Nature Reserves South Africa - Bosch Luys Kloof Private Nature Reserve, situated in a malaria and pollution free Karoo area in the Western Cape.
Nature Reserves South Africa - The unique Karoo nature and wildlife experience at Bosch Luys Kloof presents nature at its pure & unspoiled beauty - no artificial human interventions. Game roams freely, no traffic, no electricity lines, tele poles/lines - no other man-made structures in sight! No pollution. All for guests to enjoy - from their chalets, on nature or 4x4 drives, by biking or hiking, etc.
|Great Swartberg - Southern border||The Hell - Bordering on Southeast corner|
|Bosluiskloof historic pass - on site||Oudtshoorn - 110km|
|Seweweekspoort - 4km||R62 turn-off - 24km via Seweweekspoort from our gate|
|George - 170km||Cape Town - 330km|
TORTOISES - tragedy
The severe drought that the Western Cape and the Karoo has experienced since 2015 has naturally impacted on the vegetation and animals of Bosch Luys Kloof alike. And in ways you would never expect.
With our policy of no interference in the natural environment at Bosch Luys Kloof, unexpected things happen. And we are just lucky to learn of some.
Our Leopard Tortoise population has been indirectly affected by the drought and in a way no one would expect.
A lengthy period of minimal rain results in a lack of greenery and new growth, also a lack of flowers and seeds. With green plants containing more protein essential for growth and muscle accumulation than dry carbohydrate rich plant material, omnivores such as the Chacma baboon will supplement their own protein requirements with anything from scorpions and invertebrates, carrion and small antelopes to birds eggs.
And as we recently found out --- even tortoise eggs.
It likely only took one baboon figuring out there is a protein rich source of eggs inside a pregnant female tortoise and then they were onto them. With terrible consequences. We have come across a number of dead female tortoises and in some cases we could ascertain that they were killed - lying on their backs with a trail of broken eggs clearly visible. Turned on their back the tortoises are of course defenseless. Cruel -- but survival favours the fittest and most adaptable --- the very intelligent Chacma baboon, hundreds of which inhabit Bosch Luys Kloof.
The largest tortoise shell picked up was nearly 50 cm long.February 2018 - Nature Guides
New nature guide
In January, Lanita Barnard ( 23 ), joined us as a new nature guide who will work with Bruce to entertain our guests. She took over from Christelle, the student who did her practical training here in 2017.
Trained as a nature guide and having worked in a number of reserves, Lanita has varied experience of and will also add some first hand knowledge of the trade in wildlife up in our northern provinces, the artificial rearing of young animals, the "colour variance" explosion ( and implosion ? ), etc.
We are happy that with her sunny and friendly personality she will bring an added pleasant element to our offerings, whether it be in the bush or at the lodge.February 2018 - Management
CAR WRECK IN PASS - "To Heaven & Gone"
The old car wreck that can be seen from our Pass has been identified ! It is a 1937 Plymouth P3.
This is how they looked in their prime ---
What happened and when remains a question. Look out for the sign "To Heaven & Gone".MANAGEMENT - December 2017
Our thanks to Pieter Olckers of Prince Albert who climbed down to the wreck, managed to trace the serial number and identified the car.
Goeie etes / Nice food!
Ik kreeg net bericht van Jan en Gerrie Wouters en zijn hebben het weer ontzettend goed bij jullie gehad. Zij zeiden dat jullie al hele goede kokke hadden, maar dat Hilda nog beter was. En dat heel veel restaurants daar veel van zouden kunnen leren. Dus dat is een groot compliment.
Saskia - Gemsbok Reizen, NederlandNovember 2017
Love is in the Air!
Spring has arrived.
The Birse-Stewart couple from Scotland visited us on the week-end of 20/22 October as part of their honeymoon in South Africa.
At the same time the Beukes/Morkel couple from our West Coast visited us and on the lovely afternoon were engaged.
They had a nice time and good company with also the De Villiers couple who visited us again after they enjoyed their 25th wedding anniversary here a few months ago!
