Explore the Klein Karoo from your base at Blommekloof - it's just a short drive over the Outeniqua Mountains.
The Klein Karoo is an adventure wonderland - a long (about 260 km), narrow (60 to 90 km wide) area of semi-arid rolling plains between the Swartberg Mountains to the north, and the Outeniqua Mountains to the south. It’s a largely rural area of ostrich farms and wine farms, of enormous nature reserves (the 120,000 hectare Swartberg Nature Reserve is a World Heritage Site), small towns (Oudtshoorn, the regional capital, de Rust, Calitzdorp, etc.), and tiny, historic mission stations (Dysselsdorp, for example).
Oudtshoorn is just 61 km from Leeukloof - via the R328 and the scenic Robertson Pass through the Outeniqua Mountains - so the Klein Karoo makes a great destination for a day drive from your base at Blommekloof Country Cottages.
Tourist information offices
- Oudtshoorn - 80 Voortrekker Street. Telephone 0027(0)44 279 2532. (They have a branch office at the Cango Caves, too: telephone 0027(0)44 272 7410.)
- De Rust - 2 Schoeman Street. Telephone 0027(0)44 241 2109
- Calitzdorp - 3 Voortrekker Street. Telephone 0027(0)44 213 3775
What to do: Nature
- Swartberg Nature Reserve - for birding, the views, and the fynbos!
- Buffelsdrift Game Lodge - 2-hour ‘Bush safaris’ (game drives). The reserve is home to elephant, rhino, buffalo, hippo, giraffe, eland, zebra, springbok, and many other species.
- Birding - riverine, wetland, open veld and mountain habitats will reward birders with species like kingfishers, flycatchers, woodpeckers, sunbirds, cape sugarbird prinias, batis, eremomelas, cisticolas, chats, black korhaan, pale chanting goshawk, Verreaux's eagle - and many more.
What to do: Mountain passes
Allow us to present one of the finest day-drives in South Africa:
- Head out from Blommekloof via the R 328 and the Robinson Pass, through Oudtshoorn towards the Cango Caves; then...
- Follow the Swartberg Pass (possibly South Africa’s greatest mountain pass - through the Swartberg Nature Reserve) to the village of Prince Albert in the Great Karoo;
- Drive home via the R407 to the Meiringspoort canyon;
- Follow the N12 via the village of De Rust (great antique shops!) to Oudtshoorn;
- Cross the Outeniqua Mountains on the Outeniqua Pass;
- Shortly before you read the city of George, turn off to Blanco and drive via the George Airport to the N2;
- Follow the N2 via the Hoogte Pass until you take to the turnoff to Little Brak River; then take the gravel road via Botlierskop Private Nature reserve to Leeukloof and home.
- Distance: about 370 km. Allow 8-10 hours (including stops).
- Advice: Lots of magnificent scenery, so take lots of storage disks for your cameras! This route includes some untarred roads - gravel roads, so check on the weather before you depart (not a good choice after heavy rains). Suitable for light passenger vehicles, 4x4s, and touring motorbikes (motorcycles).
What to do: Wine
- Visit the farms of the Klein Karoo Wine Route - the region is best known for its dry wines, fortified wines, and pot-stilled brandies. (The wineries that are most accessible from Blommekloof are concentrated around Oudtshoorn, De Rust, and Calitzdorp).
What to do: Tours & attractions
- Cango Caves - 30 km north of Oudtshoorn: this 20 million year-old cave system is South Africa’s oldest commercial tourism attraction! Choose from the relatively easy, 60-minute ‘Heritage Tour’ (every hour on the hour from 9:00 to 4:00), or the more strenuous, 90-minute ‘Adventure Tour’ (every hour on the half hour from 9:30 to 3:30). Booking is essential since group sizes are limited in order to preserve the integrity of the natural system of the Caves.
- Tour a working ostrich farm: Chandelier Ostrich Show Farm, Cango Ostrich Show Farm, Highgate Ostrich Show Farm, or Safari Ostrich Show Farm.
What to do: Mountain Biking
- Mountain Bike Routes - please visit chainstay.co.za for details of local MTB routes.
What to do: Museums, galleries & culture
- CP Nel Museum, Oudtshoorn - history of the Ostrich Feather Booms of the late 19th Century and the early 20th Century; local history; natural history collections; musical instruments; transport collection; Jewish gallery (including the preserved interior from one of the local synagogues, which was demolished in 1978).
- Art Karoo Gallery, Oudtshoorn - established artists, young artists, and emerging artists of the region.
- Klein Karoo Nasionale Kunstefees (KKNK; the Klein Karoo National Festival of the Arts) - annually over ten days in April.