Whether you’re on Raaskrans (noisy cliff), the Nuwekloof Pass or Verlorenrivier (lost river), where the river disappears underground, the Eastern Cape’s Baviaanskloof is a place where beauty and diversity just about smack you in the face. But its greatest attraction is how much there is to see and do, so you'll never be bored.
If The Willow Historical Guesthouse and Sophie’s Choice are laid-back gems on the western border of the Baviaanskloof at Willowmore, then Padlangs and Die Tolbos are matching havens of country calm near Patensie in the east.
Picture it. The heat of the sun begins to seep out of the Kalahari thornveld and a sprinkling of stars peep out from a darkening sky. Throw in the bonhomie of a well-catered braai with like-minded people and you have all the elements of the New Year’s Eve bash at Mosu Lodge in Mokala National Park.
The Dutch word for baboon is ‘baviaan’, so we know that the Baviaanskloof is named after the baboons that echo among the crags in the area. But what lies behind strange names like Poepsloot and Pisgoedvlakte?
Take a drive along the R332 through the Baviaanskloof and you simply can’t miss Vero’s. Here among the stones, scrub and mountains, the colourful garden on a bend in the road will make you stop and stare long before you notice that the simple home is actually a restaurant.
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I'm an independent travel writer and book editor with a passion for Africa - anything from African travel, people, safari and wildlife to adventure, heritage, road-tripping and slow travel.
* Top 5 favourite national parks in South Africa