Maybe something to do with our little road running past the chalets : "Route Sexy Too" (in competition with Route 62)October 2017
Old friends re-unite in the Boslus bar
We recently hosted guests Jaco and Georgina Steyn from Ceres , Cape at Bosch Luys Kloof. Georgina was pleasantly surprised to bump into an old friend in the Boslus bar, a 1963 Dias Magnum bottle of port , the label which she had designed 29 years ago! A limited selection of these bottles were released, and the label won an international prize at the Finat competition in The Hague, Holland, for the printwork done on it in 1988! Georgina says it is the first time she has seen one of these bottles since working on them nearly 30 years ago . This 1963 Vintage port, bottled from casks was released in 1988 as a commemoration 500 years after Bartholomew Diaz' landing in Mossel Bay in 1488.August 2017
The road to Bosch Luys Kloof
We are glad to announce that the road from Seweweekspoort through Bosch Luys Kloof pass to the Gamkapoort dam has finally received attention! It has been quite some time since our road has had a visit from Department of Roads’ big yellow grader and it wasn’t in great shape of late, but hats off to the Department of Roads for doing a good job! This is a servitude road for Water Affairs to reach the Gamkapoort dam at the eastern end of the reserve and maintenance thereof is the responsibility of roadworks, but after some heavy rains in the Swartberge in June washed away stream crossings in the area, they have been quite busy of late. The road has been well graded and the condition thereof is vastly improved.July 2017
Eland calves lighten the mood
The continuing drought ensures its day-to-day challenges, but Bosch Luys Kloof has received some good news when our guide spotted three eland calves among the herd. These calves were only a few days old and are a sure sign that the eland population is not negatively affected by the drought but still shows positive population growth. Calves can be dropped throughout the year after a gestation period of approximately 270 days and remain hidden by the mother for the first two weeks. Eland are highly adaptable to changing environments and calves can achieve a mass of 450kg by the end of their first year.July 2017
Spy in the bush
Our motion camera is proving to be quite the 'spy in the bush'. On 14 May around midday another honey badger was photographed strolling down an isolated kloof on the north eastern end of the reserve. Not long afterwards the same badger came back up past the camera triumphantly carrying a freshly killed dassie - lunch. Judging from the bite wounds to the dassies head we assume that the badger pulled the dassie from a crack in the rock where it had retreated to. This is interesting behaviour. Badgers are mostly nocturnal or crepuscular (active early morning/dusk). They might adopt diurnal habits (active at night and during the day, in shifts) where there is little to no human interference, or during winter months. The following day two badgers were once again photographed together in the same kloof. It is possible that badgers in this area have adapted their habits to specialize in also targeting dassies due to the abundance of this prey item. See photo's 64 & 65 on our Gallery Page
A third series of photographs of Cape Mountain leopard was also captured on 20 May to the west of the lodge. Judging from the three different shot sequences we have so far we can be fairly sure that at least two different cats have been photographed here.May 2017
'Karoo' is derived from the khoi language and directly translated means 'land of thirst/dry'. Similarly the word 'Cango' used widely in the area was the khoi name for the Swartberg mountains that translates basically to 'mountains of water'. Well this part of the Karoo has been living up to its name and reputation for a long time now, but finally on Saturday 8 April a shower of 21mm, with another 19mm falling the following afternoon quenched the thirst at Bosch Luys Kloof! In the 'Cango' mountains near Prince Albert, Thomas Bain's famous Swartberg PASS became IMPASSABLE. Luckily the Bosluiskloof pass was built mainly on shale rock and did not take any noteworthy damage and is passable.
Our river flowed for the first time in 15 months and the Karoo vegetation, as always, is quick to react to these favourable conditions. Within a week the otherwise grey bushes were covered in green shoots and many are now in flower.April 2017
Leopard on camera again
We have managed to capture another Cape Mountain Leopard on camera at Bosch Luys Kloof. Photographed around 20h00 on 12 April, the right hand side of the cat is in full view (head as well) this time but unfortunately it is hard to tell whether this is the same leopard previously photographed .The camera uses a PIR for night photography so four successive shots were possible with no flash shying the animal off.
