Swartberg Nature Reserve

Near Prince Albert in the Oudtshoorn district, this World Heritage Site lying between the Little and Great Karoo is a feast for the eyes. The untarred Swartberg Pass takes you over the Swartberg and reaches a height of 1,585m above sea-level. The Gamkaskloof valley is of ecological, archaeological and cultural-historical importance. For breathtaking sights, drive one of the scenic historical routes which run though the reserve – Meiringspoort, Seweweekspoort (gravel) and the Swartberg Pass (gravel).

Main attractions

  • Rock formations of the Swartberg and Meiringspoort passes.
  • The Donkey Trail is an overnight hike leading into the Gamkaskloof (Die Hel) whereby hikers’ luggage is transported on donkeys.
  • Gamkapoort Dam is great for canoeing, sailing, angling or just to enjoy the spectacular scenery

The 4×4 trail to Bothashoek hut offers a real sense of wilderness. Progress is slow primarily due to the breathtaking scenery and views rather than the technical nature of the route.

– Stephen Cunliffe, Wild 25


  • Hiking
  • 4X4 routes
  • Picnicking and braai spots
  • Birding
  • Angling in the Gamka River

Top sightings: The rare Protea venusta in the Swartberg peaks, Cape sugarbird, sunbirds, bat-eared fox, klipspringer, leopard, caracal, kudu, grey rhebuck

Accommodation: Camping, self catering.

Office times: 07:30 – 16:00

Nearest centre: Oudtshoorn is 40km away.

Know before you go

  • You don’t need a 4×4 to visit the reserve, although high clearance will make your journey more comfortable.
  • Stock up on supplies and fuel in nearby Oudtshoorn.

Contact reserve: +27 (0)44 203 6300

CapeNature Central Reservations: +27 (0)21 483 0190, [email protected]

Visit Swartberg Nature Reserve’s home page.