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Baviaans Kloof the trip

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14 Apr 2021 @ 19:25:32 pm
George
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Patensie, got here about half past seven that morning and found a small shop that had coffee to have with our padkos breakfast. one thing soon becomes clear as you approach Patensie is that this is orange farm country, big time. Km apon km of orange trees with large pack houses is the order of the day.

two roads diverged in a wood and i took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.
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14 Apr 2021 @ 20:35:45 pm
George
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As you drive through Patensie and out the other side you exchange the tar road for a gravel road and you will be on that gravel road for the next 200 kms. About 5 kms on this road is the office where one has to buy permits, R51.00 per person. a further 18 kms along the road is the main gate where you flash your permit and they let you through. And if you think that first 18 kms stretch is rough , o boy you aint seen nothing yet.

Surprisingly from the entrance gate to the exit gate is only 60 kms [ we thought the reserve covered most of the trip ] however it took the best part of 6 hours to cover that distance which included only two mountain passes but  really big mountains. And that's where it gets a little hair raising, one car width tracks cut into the side of the mountain that wind and twist up the side at quite a gradient , always a sheer cliff face on your left and alway a sheer vertical drop on your right that looks like the abyss. 

With a little extra cut out on the 180 degree turns to allow two cars to pass , should two vehicles meet head on in between those extra cut aways i can only assume either one vehicle has to reverse up the mountain or one vehicle has to reverse down the mountain , i would not want to be the driver in either vehicle. fortunately we encountered no head on traffic [ phew ]. And to make things a little more interesting they have these huge " speed humps " at intervals running 45 degrees  across the " road " put there to channel of water when it rains. A vehicle with high ground clearance is a must here.

The decent of the second mountain is challenging to say the least as the gradient is quite steep , so much so that at some time in the past they attempted to lay two concrete strips down i assume to aid traction when coming up if one is coming from the other side. However they have broken up leaving large holes in between of what's left of the strips and again you are in between a cliff face and a cliff drop of, with not a lot of room for error on either side. 

we did not get any pics of those first passes as the focus on driving was quite intense and my wife wanted nothing to do with looking around , let alone taking pics,

 

two roads diverged in a wood and i took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.
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14 Apr 2021 @ 20:44:50 pm
George
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The two water crossings one at the bottom of each mountain, on the second one the bush almost closed the crossing all together, we had to stop, pick a sighter through the bush and stay on it untill the other side .

two roads diverged in a wood and i took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.
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14 Apr 2021 @ 20:51:35 pm
George
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Smitskraal, where we stopped for padkos lunch , this stop is a little before the reserve exit gate. you can see on the map board where we are and how much still to go. 

two roads diverged in a wood and i took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.
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14 Apr 2021 @ 21:10:58 pm
George
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the following pics where taken on the remainder of the trip outside the reserve on roads that went from  bad to very bad to is there even a road there. however road conditions did improve as the trip progressed.

two roads diverged in a wood and i took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.
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14 Apr 2021 @ 21:13:52 pm
George
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Relics of yesteryear found along the way

two roads diverged in a wood and i took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.
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14 Apr 2021 @ 21:16:11 pm
George
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This was around 2.30 in the afternoon.

two roads diverged in a wood and i took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.
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14 Apr 2021 @ 21:20:25 pm
George
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A 160 kms in we found a pad stal that had COFFEE, boy did we need that.

two roads diverged in a wood and i took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.
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14 Apr 2021 @ 21:27:38 pm
George
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Willowmore , where we spent the night, found these relics adorning the main street. a very old town though, most of the buildings in the main street i can still picture horses tied up outside them.

we left the next morning via Uniondale, Joubertina, Kareedouw and back to jeffreys bay.

two roads diverged in a wood and i took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.
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14 Apr 2021 @ 21:29:22 pm
George
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Found this at Joubertina 

two roads diverged in a wood and i took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.
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14 Apr 2021 @ 22:39:29 pm
RichardJ
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Nice trip George, thanks for sharing....on the bucket list...

Living the dream
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14 Apr 2021 @ 23:36:40 pm
Relaxed Camper
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Dankie vir nice terugvoering

WAARSKUWING:

Kampeer is aansteeklik en verslawend 😁
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15 Apr 2021 @ 07:26:29 am
steamer
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Looks like a good trail George, my son did it over new year.

Can you remember what loco that was? Looks like narrow gauge but a strange position for the driving gear. Was there a water tender in front. Similar to a Garrett GMAM.

Your strongest weapon is your mind!
And then there's, Power Tools!
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15 Apr 2021 @ 08:39:04 am
George
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Looks like a good trail George, my son did it over new year.

Can you remember what loco that was? Looks like narrow gauge but a strange position for the driving gear. Was there a water tender in front. Similar to a Garrett GMAM.