This section of sparsely populated and unspoilt mountain wilderness is a haven for the Cape Mountain Leopard, and being such elusive creatures it comes as little surprise that author Justin Fox describes them as one of the 'Impossible Five'.April 2017
Heat & smoke waves
The severe drought in South Africa has added to extra high temperatures this summer. Since December 2015 temperatures are very much unpredictable.
The extended and widespread mountain and veld fires in the Western Cape had a definite effect even in our region.
There were no noteworthy fires on our side if the Swartberge but the warm air and smoke from the southern side, the Langeberge and as far as the coastal areas blew over to us. That lead to our valley not cooling down as much overnight as it would normally do.
What was really interesting was the movement of smoke filled air through the two Poorts - Seweweeks & Gamka - into our region. On some days we thought our mountain areas were also on fire.
On the positive side our impressions of the effect of the two Poorts is now confirmed. They form a kind of wind tunnel that sucks in air from the south and spread it over our valley.March 2017
Elusive leopard caught on camera
We finally have our elusive leopard on camera! In the early hours of the morning on 5 February what looks to be a female Cape Mountain Leopard was caught on our camera trap approaching a baboon carcass. Leopards are opportunistic cats and will feed on carrion.
Our nature guide / manager came across a "not so well looking" large male Chacma Baboon on an afternoon drive at one of our waterholes. The following day the baboon was found dead at the same spot. He moved the carcass a short distance from the water and set up his motion camera. That same night he captured the leopard on camera.
Have a look at the photo on our photo gallery on the web - nr 62 & 63.
The Cape Leopard is extremely shy and is almost never seen during daytime. But they are everywhere in the Western Cape! Fortunately there is no record that they have ever attacked the human species!February 2017
After a two year stretch at Bosch Luys Kloof Derick Theron has, as chefs do, moved on to tackle a new challenge. We wish him all the best in his career ahead and trust that his new clients will be equally as impressed with his culinary skills as the guests at Bosch Luys Kloof were.
Our new chef is Hilda Albertyn, an enthusiastic single lady with a wealth of knowledge and experience. She is nicknamed “Vere” (Feathers in English). Her mother sparked her enthusiasm at a young age, with 30 years of catering experience herself, and the love of food has played an integral part in her and her families life. She did her formal training at the renowned Warwick chef school at Hermanus in the Western Cape. She has worked as chef at amongst others Laborie (KWV, Paarl), La Fleur (Paarl), Feedem Food Services etc. She has also worked for two years as chef in England where she specialised in pastries. Vere has a thorough knowledge of the kitchen, kitchen stock and food management. We look forward to our next interesting phase with her!
Gerhard & Ans - ownersFebruary 2017
Strange Honey Badger behaviour
You can spend months even years in a given area without seeing certain species more than a handful of times, others you will never see. Our guide recently acquired a trail/motion camera and was extremely lucky on his first placement to capture not one but three mature honey badgers in a valley that seldom sees any human activity. The camera uses PIR (infra red) rather than a flash to photograph at night. A flash will often frighten animals off, making a second shot impossible. We were lucky enough to capture a series of photographs of the three badgers, possibly two males tailing a receptive female, as they set about their nightly activities. Honey Badgers are usually solitary, but will band together to mate, so to have evidence of three adults together is exciting. See photo's 60 & 61 on our Gallery page.December 2016
Bosch Luys Kloof pioneer trekkers!
Ed Meyer and his son in law, Chris Das, visited us recently. Ed's great grandfather, Carl Meyer and his wife Hanna, trekked from the Amalienstein Berlin Mission station in 1878 into the vast hinterland to start another mission station in Kimberley. Carl's father, moving here from Germany, started the mission station in Amalienstein in 1858. Carl, married Hanna Dietrich in the beautiful old church that is still the Lutheran Church in Amalienstein today!
They trekked to Kimberley in 1878 soon after the wedding, starting with an 18 ox-wagon. The Seweweeks Poort wagon route was completed in about 1864 and the Bosch Luys Kloof pass shortly thereafter.
