Gamkaberg Nature Reserve originates in, and penetrates to, the depths of my being. Under the custodianship of CapeNature, it reminds me that I travel not to escape life, but to not allow life to escape me.

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Roughly 30 kilometres south west of Oudtshoorn in the Little Karoo of South Africa, isolated between the Gouritz River and the Rooiberg, the Swartberg and Outeniqua mountains, the Gamka Mountain stands tall and proud. It is a rough and mountainous landscape depicting steep gorges, extraordinary rock formations, sandstone and shales.

The Cape Fold Belt is a fold and thrust belt of late Paleozoic age, which affected the sequence of sedimentary rock layers of the Cape Supergroup in the southwestern corner of South Africa.

Gamka Mountain, “where the lion retreated, so humanity might prosper”, hails from the Khoekhoen/Khoisan word ‘gami’, meaning lion.  The reserve was established in 1974 to safeguard a tiny, remaining herd of endangered Cape mountain zebra and their natural habitat.

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Trekking, 4×4 trails for my fellow (more serious) off road friends, birding and over twenty rock art sites make it more than worth a visit.

Here are some of my highlights in pictures.

Traveling tends to magnify all human emotions.

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Fynbos, arid fynbos, succulent karoo and riverine vegetation are the dominant plant life. 

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It is as if Aesop himself echoes from the cliffs …

Adventure is worthwhile.

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This big sky country constantly reminded me of the poem “Muere lentamente” (Dying Slowly) by Pablo Neruda …

You start dying slowly

if you do not travel,

if you do not read,

If you do not listen to the sounds of life,

If you do not appreciate yourself.

You start dying slowly

When you kill your self-esteem;

When you do not let others help you.

You start dying slowly

If you become a slave of your habits,

Walking everyday on the same paths…

You start dying slowly

If you avoid to feel passion

And their turbulent emotions;

Those which make your eyes glisten

And your heart beat fast.

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I think my best was the swimming pool. In the Karoo heat you totally need it.

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DSC05579The eco-lodges/ furnished tents at Gamkaberg are super comfortable, have a minimal impact on the environment and successfully create awareness of a sustainable lifestyle.

I slept like a baby.

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 We travel, some of us forever, to seek other places, other lives, other souls.

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Hiking in Gamkaberg is a must, but you should be prepared for some fairly rough terrain and unpredictable weather as the area experiences high temperatures in summer and gets very cold in winter.

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The Oukraal accommodation is a good point of return for a day trip, but I would encourage you to pre-book the rustic Oukraal, which is just the ultimate hideaway. It is surrounded by Fynbos vegetation and little koppies with no evidence of other habitation or civilisation anywhere close by – just nature in its purest form.

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Ou Kraal is open to hikers, or those with a 4×4 who fancy a night or two out in the wild. The four hikers’ huts each feature two beds, with basic bunk beds. There is also a braai area located in the Ou Kraal, with basic amenities.

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The Klein Karoo falls within the Cape Floral Kingdom and is one of the botanical wonders of the world.

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WORDS, VIDEO AND PICTURES © DARÉLL LOURENS | WWW.ONETWODEE.COM

I travelled courtesy of CapeNature – Opinions expressed are my own.

Consider reading my friends, Alfred ThorpeLouise de Waal and Iga Motylska‘s posts about our time there also.

 

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  1. Gillian McLaren /

    Makes me long to be there.

  2. robyn /

    Absolutely beautiful video! ??

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