Relaxation and adventure

Farming activities & facilities

  • Swimming pool – outdoors, not heated, situated for guest to watch the panoramic views
  • Wheelchair friendly
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Restaurant – breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • Secure, free parking
  • Laundry service on request
  • Wedding and conference facilities
  • Beautiful garden – to relax an absorb the »quiet« Karoo sounds
  • Romantic picnics can be arranged at the »rock window«
  • Bird watching – remember the binoculars
  • Walking trails – visitors can enjoy by themselves
  • Mountain biking – bring own bike
  • Ostrich tours (on request) – not commercial bookings are essential
  • Self drive tours from Rietfontein – see below
  • Portwine tasting – see Tour 6

Self drive tours from Rietfontein

Tour 1: Prince Albert & Swartberg Pass

Take the road through Oudtshoorn to the hamlet of De Rust. Drive through Meiringspoort the scenic and rugged gorge cutting through the Swartberg Mountains. The road crosses the river 32 times during its twisting path through the mountain. Stop at the info centre in the poort and take a short walk to the waterfall. Lunch in Prince Albert which lies at the foot of the Swartberg Mountains. The area boasts 18 national monuments and is noted for olive farms. Return over the mighty and spectacular Swartberg Pass completed by Thomas Bain in 1888 and is one of the finest in the world. Allow at least 2 hours for the latter drive as there will be many stops for photography of the magnificent geological and botanical wonders plus some spectacular views.

Tour 2: Cango Caves & Oudtshoorn

A circular drive via Kruisrivier, and Matjiesrivier to the world famous Congo Caves Standard tours are every hour on the hour and the adventure tour is every hour on the half hour. You can also visit the Wilgewandel Holiday Farm, have lunch in the restaurant and ride a camel! Return via Oudtshoorn, ostrich capital of the world, (plenty of historic places to visit and explore)

Tour 3: Van Wyksdorpf & 2 Passes

From Calitzdorp, take the road to Vanwyksdorp (where donkey carts are still a common sight) driving out via the gravel Rooiberg Pass. In August/September the spring flowers are magnificent and there are excellent views of the Swartberg Mountains from the top of the pass. Descend to Van Wyksdorp and take the road out to Ladismith. Return on the tarmac road via the Huisrivier Pass which overlooks the panoramic Gamka River Valley.

Tour 4: Seweweekspoort

For something different, drive out along the road to Ladismith, and at Zoar, turn right into the majestic Seweweekspoort. Pinnacles of dazzling rock soar above the road in all directions, and you will soon be dwarfed and engulfed by their awesome presence. Here you can see dainty klipspringers making their way up the mountains, or dassies darting across the road in front of you. At the end of the 18km gorge, one of the historic routes connecting the Klein and Great Karoo, you can turn right and follow the twisting track via the Bosluiskloof Pass to the Gamka Dam where the scenery is as stark as the mountains of the moon. Or at the junction turn left, and follow the road which traverses farmlands behind the Klein Swartberg range, and at the Laingsburg junction, turn left to eventually pass by the Anysberg Nature Reserve and return once again via Ladismith.

Tour 5: Redstone Hills & Groenfontein

Follow the gravel road through Redstone and Kruisrivier. The weird geological formations and arches in the red sandstone are unique to this area. Continue on this road to the secluded Groenfontein Valley (a 12 500ha conservancy with preserved historical architecture). Return to Calitzdorp via the Calitzdorp Dam and Visarenc Resort.

Tour 6: Calitzdorp (Port Wine Capital of South Africa)

Visit Calitzdorp, a quaint village, where you can walk in the footsteps of time along the wide streets lined with gracious homesteads dating back to the late 1800’s. Here you can: taste wine from 5 different wineries; meander around the Kunste Kronke (Arts & Crafts Meander) where many local artists make and sell their hand craftec wares; visit the historic local history museum; view the unique Wall Hangings in the church hall; and admire the imposing Dutch Reformed Church which is a National Monument. Here, on four evenings a week you can listen to an organ recital at 6 pm given by the Very Rev. Dr. Noel-Jean Kriel. Botanists and flower lovers can take a guided tour of the privately owned Hennie Cloete Nature Reserve. A distinctive feature of this region is the predominance of indigenous shrubs and it boasts the richest concentration of succulent plants in the world. (Calitzdorp is host to the International Succulent Convention). Visit Ebenhart, one of the top pipe makers in South Africa, and ranking amongst the top 10 in the world

Tour 7: Gamkaberg Nature Reserve

Explore the Gamkaberg Nature Reserve where you can take a picnic, enjoy severe walks (including the newly laid out succulent route), go bird watching, and it is home to the rare and endangered Cape Mountain Zebra. There is a 4×4 route up the mountain with stunning views from the top, and the reserve is a paradise of wild flowers in the spring. By special arrangement, tours can also be made to the Groenefontein Nature Reserve.

Tour 8: Matjiesvlei and Bojaankop 4×4 Route

This drive is a must for everyone wanting to experience the real feel of the essence of the Little Karoo. Take the right hand turning, onto a gravel road, at the top of the Huisrivier Pass and proceed to climb and descend a series of extremely steep hills. In years gone by Matjiesvlei was a thriving little village nestling at the very foot of the Swartberg Mountains. Today, there are still some of the old buildings in evidence, but many have been restored, some offering rustic self catering accommodation. A side excursion to Die Kom will give those with 4×4 vehicles, the opportunity to ride the Bojankop Trail which snakes its way up the foothills of the Swart-berg rising to a height of 540m.

Tour 9: Knysna and The Garden Route

Drive to Knysna via Oudtshoorn, then over the scenic Outeniqua Pass to George, and proceed along the N2 to Knysna. Or, stop in George at the Outeniqua Transport Museum, the only one of its kind in South Africa, and from here depart for Knysna on the Outeniqua Choo-Tjoe, a steam hauled train (advance bookings essential). One member of the party will need to drive your vehicle to Knysna. The station in Knysna is at the Waterfront where you can have lunch and explore the shops. Time permitting; take a boat ride out to the famous ‘Heads’ (1 hour). Drive out of Knysna to the view site on top of the Eastern Head from where there are stunning views of the Featherbed Nature Reserve, the lagoon, and Coney Glen beach below. Return via George and over the gravel Montague Pass (time permitting

Tour 10: A Trip to Hel

To reach Gamkaskloof (better known as Die Hel), follow the route to the Swartberg Pass, where a left hand turning on the Prince Albert side of the pass will mark your entry into the Swartberg Nature Reserve. A tortuous drive down a series of hairpin bends forming Elandspass brings you eventually into the kloof itself. Here an isolated farming community lived in this fertile valley in the Swartberg Mountains for more than 130 years. Today you will find newly renovated cottages, set in the serenity of this beautiful yet rugged area. It’s a tough but beautiful ride to get there.

Tour 11: Mossel Bay & George via 2 Passes

Travel to Mossel Bay via the Robinson Pass. Here you can visit a Koisan village, the Diaz Museum, Post Office Tree, Strandloper Cave, and the Cape St Blaize lighthouse. Take a short cliff walk with beautiful views of the ocean. (There is much more on offer) Leave Mossel Bay on the N2 and head towards George. An optional side excursion from Little Brakriver, would be a visit to Botlierskop Private Game Reserve where there are many exciting activities on offer. Time permitting take a turning off the N2 to visit the delightful seaside resorts of Glentana and Herold’s Bay, ideal cooling off spots on a hot sunny day. From George, drive back over the Outeniqua Pass to Oudtshoorn and Calitzdorp.

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