Hanna was known as an adventurous lady who wouldn’t shy away from any new adventure. It is written that they thoroughly enjoyed the trek through the beautiful but rugged partly tamed Africa. At the confluence of two rivers (probably Gamka Poort Dam today) they parted with the oxen that had to return to Amalienstein and trekked on with a then "converted" mule wagon, pulled by 10 mules! To travel this same road today and to think about that very adventurous journey by oxwagon, was a nostalgic and emotional experience for Ed. That did not stop him from enjoying the visit and some good wine!October 2016
More about birding - Young enthusiasts!
We have been visited by the Buckham family earlier in the month. Apart from being fantastic guests two of the young guys, Thomas (13) and Adam (11), managed to list 63 bird species within their three day stay! Only two very experienced previous guests achieved a 60+ count.
Well done again guys!!
Birding is enjoyed by the family - during the visit their father was on a birding expedition in Panama!October 2016
A year for reptiles?
With a contagious admiration for nature the two Buckham boys who spotted and identified 63 different species of birds (see above) during their recent stay at Bosch Luys Kloof also photographed and identified a number of reptile species including Cape Cobra, Leopard Tortoise, Western Rock Skink and Western Three-striped Skink, Spotted Sand Lizard and Namaqua Sand Lizard and Southern Rock Agama during their stay.
John Huishamen from Cape Nature, who was cycling from Prince Albert to Seweweekspoort came across a Little Karoo Dwarf Chameleon crossing the Bosch Luys Kloof road in early October, and our nature guide spotted two different rock monitor lizards on three consecutive guided drives with guests in different locations on the reserve. Thusfar all good signs that the summer ahead will be one for the reptiles books!October 2016
We were visited by Vernon Head, the chairman of BirdLife South Africa, and his family in early September.September 2016
He wrote back to us -
"You should tell guests that it is possible to see over 40 species from the deck of a chalet! My final count from the front deck was 42 species, 39 of which were seen in two hours while having coffee on the first morning! This does not happen even in the Kruger National Park!"
Vernon is the author of "The Search for the Rarest Bird in the World", published in 2014 and worth a read.
His total spot over the three days was 65 species!
The Bain Connection
In 1862, Adam de Smidt completed construction of the route through Seweweekspoort, down the now historic and breathtaking Bosch Luys Kloof pass and on through Bosch Luys Kloof valley to Prince Albert. His brother-in-law, the man with the theodolite eye, Thomas Bain and his friend Dr Atherstone travelled along this road in 1871. In July we were thrilled to host the Bain family; Peter, Alison, Elizabeth and Georgina Bain at Bosch Luys Kloof. 145 years after the great mountain pass builder Thomas Bain travelled this road on horseback, his great grandson and his family travelled this road to Bosch Luys Kloof lodge…on four rubberized wheels. Both Peter and Alison are qualified pilots, and although they thoroughly enjoyed driving down their ancestors pass, suggested a suitable location on the reserve for a small runway…the theodolite eye seems to have been inherited.June 2016
Hiking, Trailrunning & MTB route - new
We are pleased to announce that we have recently completed a new trail for guests to enjoy. This latest one boasts some spectacular scenery, with viewpoints including one overlooking Bosch Luys Kloof River Canyon (one of our Big Five walks) and great views of Seweweekspoort peak (highest in Western Cape). There is a short circular version we have named 'Die Kruine' or 'The Crest' which is approx 4km, and then there is the longer version. We have dubbed this one 'To Moer and Gone', to compliment our 'To Hell n Gone' route ( The Beginning and The End ! ) The exact distance of this route from start to finish still needs to be ascertained, but roughly 10 km. A brilliant trail for both hikers and trailrunners alike, and dedicated possibly mountainbike (or downhill mountainbike) enthusiasts will be able to enjoy a few sections of the route on the saddle, though pushing or carrying will be necessary over other sections. Come and enjoy this new route.July 2016
Our Big Five & fitness
A German couple, Dietrich and Isolde Stobwasser, had a wonderful and very active seven night stay with us in February. Because they had the time on hand they have had the pleasure of visiting all five of our Big Five viewpoints - the first guests to achieve this in one stay! They also hiked two of our 4x4 routes, Shepherds Trail and the Ox Wagon route and joined in on a guided Land Rover drive with our manager, Bruce, on the last of our 4x4 routes, To Hell n Gone! In addition to all this they went on early morning walks before breakfast almost daily!
