There are loads of places to escape to for a holiday in South Africa but few are as peaceful as Touwsberg Private Game and Nature Reserve in the Klein Karoo. The 7000-hectare property allows visitors the chance to experience the true meaning of getting away from it all and is one of the view places you can get excited about not having any cell phone reception at all (which is monumental coming from this self-confessed social media addict!) I was lucky enough to spend a weekend away at this unique spot with a small group of colleagues and friends and after just two peaceful nights there we were all ready to sign on for a few more days of fireside chats, leisurely walks, and quiet moments. When it was all said and done, and our bags were in the car, ready to be hauled back to Cape Town, Touwsberg had stolen a little piece of our hearts and I couldn’t help but envy the people who were lucky enough to own a little piece of paradise in the reserve.
A truly special place, Touwsberg Private Game and Nature Reserve allows nature lovers to buy plots in the reserve to build their own bush holiday home but some of the properties are also available for plebs, like myself, to rent for a weekend or longer. Just 3. 5 hours from Cape Town, visitors to the game reserve can take a leisurely drive along the oh-so-popular R62 to arrive at a place that is truly off the grid. Packed with activities; from craft beer tasting at the Saggy Stone Brewing Company in Robertson to popping into Ronnie’s Sex Shop for tjop en dop or sampling the very best savoury pancakes and Dutch Apple Tart at Die Kloof Padstal in Montagu, there’s loads to discover along the R62.
Many have a made a week-long road trip out of the drive, choosing to finish with a peaceful stay at Touwsberg and it’s easy to see why – one could easily spend a full day exploring each little town en-route. Our journey was more of a wham-bam-thank-you-mam type of Route 62 experience and we chose to do the trip in 4.5 hours, stopping only for lunch and an obligatory drink at Ronnie’s Sex Shop along the way. But, that didn’t make it any less magical! The route meanders through some of the most beautiful valleys, farmlands, and small dorpies in South Africa and soaking it all in as you go, even if only from a car window, is all part of the experience.
We arrived at Touwsberg in the late afternoon on Friday and were immediately struck by the beauty of the place – driving into the gates we spotted Cape Mountain Zebra, Steenbok and Eland peacefully enjoying a final nibble before the sun went down and marveled at the beauty of the rugged Karoo landscape. The reserve is home to smaller game, such as Klipspringer, Steenbok, Duiker and Springbok as well as larger game, like the Giraffe, Cape Mountain Zebra, red Hartebeest, Kudu, Eland, Gemsbok and black Wildebeest. Natural predators, such as the Leopard, Caracal, and Jackal, black Eagle, Owl and Falcon also call the reserve home and if you’re lucky enough you might just spot them enjoying the vast landscape of their home.
Just a short drive later we arrived at our accommodation for the weekend and couldn’t believe the view we had! Our little 3 bedroom home offered enough space for 8 guests, 2 bathrooms, a big lounge and kitchen area, and a stoep complete with braai facilities and a rather epic view of the reserve. The remote, self-catering cottages on the reserve are located quite far from each other and after settling in you completely forget you have neighbours! But, having a secluded base for the weekend didn’t stop us from enjoying a few walks and a morning game drive and reserve tour while we were there. Even on our walks and drive we could swear that we were the only people in the reserve – it felt like our own little paradise for the weekend which is hard to find these days! There’s no doubt about it, Touwsberg is the kind of place you need to visit for the whole weekend or more. We only started settling into our new quiet, stress-free lifestyles half-way through Saturday so I’d recommend three nights if you really want to unwind.
The reserve is an adventurer’s paradise – mountain biking, trail running, 4×4, and hiking trails abound and guests can spend hours exploring the network of gravel roads for game and bird life. And the best bit? The activities can carry on all year round! The drier climate of the Karoo means that winter is the perfect time to visit the area with summer and winter rainfall combined ranging between 250 and 400mm per annum. We visited Touwsberg at the beginning of April and had nothing but clear sunny days for the weekend. The temperature was just right and I have definitely added the spot to my list as my go-to autumn/winter holiday destinations.
But little rainfall doesn’t mean they’re starved for water! Rather notably, the reserve is blessed with an abnormally abundant underground water supply which the guests, fauna, and flora no doubt take big advantage of. There’s an abundance of watering holes and dams available for guests and the resident game to enjoy and some of the properties even have swimming pool which you can enjoy all year round.
Accommodation at Touwsberg Private Game and Nature Reserve is also very affordable. Starting from R1500 per night for the 3 bedroom, 6-sleeper Ankerbos cottage to R2400 per night on weekends (R1800 per night on week nights) for the 4 bedroom, 8-sleeper Uitkykpos, guests can pay as little as R250 per person per night!
For more information on Touwsberg Private Game and Nature Reserve and accommodation options click here. You can also say Hi to Touwsberg Private Game and Nature Reserve on Facebook. And, for a sneak peep into the reserve watch this video highlighting the top 6 attractions at Touwsberg.