Yes , there was a water tender in front and it had a wooden type carriage behind it. Did not get it all in the picture.

two roads diverged in a wood and i took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.
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15 Apr 2021 @ 14:03:10 pm
Paddyandpaul
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Thanks for the trip down memory lane George and the pictures. Road looks worse than we had 2 years ago. Certainly is beautiful there.

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15 Apr 2021 @ 14:03:42 pm
Bostoe
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George thanks for the feedback and nice photos

Haak daai wa kamp bly koning
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15 Apr 2021 @ 15:49:30 pm
Fred
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The narrow gauge rail still runs from PE up to Avontuur, near Uniondale, but is no longer in use.  A few years ago private initiative considered reviving the line for transporting produce and also for tourism.  It was hoped that tourism in time would have been the major part but I have heard nothing more on this subject.  I think if it could be done, it will be one hell of a tourist attraction and Avontuur would have benefited from B&B's for people staying over.  I don't belief a return trip could  have been done in a singe day considering the time to load the goods.

And by the way, George, I have taken the complete Bafiaanskloof off my bucket list after your descriptions and photos of the road.  We have done the western part up to the park gate which we enjoyed a lot and would like to repeat, but I don't think my Kuga is built for type of road.  The road to Die Hel (Gamkaskloof) looks time in comparison and this we have done.

Het is beter rijk te leven dan rijk te sterven
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15 Apr 2021 @ 17:08:25 pm
FlipnTilla
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The plan to revive the Apple Express was abandoned and Mr Mole of Sandstone Estates bought most of the rolling stock.

Flip de Wet
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15 Apr 2021 @ 19:02:15 pm
George
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The narrow gauge rail still runs from PE up to Avontuur, near Uniondale, but is no longer in use.  A few years ago private initiative considered reviving the line for transporting produce and also for tourism.  It was hoped that tourism in time would have been the major part but I have heard nothing more on this subject.  I think if it could be done, it will be one hell of a tourist attraction and Avontuur would have benefited from B&B's for people staying over.  I don't belief a return trip could  have been done in a singe day considering the time to load the goods.

And by the way, George, I have taken the complete Bafiaanskloof off my bucket list after your descriptions and photos of the road.  We have done the western part up to the park gate which we enjoyed a lot and would like to repeat, but I don't think my Kuga is built for type of road.  The road to Die Hel (Gamkaskloof) looks time in comparison and this we have done.

Was chatting to a guy on face book just before the trip, said he went through in his nissan Qashqai and was griping about the cost of repairs to fix the damage he occured. But i have no idea how the kouga compares to the qashqai.

That's the thing, when you get to the " Oh No " part there's no turning around, you can't go back.

two roads diverged in a wood and i took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.
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15 Apr 2021 @ 19:19:00 pm
George
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An observation, we went from east to west and with hindsight i think its the way to go, cause the way i see this is that coming the other way [ west to east ] you would be climbing up what's left of that concrete strip " road " and i can only imagine one would staring into the horizon and not seeing much of the " road " such is the gradient. i would rather be [ as we were ] going down that part.

From east gate to west gate is about 60 kms and took the best part of 6 hours to complete ,stopped twice briefly inbetween .

two roads diverged in a wood and i took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.
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15 Apr 2021 @ 19:56:47 pm
Paddyandpaul
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Fred having done the trip in a Pajero which is a real tank with 4x4 , there is no ways I would take my Subaru forester on that road, and would think a Kuga would have similar offroad ability. 2 x 4 bakkies i would consider but our Suvs are too soft.

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16 Apr 2021 @ 08:23:15 am
Fred
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That is what I thought Paul and George.  The SUV is in the same category as the Qashqai except that my Kuga is an AWD so a definite NO-NO!  The ground clearance at the front is also quite low making 'middelmannetjies' a problem. It certainly not is a real 4X4. We did the western part in a VW Kombi 2.1 which as far as ground clearance is concerned, is probably better than most real 4X4 vehicles.  We were not really eager to progress further and the officials at the gate advised us not to try the route although they were willing to let us go as far as the camping site. The police at the local police station however, told us they regularly did the trip in police bakkies which were not 4X4, so they thought we were safe to to the trip. But as we know, policemen often take out of a vehicle that was never put in- and I do not mean this as an insult, rather in admiration (I was a police reserve for a number of years)

I am really sorry that the Apple Express revival has been dropped.  It had the potential to be a winner.

Het is beter rijk te leven dan rijk te sterven
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16 Apr 2021 @ 08:37:32 am
Fred
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And by the way, would any of you comment of the do-ability of the part from the western gate up to the camping site?  And what is the camp like and how far from the gate it is?

