The climb back up the mountains was just as interesting as our descent earlier in the day. Satisfied after our excellent lunch catered by Cape St Francis Resort, it would have been easy to nod off in the backseat of the 4x4 were it not that the trip is somewhat bumpy but more so because looking back into the valley offers spectacular views and gives a better feeling on just how deep the valley is.
After the long climb expertly navigated by our tour leader Shaun we arrived back atop the mountain onto level ground and it was time, or so we thought, to settle in for the long drive home.
But that was not to be for our excitement was reignited when a very observant fellow traveler lady tourist spotted a buffalo in a waterhole off in the distance. Disturbed by our presence he emerged somewhat agitated from the water and turned to stare us down. A friend of mine who owned a game farm in the Natal Midlands that bred disease free buffalo once commented that buffalo look at you with a stare that says “you owe me money”. Well this fellow stood and stared at us like that before moving off. He turned again when he saw we were not moving on and gave us the stare again as if to say “hey get going before I come and collect”!
And so we continued until almost on a premonition rather than any actual sighting, Shaun pulled off the road where two Blue Cranes merged into our view. Baboons are a plenty making sense of the name Baviaanskloof, Valley of the Baboons and if one stays alert there are sighting of buck aplenty although in the hot afternoon sun sightings were not as regular as on the way up. We did however stop twice to assist two tortoise across the road so that they wouldn’t be run over by following vehicles.
The scenery on the trip back to Cape St Francis was no less interesting than the trip to the reserve for one was able to take in things missed on the way out. Interesting was how the afternoon sun changed the look of the scenery seen earlier in the day with a morning sun. The farmlands in the mountains certainly make for beautiful photos and one would imagine even better artist canvasses. The colours in the late afternoon sun are nothing short of spectacular.
It is almost worth a trip, not into the actual reserve / pass itself but just up the the entrance. You wouldn’t need a 4x4 for a normal sedan would do just fine. The photo opportunities taking in the beautiful views of not only the mountains but the marvelous colours of the farmlands are a treat enough.
Having spent a lot of time in the Drakensberg with many trips up Sani Pass, the trip through the Baviaanskloof is certainly more than Sani’s equal. It is rugged in its own right and the peaks though not as towering, are equally majestic in their ruggedness and the incredible, ever changing rock formations have a beauty all of their own.
The purpose of this blog was not to try and tell all about the Baviaanskloof but rather to relate what a wonderful experience we have right on our doorstep and what it was to travel into this great wilderness area. If it encourages just one reader who has never ventured into Baviaanskloof it will have served my purpose but I reiterate, use a guide or at least someone knowledgeable of the area and is an experienced 4x4 driver. There are several tour companies that offer trips with the Resort being one of them.
As things happen a wonderful days outing day ended with a small mishap that Shaun handled like a trooper. Just before driving into Patensie, Shaun pulled over having detected the vehicle was not running as smoothly as it shoul. Sure enough we had a puncture. Displaying the same calm demeanor he had the entire trip Shaun set about changing the tyre refusing all offers of help and in next to no time had us back home all safe and sound.
A great day filled with good memories and a camera with filled with some great photos. Thank goodness for digital cameras.
If you haven’t been following this series you can read previous at