Swartberg Nature Reserve (Gamkaskloof – Die Hel)

Gamkaskloof (aka Die Hel) promises a sensory feast of proteas, regional ports and donkey trails

The remote and isolated Gamkaskloof Valley (Die Hel) has a rich ecological, archaeological and cultural history and is a must to visit!

Declared a Cultural Historical Site within a World Heritage Site, it deserves special care to ensure it is preserved for future generations. It offers accommodation in 11 restored historical cottages, fully equipped with braai facilities. Of these, Stappies Cordier is fully equipped for people with disabilities.Gamkaskloof is only accessible from the Swartberg Pass via the Otto du Plessis road. There are no shops or fuel stations along the way so visitors should bring sufficient food for their stay. Accommodation is available through Cape Nature.

This reserve conserves a diversity of vegetation from renosterveld to mountain fynbos and spekboom veld. It also supports a variety of wildlife, including antelope, baboons, dassies and leopard. Plants begin to flower on the lower levels of the mountain in spring and those fit enough to brave the higher peaks of the Swartberg Mountain could be lucky enough to spot the rare protea venusta. For fans of the beautiful protea, autumn is the best time to spot them in full bloom.

Visitors to Die Hel (Gamkaskloof) will need a high clearance 4×4 vehicle to navigate the gravel road through the mountain passes.


Cycling the iconic Swartberg pass is a must. There are a range of cycle routes through Gamkaskloof. From an extreme bikepacking route down Die Leer to less challenging gravel route via Swartberg Pass.

The route via Swartberg Pass to Gamkaskloof makes a great detour off the long distance Karoo Crossing cycle route.

Please note that permission is needed for mountain biking in the Swartberg Nature Reserve. It is prohibited during certain times of the year. 

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