Baviaanskloof Wilderness Area
A seemingly alien habitat of rugged mountain terrain that stretches for over 300 000 hectares, the Baviaanskloof Wilderness Area in the Eastern Cape is a magnificent world of passes, mountains and dust.
Beginning just 120 kilometres outside Port Elizabeth the 203km road winds through the magnificent conservancy from Lomodomo to Willowmore; and the area is soon set to become South Africa's third largest national park. Driving along the potholed, gravel road, through the passes and rugged mountains one is struck by the sheer beauty and diversity of nature.
The road can be treacherous, particularly after rainfall, and it is advisable to travel in a 4X4, allowing plenty of time for a slow journey and taking in the surroundings. For those without appropriate vehicles, specialised tours are also on offer.
Despite being managed by Cape Nature Conservation since 1987, Baviaanskloof, which means "Valley of Baboons", has many areas that have remained undiscovered and barely touched by man.
Wildlife is abundant with eland, leopard and baboon roaming the mountain slopes; however only baboons are regularly seen. The Baviaanskloof Reserve is well known for its beautiful river which is criss-crossed by the road over 100 times while on the main part of the route. The area also offers some exciting bushman artefacts, including rock paintings and more recently the discovery of a 200-year old Khoi San mummy.