Sunday, 14 May 2017

South African Road Trip 2016. Citrusdal to Bushmans Kloof Resort via Bird Island, Lamberts Bay.

I was so impressed with The Baths resort, that I was sorry that I had only booked one night. This was due to wanting to stay at the Bushmans Kloof resort; our next stop. The drive from Citrusdal to Clanwilliam; where Bushmans Kloof is located was only 60 KM, about 40 minutes on the N7, but we wanted so see a bit of the West Coast so drove on dirt roads via Lamberts Bay.

Driving from Citrusdal towards the West Coast, on the gravel R 365 we passed many farms. The farms were dedicated to Citrus trees and Rooibos plants. The area is known as the Cederberg, but we did see farms advertising themselves as part of The Swartland Wine Route. The area was beautiful and it was a great drive.
As we approached Lamberts Bay we saw the Muisbosskerm Restaurant located on the beach, here you can have a feast of seafood cooked on the BBQ, however you do have to pre-book, today it was quiet.

Lamberts bay was once a fishing town, with a large fishing fleet, it is now a popular holiday town that gets very busy in the summer.  We drove through the town, it was an outdated modern style and rather unattractive, We stopped for some lunch at the Funky Tasebuds Deli. It was a funky little place serving many snacks, or not really snacks as I had an the most enormous Springbok sandwich.
We had come to Lamberts Bay to visit Bird Island. We found it located behind a what I think was a potato factory, I think they were making French fries, or Chips in English.

Lamberts Bay Factory

Lamberts Bay Factory

Bird Island is a rocky islet that shelters the harbour of Lamberts bay, it is connected to the main land by a large concrete jetty.

The Jetty to Bird Island, Lamberts Bay

The Jetty to Bird Island, Lamberts Bay



Bird Island is an important breeding ground for Blue Eyed Cape Gannets. It also has a colony of Cape fur seals and White-Breasted Cormorants as well the Cape Cormorants. In the past; from 1888 till 1990, the island was used to harvest Guano.


There is a fantastic hide where you can see; and smell the birds, a vast colonies of  Gannets. There are information shelters dotted about with Whale Bones on display as well as the history of the Guano industry. It all looked a little run down, but was still an interesting attraction.
Bird Island, Lamberts Bay

Bird Island, Lamberts Bay




Bird Island, Lamberts Bay

Bird Island, Lamberts Bay



Bird Island, Lamberts Bay

The Hide Bird Island, Lamberts Bay


Bird Island, Lamberts Bay


Bird Island, Lamberts Bay





Bird Island, Lamberts Bay



We then drove back towards Clanwilliam on the R364 again this was a really scenic drive. Clanwilliam itself was in a warm valley and was a great little town or Dorp, with a massive Rooibos processing plant. It is here that the famous Rooibos Tea comes from and you can visit the factory, but I was unaware of both these facts and did not have time as we had to be at Bushmans Kloof by 1700 or the gates were locked and as it was getting late we didn't have time to linger.

Bushmans Kloof Wilderness and Wellness Retreat was our treat on this road trip, in fact the trip was based around this stay. It is billed as an award winning luxury retreat in the Ceaderberg Mountains. It is one of the top resorts in South Africa and has prices to match that fact.

We struggled to find it and it was not well signposted but we eventually found it, it is a good 40 minute drive on the R364, through the very spectacular Pakhuis Pass away from Clanwilliam towards Calvinia. We received an efficient but sort of warm welcome and were shown to our accommodation. This was a large room in a thatched Cape Dutch style house. The bathroom was massive, the room had under floor heating and was extremely comfortable. 
Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve and Wellness Retreat

Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve and Wellness Retreat






Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve and Wellness Retreat

Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve and Wellness Retreat





Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve and Wellness Retreat . The rooms




The Rooms





The grounds were immaculate and the food was outstanding with the Afternoon Tea being a real highlight.


Our guide was a young man called Daniel and 2 night stay he took us on a tour of the reserve and to visit the Rock Art found in the area. We also did a self guided hike through the reserve clambering over the strange rock formations found in the Cedarberg and got quite lost! At least we walked off a few pounds!
Rock Art at Bushmans Kloof

Rock Art at Bushmans Kloof


 Bushmans Kloof
However a lot of the activities that are advertised by  Bushmanskloof and talked about were not offered to us, such are the star gazing,  biking and the Embers Braai. we were offered canoeing but it was to cold for getting out on the dam;  in truth we were just left alone and this sort of soured the stay a little. Maybe it was due to the time of year as it was too cold to swim and the pools were not heated, in fact it was very cold on the nature drives and the drives were a bit long. So I have mixed feelings about the stay at this lodge mainly due to the price we paid as I don’t think it represented value for money and whilst it was peaceful and picturesque I can’t get rid of the feeling I was ripped off!!