And------- they have reached the respectable age of seventy…the 'new' fifty!February 2016
Ford and the humble Gecko
Geckos frequently occur in thatch roofed houses. So they love Bosch Luys Kloof! Keeping unwanted insect numbers in check, they can be fun to watch…and now the mighty Ford Motor Co of the world is turning an interested eye towards them too!
Ford has been trying for years to find a solution to a re-cycling problem. The space between the often plastic interior parts of a motor car are filled with a type of sponge, which has to be glued in place for adhesion.
To separate the two for recycling is impossible - glue residue always remains. So they are investigating all possibilities to adhere the sponge to plastics without using glue, where the two separate easily when dissasembling.
In comes our Gecko! Ford has found that a gecko's toe pads need no moisture or surface tension to cling to most surfaces and also leave no residue!
So, through biomimicry, Ford is now developing a process to synthetically imitate the toe pads of Gecko's!
From : "Environment"February 2016
We hosted a freelance travel blogger and avid trailrunner at Bosch Luys Kloof recently. She crammed as many activities as possible into her short stay with us. On her day of arrival, a cycle trip to and back from Zoar (R62 turnoff) through the iconic Seweweekspoort and a guided nature drive through the reserve. Acclimatized, the following morning she did a trailrun along a shortened version of our Shepherds Trail 4x4 route before breakfast, and cycled to the Gamkapoortdam and back afterwards, managing to fit in some R & R upon her return to the lodge. The following morning before breakfast she trailran our challenging Wagon Route to Beaufort 4x4 track before breakfast, in 1.5hrs…a round trip which takes hikers up to 4hrs to complete from the lodge, and can take longer in a 4x4!
She rated Bosch Luys Kloof as a destination with wonderful MTB & trailrunning opportunities. Confirming the views expressed by other guests.
We are planning to open another route in 2016 that promises to be spectacular.
Keep going Taryn !!January 2016
Mid January our guide accompanied by four British guests paid a quick visit to our 'Wedding Koppie' to watch the sunrise on an early morning drive. Much to their surprise, they had just reached the top of the hill when a honey badger trotted slowly and defiantly past the front of the Land Rover. From their vantage point they were able to watch this tenacious little guy lope off down the hill and cross the road below before dissappearing behind a rocky outcrop. Honey badger at Bosch Luys Kloof is a rare sighting, especially in daylight.January 2016
After a few days of intense heat and a hot beginning to 2016 in general, the clouds finally decided to break over our mountain fringed valley. On 23 January following a hot and humid morning, 44mm of rain bucketed down on Bosch Luys Kloof (measured at the lodge) within the space of half an hour! The Bosch Luys Kloof river came down, the Karoo Gold (Rhigozum obovatum) bushes were covered in flower within the week, and the air was filled with that beautiful smell of a wet Karoo!January 2016
We noticed a fresh leopard spoor a couple of weeks ago on one of the drives through the sandy acacia and ganna veld along the dry Bosch Luys Kloof river bed. And behold, on 1 January 2016 returning from a late afternoon drive with seven guests the leopard showed herself! About one kilometre from the lodge shortly after viewing a group of kudu and a single red hartebeest with the spotlight, a pair of reddish eyes peered back at the group on the Land Rover from quite high up a north facing rocky slope. We stopped and watched a leopard, shoulder blades pointed upwards as she crawled, coming slowly down the slope and dissappearing amongst the acacia thicket.
The Cape Leopard is very shy and to spot them is a great experience, even to us.
Bruce - Manager & nature guideJanuary 2016
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