Day Trip 3

Day Trip 3

Mossel Bay – Calitzdorp – Ladismith – Van Wyksdorp – Herbertsdale

Your journey start in Mossel Bay, take the R328 over the Robinson Pass to Oudtshoorn. At the Volmoed turn-off, turn left to visit Grundheim Wines. Things to do: taste the local Ruby Port, traditional witblits and liqueur. Follow the old cement road to Calitzdorp. The cellars of Boplaas, De Krans, Calitzdorp, Peter Bayly, Withoek, Axe Hill, Du’SwaRoo and TTT Cellar are known for their Port and the full-bodied, dry red wines made with traditional Portuguese varietals such as Touriga Naçional and Tempranillo. Things to do: hot springs; Sophia’s Mustard; mountain biking; canoeing; fishing; hiking; 4X4 routes; birding; passes; Karoo succulents. From here, travel over the Huisrivier Pass to Ladismith. Visit Ladismith Cellar and taste some of the local wines. On the Dwarsrivier road towards Laingsburg, 9 km from town, lays Hillock Wines. Taste some wine in these tranquil surroundings or stay over in the 4-star Mymering Guest House. Things to do: abseiling; mountain biking; kloof swimming; game reserve; mountaineering routes; 4X4 routes; guided day tours; hiking; nature reserves; bird watching; archaeology sites; geology sites; museums; Karoo succulents; cheese tasting. From Ladismith, take the R327 past Van Wyksdorp and follow the gravel road in the shadow of the Langeberg Mountains over the spectacular Cloetes Pass to Herbertsdale and then back to Mossel Bay.

Spend an unforgettable day in the Klein Karoo

Distances: Mossel Bay to Grundheim (66 km) – Grundheim to Calitzdorp (37 km) – Calitzdorp to Ladismith (49 km) – Ladismith to Van Wyksdorp (43 km) – Van Wyksdorp to Herbertsdale (68 km) – Herbertsdale to Mossel Bay (51 km). Round trip is 314 km.

Reasons to visit Calitzdorp

Calitzdorp is a quaint little town on Route 62, nestled in the heart of the Klein Karoo. It is the fruit-bowl of Kannaland, the source of the country’s finest port wines and it is here where you will find that the authentic character of a Klein Karoo community and the unique architecture of the region are well preserved. In the spectacular mountains that shelter Calitzdorp on three sides, Nature too, seems unspoiled by the twentieth century, awaiting the ecology-minded explorer is a wealth of flora, fauna and geological fascination. 

Culture and history

Calitzdorp Museum

Local history – www.calitzdorp.org.za

Nature

Cape Nature

Cape Nature is responsible for the management of two of the Klein Karoo’s largest wilderness areas, namely the Swartberg Nature Reserve, which includes the remote Gamkaskloof, or “The Hell” and the Gamkaberg Nature Reserve – a succulent botanist’s dream destination in the Red Mountain Range. Website: www.capenature.co.za

Activities

4X4 Routes

The Klein Karoo is criss-crossed with secondary roads (dirt or gravel) which provide a large variety of interesting and scenic drives as well as the highest concentration of 4x4 routes in the country.

Passes:

  • Huisrivier (West) – 8 km tar road towards Ladismith with breathtaking views.
  • Rooiberg (South) –  6 km gravel road towards Van Wyksdorp – succulents and fynbos. Swartberg 45 km gravel road via Groenfontein/Kruisrivier and a 15 km tar road with spectacular views.

Scenic Drives:

  • Groenfontein – 50km circular gravel road passing the Nelsrivier Dam.
  • Kruisrivier – 50km circular gravel road passing the spectacular Redstone Hills and regional architecture.
  • Matjiesvlei – 5km on the tar road towards Ladismith and then 16km gravel road with secluded farms among aloe-clad hills.
  • Amalienstein – 27km on the tar road towards Ladismith – historical mission stations and a Lutheran church 150 years old.

Other adventure activities include canoeing and fishing; birding; hiking and horse riding. Website: www.capenature.co.za

Donkey Trails

The Donkey Trail is an authentic heritage experience that takes you on an extraordinary hike over the Swartberg Mountain. Website: www.donkeytrail.com

More activities…

Calitzdorp Port & Wine Festival Website: www.portwinefestival.co.za

Local tourism information

To find out more about Calitzdorp and its surround, places to stay, where to eat or to get the contact details of the activities mentioned, please contact the Calitzdorp Tourism Bureau.

Calitzdorp Tourism Bureau Website: www.calitzdorp.org.za

Reasons to visit Ladismith

Ladismith, as with the rest of the Klein Karoo, benefited from the ostrich feather boom at the turn of the previous century. There are still many attractive houses dating from the Victorian era. Today Ladismith serves an extensive farming area with an ideal climate for the production of quality fruit – apricots, peaches, plums, nectarines and grapes.

Culture and history

Take an architectural tour

Ladismith boasts of some beautiful old buildings in and around town.  Most of them have been restored and are well-cared for.  Several buildings have been declared National Monuments. Start at the Otto Hager Church (Tourism Bureau) in South Street for a short talk on the history of this beautiful neo-Gothic church, designed and built by the German architect Carl Otto Hager in 1874.  Proceed from here through the town to view the different building styles.  The town boasts with at least 6 different building style, e.g. Victorian (ranging from lavish to simple), neo-Gothic, Karoo, Cape Revival, the Ladismith style (simplified Georgian), Regency and most probably the only Lithuanian style in the country (the old synagogue).  Guided tours by appointment. Website: www.ladismith.org.za

Cheese

Parmalat Cheese Factory

The original Towerkop cheese factory was taken over in 1998 by Parmelat.  A variety of  cheese, yoghurt, ice cream and other diary products are available at their local cheese shop. Website: www.ladismith.org.za

Ladismith Cheese Factory

Produces a awardwinning variety of cheese, butter and powder milk. Website: www.ladismithcheese.co.za

Nature

Cape Nature

Cape Nature is responsible for the management of two of the Klein Karoo’s largest wilderness areas, namely the Swartberg Nature Reserve, which includes the remote Gamkaskloof, or “The Hell”. The area around the Gamkapoort Dam is a treasure of fossils.  Among the numerous fossilized species discovered are trilobites, ancient arthropods which lived in the beginning of the Cambrian period 570 million years ago. They flourished as scavengers for 350 million years before becoming extinct.  Fossilized brachiopods (lampshells) also abound, superficially resembling mollusks such as clams. Buffelspoort is an absolute pristine wilderness area and has been declared a Nature Heritage area.  The impressive S-shaped poort with 600m high spectacular folded rock formations, was formed by the Buffelsrivier carving its way through the mountain.    It is said that leopard still roams there, as well as the fish and black eagle.  Nature’s amazing healing ability has seen to it that the vegetation has reinstated itself after the devastating 1981 flood – stripping it completely of its vegetation. Website: www.capenature.co.za

More activities…

Canoeing; abseiling; mountain biking; kloof swimming; game reserve; mountaineering routes; daytrips; 4X4 trails; hiking; nature reserves; bird watching; sport activities; archaeology sites; geology sites; museums; fauna and flora

Local tourism information

To find out more about Ladismith and its surround, places to stay, where to eat or to get the contact details of the activities mentioned, please contact the Ladismith Tourism Bureau.

Ladismith Tourism Bureau Website: www.ladismith.org.za

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