Re-discover the drive
Pack a picnic, grab the camera and go for a drive.
Prince Albert is perfectly located as launch pad for exploring the Swartberg Mountain, the Little Karoo and the Great Karoo. If you do not want to go far, a gentle drive out of town to appreciate the view or the sunset is in order.
Take a chair – here we stop next to the road to sit for a while. You will be surprised at what that does for your soul.
We put together some suggestions to get you going.
Gamkapoort Dam – built in the 1960’s this wide expanse of water in the middle of the Karoo is home to hundreds of birds. You need a 4 x 4 vehicle or a vehicle with plenty of height for this drive as you will cross sandy and rocky river beds and the Gamka River can run strongly at times.
Please note that the road to Gamkapoort Dam is not accessible by car. It is recommended that only 4×4’s or bakkies use it. Cape Nature Conservation has also informed us that under no circumstances are quad bikes allowed to use this road. Motor cycles are allowed but they must please remember that this is a conservation area. Fishing is allowed but no overnight fishing and no camping will be allowed.
Drive out along Margariet Prinsloo Street, the gravel road past the tannery. The road runs parallel to the Swartberg and you pass through several farms before you reach the Nature Reserve. Please remember to close all gates behind you. Once you reach the reserve keep to the left, until you reach the water.
There are simple picnic sites equipped with rubbish bins. Experience the sounds of silence, see buck and baboons – and watch birds fishing against the spectacular backdrop of the dinosaur-shaped mountains. (+/- 100km round trip) This route also offers tremendous sunsets.
Gamkaskloof, also known as “Die Hel”, is a fascinating valley near Prince Albert, where a small, proud community lived in isolation for more than 100 years.
Access was on foot and horseback and harvests of dried fruit and wild honey were carried out by pack animals.
Legend has it that Gamkaskloof was discovered when trekboers lost their cattle and followed their spoor into the fertile valley.
Soaring cliff walls with spectacular rock formations line the 25 km tarred road which winds along the floor of the gorge through Meiringspoort, crossing the Groot River 25 times. Each crossing, or drift, has its own name and story.
The first road through Meiringspoort was constructed between 1856 and 1858 by Adam de Schmidt. On the morning of 3 March 1858 a colorful procession of about 250 mounted men and 100 distinguished guests in “spiders”, carriages and wagons departed through a triumphal arch decorated with flags for the journey to Klaarstroom – where a deputation of important guests from Prince Albert and Beaufort West awaited their arrival under another triumphal arch.
It is a given that you will take a drive along the Weltevrede Valley road to see the sunset.
About 25km along the gravel road you drive up a small pass. At its summit, look down towards the Weltevrede Fig and Guest farm and back towards Prince Albert. As the sun sets the mountains behind are transformed, passing through every shade of blue to the deepest purple, while ahead of you the sun strikes peaks and clouds with golden-orange and sultry-pink hues.
Drive home beneath our sparkling, star-filledKaroo sky.
You can stay in the Weltevrede Valley in houses dating from the 19th Century.
Why not take a day drive over the Swartberg Pass (well maintained gravel road changes to tar at foot of the pass on the Oudtshoorn side) to the Cango Caves, then home to Prince Albert through De Rust and Meiringspoort (fully tarred) – a magnificent experience.
On this side of Meiringspoort, turn into Klaarstroom a tiny Victorian hamlet that really is a “one horse town”!
Your route can be varied as you travel between the Swartberg Pass and Oudtshoorn – you can turn off at the Cango-oord road (gravel road) which will take you past the Rus en Vrede Waterfall towards Oude Muragie and onto the tar road to De Rust.