Het is beter rijk te leven dan rijk te sterven
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16 Apr 2021 @ 12:06:10 pm
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Fred the trip from Willowmore to Rooihoek campsite as far as roughness goes is doable in the Kuga, your main concern is the submerged road you have to drive through about 500m. The water level came to just below the Pajero and the Jurgens J65 floorboards, so you would need to get advice from the park about the level before you attempted it.

Rooihoek campsite is very basic with specially designed long drop toilets that extract the odour. There is no running water so you have to use water from the river that runs past the campsite for washing up and bathing. This is really back to nature camping but beautiful and we camped 4 nights here.

After the gates on the Willowmore side are caves with beds etc you can sleep in and we stayed in an old farmhouse with a Labrinth garden a few nights and that was luxury after camping basic and it was very reasonable. I will try and get the name of the accommodation.

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16 Apr 2021 @ 12:31:32 pm
Paddyandpaul
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The photos with the 3 people is at Rooihoek campsite overlooking the river and that is the farmhouse we stayed in.
That is the road on the Willowmore side of Rooihoek. The one picture is a path at the farm house. Dont worry it is not the road.
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16 Apr 2021 @ 12:42:52 pm
Fred
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Thanks Paul.  You must be referring to the Makkadaat caves. It is really something unique. We had a look at them but camped on this farm's small camping area.   It had electricity, running water and a 'donkey' that you had to stoke yourself- and a shower with I think reed walls,  open to the heavens-  quite adoring.  The campsite is very small, maybe adequate for two vehicles.

Het is beter rijk te leven dan rijk te sterven
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16 Apr 2021 @ 12:55:40 pm
George
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From the western gate with the kouga you can easily go as far as smits kraal, about a 2 hour drive, Just after smits kraal is that deep water crossing as mentioned above and there after the rough stuff starts. Smits kraal has a picnic/camping area , but there is nothing there again water from the river. i recall one so called campsite between west gate and smitskraal called Doodsklip, however we just drove past it.

two roads diverged in a wood and i took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.
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16 Apr 2021 @ 15:47:36 pm
Paddyandpaul
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The farm house was in the Leopards Trail- Cedar farmhouse. The caves were as you said Makadaat caves. I see they advertise Cedar accommodation for R320pp with linen supplied when sharing the house, which is pretty reasonable

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17 Apr 2021 @ 15:28:17 pm
George
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The narrow gauge rail still runs from PE up to Avontuur, near Uniondale, but is no longer in use.  A few years ago private initiative considered reviving the line for transporting produce and also for tourism.  It was hoped that tourism in time would have been the major part but I have heard nothing more on this subject.  I think if it could be done, it will be one hell of a tourist attraction and Avontuur would have benefited from B&B's for people staying over.  I don't belief a return trip could  have been done in a singe day considering the time to load the goods.

And by the way, George, I have taken the complete Bafiaanskloof off my bucket list after your descriptions and photos of the road.  We have done the western part up to the park gate which we enjoyed a lot and would like to repeat, but I don't think my Kuga is built for type of road.  The road to Die Hel (Gamkaskloof) looks time in comparison and this we have done.

fred, the Gamkaskloof [ die hell ] pass, is this pass one way in and the same way out or can one drive out the other side. preparing for this pass along with the swartberg pass and can cango caves when we get to plett in a few weeks time, did you go in the kouga.

two roads diverged in a wood and i took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.
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17 Apr 2021 @ 15:48:22 pm
FlipnTilla
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George the Hell is indeed a in and sameway out. Plan to spend a night there. Then carry on to Prince Albert, sleep over and on your way back the next day, visit the Caves.

Flip de Wet
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17 Apr 2021 @ 16:21:32 pm
Fred
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George, Flip has answered your question.  I can just add that, although Die Hel is interesting, for us the road there was the real treat. After seeing the photos and description of the Bafiaanskloof road, I am not sure you will find it as adventurous as we did, but it surely is worth the trip.  I suffer from acrophobia and it was therefore quite a strain to do this, especially the last few kilometers called I think the Elandspass, where the road zig-zags down the mountain at a frightening pace. When we got there, I couldn't see myself going back up the pass, but the  next day, after sleeping in one of Annetjie Joubert's stationary caravans (don't know how they got them down there) the trip back wasn't that bad, perhaps because we went up instead of down.  Annetjie also serves meals and she likes to talk! She was born in the Kloof and moved back there some years back. To my mind it is a must at least once in the life time for anyone loving the gravel road less travelled.

And yes, we went in the Kuga.  We also did the road several year previously in a VW Kombi.  I would say you can even do it in a sedan , depending on the state of the road surface at the time.  It is not really a 4X4 road.

Het is beter rijk te leven dan rijk te sterven
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17 Apr 2021 @ 16:30:09 pm
FlipnTilla
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One of the locals in The Hel used a 1400 Nissan Bakkie to go to town on a regular basis.

Flip de Wet
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