail us on this route; especially as we’d had the more aggressively-patterned Dunlop AT3

In the dark days of apartheid, banned daily Despatch editor Donald Woods made for the Tele Bridge border post on New Year’s Eve in 1977. Disguised as an Irish Catholic priest, Woods, with the help of an Australian diplomat and an ex-security-policeman, managed to cross the border successfully; and when his family joined him later, they all flew to London. THE TIFFINDELL SUMMER EXPERIENCE Although the resort appears to be run by a skeleton staff in summer, and a number of its facilities are closed during this time, guests will still be well looked after in centrally-heated and serviced accommodation. 

When you’ve just completed the five highest passes in South Africa, and been bombarded with jaw-dropping views over svelte mountain scenery for three days, your expectations on reaching a relatively unknown 4×4 track venue near the small town of Sterkstroom are understandably tempered. But how wrong assumptions can be. It was while gazing mindlessly at the rising slopes of the Bamboesberg in front of our converted barn cottage that I caught my first glimpse of the 4×4 track that my co-pilot, Harvey Tyson, and I were to tackle the next day. I only noticed the route when I chanced to

When thinking about 4×4 challenges in the Eastern Cape, the Baviaanskloof first comes to mind. Everyone makes this a bucket list tick, but if you are in this part of the Karoo for longer, what else is there? Having headed inland after an Eastern Cape coastal escape, we decided on a detour toWillowmore where one of the attractions is called Finchley Farm: a working sheep farm with two historic guest cottages and a rustic campsite nestled amongst the acacias, just below a spectacular dam. It’s a basic and unpretentious sort of campsite. Electricity is only on demand, the sites are

Bucklands is about 47 km from the pleasant Karoo town of Steytlerville. If you are looking for “a road less travelled” this is it! Early pioneers and hunters who came up from the Cape in their wagons frequented this historical region, which forms the southern reaches of the Plains of Camdeboo. They came in search of a new life and “white gold” – ivory. They established farms in the valley flanked by the Baviaans and Grootrivier Hoogte that you can visit today. The climate is typically Karoo – dry and healthy with hot days and cold nights. Bucklands is a

Like Sani Pass in Lesotho, or the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park further west, Baviaanskloof is somewhat of a rite of passage for any South African 4×4 enthusiast. The protected nature reserve is home to one of South Africa’s most diverse biomes of flora and fauna, thanks to rivers that flow year-round, and large altitude changes. But if – like us and many more overlanding locals – you’ve been through the Baviaans main drag and are in search of a new adventure in this spectacular part of the hidden country, then there is an alternative. Enter Doringkloof 4×4. Words & Pictures by

Back in 2012, while on a quest to drive the eight passes of the Eastern Cape, SA4x4 was warned off trying to tackle the Baster Voetpad which links the Barkly Pass to Ugie. Locals felt that the BMW X6 we were driving at the time would not make the arduous, 35km-long mountainous route. As we don’t like to leave loose ends, it has been our goal to return and complete what was started; and General Motors recently stepped up to the plate and offered the spanking new Chevrolet Trailblazer Z71 4×4 AT for the trip. Sporting a new face, upgraded

‘A getaway best reserved for a long weekend in nature’s splendour.’ Yes, it sounds like a flowery brochure, but it’s true of Bosch Luys Kloof, a private nature reserve nestled in the middle of the Seweweekspoort Karoo area, adjacent to Die Hel. Bosch Luys Kloof does not market itself as a 4×4 destination; however, my best praise would be to say that the management of the reserve is being extremely modest about their beautiful routes. The three 4×4 trails on offer dish up enough excitement for hardened 4×4 enthusiasts, while also intriguing nature lovers and history buffs alike. Though some

The Eastern Cape is chock-full of 4×4 routes, and you don’t even need to stray far from the major towns to drive them. In our case, we decided to visit Off-Camber Adventures, an outfit sited just 40km from Port Elizabeth in the Elands River Valley. With a name like ‘Off-Camber,’ you already know what to expect – this place isn’t a walk in the park. Cutting through dense indigenous undergrowth, the various rough trails on the property head up and down the Elands River valley with no thought for your easy passage. Delve deeper, and there is ample evidence that

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