Far away from the hustle and bustle of city life, set in the old historic valley of Matjiesvlei, you will find the Bojaankop 4x4. The name Bojaankop, the highest point in the Matjiesvlei valley, spelled like this dated back as far as Bennie’s father could remember. This was over the years, Bennie grew up on this farm Die Kom, the playground of the baboons. From up here you can merely look into Die Hel (Gamkaskloof) and see most of the well-known mountains of the Little Karoo.

The route has an interesting history. It started in the 1800’s when Bennie’s ancestors and their sharecroppers dragged bundles of Wild Plum wood straight down the foothills of the Swartberg Mountains to distill Witblits of to make raisons. During wintertime the sharecroppers also sell the wood in town for an extra income. Most of the route is in these drag paths or in the wagon trails along the lower lying areas where they loaded the wood on ox wagons and donkey carts.

     

Originally these veld was all invested by prickly pears till the cochenille (a pest on prickly pears) was imported from Australia to get rid of it. A lot of wild donkeys were also roaming the Gamka river valley. Since then the Spekboom and other plants started to take over and now a days its of the finest succulent Karoo areas you will find with the most diversity of plants in such a small area. In spring the veld is a carpet of wild flowers and always there is the imposing and somber backdrop of the smudgy blue Swartberg Mountains.

The trail runs through and along the Gamka river with spectacular views. The river crossings can be very interesting especially when the river runs high. For most of the trail you need low range, but the trail is people and vehicle friendly and is great fun and a tremendous experience for the whole family. Like photographer, Richard van Ryneveld said: “A truly beautiful area, Matjiesvlei a hidden and undiscovered gem in the Klein Karoo.”

It is easy to get to – approximately 13 km out of Calitzdorp (15 minute drive) and only 3 – 4 hours from Cape Town and P.E. For the mountains bikers can also enjoy most of the trail. We find that lots of people also like to hike on the route.

     

At the end of the drive you can relax and socialise at The Dam River Campsite or in one of the three self-catering chalets with bedding and towels provided and fully equipped kitchens. The spacious campsite is shady and well grassed offering privacy at each site as well as an ablution block with showers (donkey boiler) and toilets. At the campsite and along the riverside there is a rich bird life including black eagles and fish eagles. Sometimes if you’re lucky Cape otters can be spotted. The river contains about seven different fish species. So bring along your fishing rods and inflatable boat.

Things that we would recommend you to bring along are binoculars, fishing rods, mountain bikes, hiking boots, canoe or inflatable boats and swimsuits.

Nearby Calitzdorp is a lovely and fascinating town to visit with good restaurants and wine tasting. From Matjiesvlei you can also go on day trips to some of several places of interest in the Klein Karoo.

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