By bringing your 4×4 to the reserve you can access the plateau where most of the herd animals occur and enjoy what the Gamkaberg has to offer.
There are two 4 x 4 routes in the Gamkaberg Conservation Area.
The Zebra Crossing 4×4 Route takes you on the Gamkaberg sector mainly through upland fynbos and renosterveld and offers you a chance to see rare Cape Mountain Zebra in its natural habitat. The route covers a large and rugged section of the reserve, taking you to and from spectacular viewpoints more than 1000m above the Little Karoo.
The Kannaland 4×4 Route on the Groenefontein sector winds through the vlaktes and foothills where Succulent Karoo and sub-tropical thicket are the dominant vegetation types.
The name “Kannaland” means the place where the Kanna plant grows. Kanna is a sprawling succulent belonging to the genus Mesembryanthemum. Since it was abundant in this area it was widely used by the early inhabitants (San and Khoikhoi) as a mood altering substance. The prepared, dried plant material was chewed, smoked or used as snuff to elevate mood, decrease anxiety and stress, as well as to reduce thirst and hunger, with no documented severe adverse effects.
The main attraction of the 32 km route is the 40 000 ha of unspoilt landscape through which it takes you, making this a unique wilderness experience. The route is not technical and relatively easy to drive. There are a number of steep uphills and downhills, but all are on stable surfaces. (It can also be tackled by experienced mountain bikers.)
The area covered by the route is an Arid Zone Flora Biodiversity Hot Spot, and prime conservation land has been bought up since 2002 by the WWFSA with funds donated by the Leslie Hill Succulent Karoo Trust.
This makes the route a plant lover’s dream as many of the unique dwarf succulent plants which are characteristic of the succulent karoo biome can be seen along the way. Associated with the high diversity of habitats through which you travel is also a host of interesting birds. Although shy and seldom seen, interesting nocturnal mammals such as leopard, caracal, jackal, honey badger, aardwolf, aardvark, porcupine, spotted genet and striped polecat are often recorded on the remote camera traps used for research. Antelope that are commonly seen are klipspringer, kudu, eland, steenbok and duiker. Spectacular landscapes and geological formations make the route perfect for photographic expeditions and the peace and solitude is unequalled.
The trip will take a minimum of 5 hours from the Gamkaberg visitor centre. You have to exit the reserve at the Gamkaberg main gate and re-enter the reserve at the start of the Kannaland route (30 km further on). There are two shaded but basic picnic/ braai spots on the route, Dou Karoo and Batis, with an open-air long drop toilet at Batis. There is no water along the way and you need to take your own firewood as you are not allowed to collect wood.
This is an extremely sensitive environment and has thus previously not been open to the public. It is also for this reason that the route is open only to visitors using the overnight facilities on Gamkaberg. Visitors are reminded that under no circumstances may vehicles leave the track. There are no refuse bins along the track so please take all your refuse out with you.
A maximum of three groups will be allowed on the route per day and this will be allowed on a first come first served basis.
Do’s and Dont’s
- Stay on the track at all times.
- It is illegal to remove any plant, animal or rock from the property.
- Practice “leave no trace” principles and take all your refuse (to the smallest detail) out with you.
- The route is not technical but is unsuitable for low clearance 4×4 vehicles. It is graded 3 (i.e. low range and limited off road knowledge required).
- Remember to take your own water and braai wood.
- Fires are only permitted in the demarcated fire places at Doukaroo and Batis.
- Please respect the privacy of other people you encounter along the route.
Bookings can be made through CapeNature’s booking office.