Kanna Biodiversity Experience

Wide open spaces, fresh air, breathtaking mountains, fertile valleys, modern and ancient history, guided tours and rich culture – where else in the world can you experience a journey of such diversity? The peace and quiet and gentle pace of life here will give you a breather from the hustle and bustle of the world beyond these mountains. This is a region with a variety of festivals, events and outdoor activities.

The Kanna Biodiversity Experience (KBDE), with its network of scenic tar and gravel roads, can be accessed easily from the N2, scenic R62 or the N1. The tranquility of the Karoo towns, their unique culture and diversity will captivate your heart.

Speldekussings in the Rooiberg Mountains

Speldekussings in the Rooiberg Mountains

When entering the KBDE at Laingsburg, be sure to make your first stop at the Flood Museum, where Tannie Francis conducts a fascinating and insightful tour of the disaster that changed this Central Karoo town forever. The Tourism Office is located in the same building, and Madré will happily provide you with more information about this area.

Continue your journey into the Klein Karoo, making your way between spectacular rock formations as you approach the Swartberg mountain range and Route 62. Here you have a choice of either going slowly through the Anysberg Pass or travelling through the wondrous Seweweekspoort. The Anysberg is situated along the edge of CapeNature’s 250 km migration path, where leopards can roam freely right up to the Baviaanskloof.

On the southern side of the Swartberg is Route 62. This is a tourist’s haven, with several interesting little shops, restaurants, farm stalls, fruit orchards, high mountains and beautiful valleys. On this route is the Port and festival capital of Calitzdorp. Erina from the Tourism Office will gladly assist you here.

As you traverse the Huisrivier Pass you will understand why there are so many paintings of these densely vegetated spekboom cliffs. 
 Next up is Opsoek Valley. From here you have a green and spectacular view of Seweweekspiek and Towerkop, the two highest peaks in the Western Cape. There are also several short hiking trails and the chance to experience farm life.

As you depart, the next stop is Zoar and Amalienstein, a mission station and farm dating back to the 1800s. Those who love architecture and culture should make a point of driving into the little town.

As you drive towards Ladismith, you will see Langenhoven’s Hoeko Valley with its export orchards against the Swartberg on the one side and Klein Karoo Rooiberg landscapes on the other.

Impressive Rooiberg Mountain range

Impressive Rooiberg Mountain range

Ladismith, the region’s cheese and butter capital, is a good stop to refuel, shop, browse and eat ice cream. Drive towards Laingsburg through Dwarsrivier and Voorbaat, and enjoy some more picturesque vineyards and apricot, peach, pear and other orchards.

Turn back towards the R62 and Montagu, but when you reach the R62, turn towards Ladismith so that you can visit the historical town of Vanwyksdorp. Here again is the Klein Karoo beauty and openness that you only see in magazines.

Vanwyksdorp is well known for its community projects, Spekboom planting programme, hospitality, ‘mall’ and romantic dust road restaurants.

Vanwyksdorp flora

Vanwyksdorp flora

Complete your journey with a slow drive over the gravel Rooiberg Pass. Pack some stones of appreciation on the ‘klipstapel’ at the top and savour the views of Calitzdorp, Oudtshoorn and the Swartberg mountains.

You will certainly long to return… this time for a longer stay!