“When I lay my eyes on this vast, isolated landscape of the Great Karoo with its unique scenic beauty, for the first time, it reminded me of the beauty and silence of the Nauklauft Desert in Namibia,” says Kalbas Nell, Leisure Wheels 4×4 Safari’s tour leader.
Kalbas discovered this unexplored 4×4-paradise by chance, on a recent hunt.
“I just couldn’t keep it to myself. I had to find a way to share this well-kept secret with our readers. It was hard work to pull this one off and finally put this first-ever expedition to Badshoek together. Since this is real virgin territory, only six vehicles will be allowed to join us on this never to be repeated expedition, to recce the actual route.”
The capital of the Karoo, Beaufort West, will be our last refuelling and re-stocking station before we enter the sanctuary of Badshoek – that lies snug in the elbow of the Nuweveldberge. The name Badshoek originated from a camp situated in the mountain section of the original farm, De Hoop, a natural fountain which was believed to have healing power and lured people from far and wide to soothe their sorrows, aches and pains.
The five-day, six-vehicle expedition
Day 1: We will meet up at 5pm at Badshoek where your bush chef will be waiting for you preparing a hearty meal on the open fire. Prepare yourself for two nights of star gazing under the crystal clear Karoo night skies. We overnight here for two consecutive evenings.
Day 2: The smell of early morning coffee will lure you out of your tent at sunrise to enjoy a super breakfast. The day is set apart for everyone to really get comfortable with their vehicles by doing a bit of 4×4 training for the tough trail that lies ahead. While doing so, we might spot a few springbok, kudu, oryx, zebra, blue wildebeest, black springbok, eland, giraffe and other wildlife.
We will also visit The Badshoek homestead of Colin and Evelyn de Villiers for some background info on master road engineer Thomas Bain’s challenges to build the De Jagers Pass. Another bit of history lying here is Colin’s Land Rover museum. The museum? no wait. You just have to wait and see it for yourself.
Day 3: Peering over a steaming cuppa, we’ll admire the early morning sunrise that emulates the orange and gold light of a volcanic eruption. The exploring convoy will travel over De Jagers Pass into the Nuweveldberge, to complete the first section of the 4×4 route, which will stretch over two days. The Karoo has the richest flora in the world and the largest variety of succulents found anywhere on earth. Except for the extraordinary flora you will see while indulging in your favourite past-time pleasure of 4×4 driving, the remarkable Karoo landscape with its dolerite rocks and sedimentary materials will leave you speechless.
The convoy will pass through what Kalbas calls “The Great wall of the Karoo” – actual rocks stacked onto each other in the days gone by to keep livestock in and wild animals out.
We will camp near a ravine in the Nuweveldberge for two nights.
Day 4: Waking up in the Nuweveldberge, you’ll count your blessings for being able to partake in this first-time expedition to this undiscovered treasure of our county.
Breakfast will be a quick affair so we can start the second part of this challenging 4×4 route. We will travel down valleys and up picturesque hills that will eventually lead us to what will probably be the most beautiful outlook point you’ll ever see.
Day 5: Our last day. We will backtrack to Badshoek where we will say our goodbyes and part our ways.
You can join our expedition if:
You have a well-serviced 4×4 vehicle with low range
Diff lock (an advantage)
You leave your roof-racks or rooftop tents at home
Your tyres are in a good condition and you have a spare wheel (or two)
Your vehicle is fitted with 12-ton recovery points at the back and front
You have a recovery bag equipped with two shackles, a snatch rope and compressor (in a good condition).
You own a GPS
What we will provide:
Guide vehicle with winch
Breakfast and Dinner
Preparation of meals including cutlery
Tent accommodation for four nights
4×4 route fee
What you should provide:
Own vehicle with low range
Sleeping bag & mattress
Snacks lunch and drinks
Good pair of binoculars
Field guides for wildlife, bird and flora identification
Book your place now:
Contact Kalbas Nell on 076 934-2123; 044 272-4731 or e-mail [email protected]