The Karomino

At Bosch Luys Kloof, we offer our own local version of Spain’s Camino de Santiago (or the Way of Saint James): The Karomino – a week of hiking and spiritual reflection. 

No need to carry big, heavy backpacks!

Background

The Camino de Santiago (The way of St James) is well known worldwide as a spiritual experience to many. It comprises a range of many footpaths leading eventually to the cathedral Santiago at Compostela in North-East Spain. The various historical routes have been pilgrims’ routes over the ages, notably since the 8th century.

Pilgrims, solely or in groups, walked the routes on foot (maybe with a donkey sometimes?) for various reasons but mostly to gain spiritual growth. They would usually start from a point near their home and end at the cathedral at Compostela. There are of course many myths and legends that have gathered over the ages.

Over the last 30 to 50 years these routes have also been marketed as tourist attractions – still with the aim of being spiritual walks, but basically open for every person to decide what he or she wants to personally gain from the experience.

The Karomino offers a week of hiking in a very special safe and isolated area – sleeping in private chalets, prepared meals, chill time at the lodge or pool — and you can hike just 5 km or more than 20 km per day with only the scenery and roaming game to greet you.

Embark on a different trail every day, starting either at the lodge or dropped off at / directed to the starting point. In some cases, you can be picked up after your hike. Group bookings would do the same trail together daily. 

Your start in the morning will depend on the time of year, but in winter it will probably be after a full breakfast. The trails take anywhere from 2.5 to 4.5 hours each to complete, depending on your pace, stops, etc. 

The reserve offers a diversity of beautiful and varied hills and valleys to explore. It is a very special destination in itself. There is nothing that man can add to its natural beauty. There is some correlation between the Karoo and parts of Spain.

Many guests have made the remark that Bosch Luys Kloof could well be regarded as some kind of a retreat because they feel a spiritual presence in the stillness, remoteness and isolation of the valley.

When we bought the 14 000 ha Karoo mountain wilderness way back in 1996 it was a deed of faith and I put up a big wooden cross in front of the old farmhouse to always remind us that we had the privilege of some “holy intervention” to have been so fortunate as to acquire this unique piece of land. Over the last number of years this spiritual awareness has inspired Ans to first build a down to earth little labyrinth for all to enter and experience as a spiritual enhancer. She later on also developed a spiritual walkway up the little hill (where the cross was moved to some years ago) that overlooks the valley and in 2018 had made and added a 2,5 meter high metal Angel overlooking the valley. Now christened Angel Hill!

We realised that Bosch Luys Kloof can perhaps fill a gap as a mini “Camino”. We have found over the years that there were many little paths over the land that were used by earlier pioneers. These date back to the late 18th century when pioneers trekked inland and stayed over at places where they found ample water and grazing. They usually stayed there as long as the land lived up to their requirements. For sure there were footpaths of San and Khoi people as well. So there is a distant “link”.

Contributing activities to “Karomino” experience already existing at the reserve are –

  1. Bosch Luys Kloof already offers various developed walking trails that cover the greater reserve – many following parts of the old walking or horse paths. Special is the fact the all the routes are on the property itself.
  2. Our Petite Chatres Labyrinth lends itself to start off every day with a cleansing and strengthening of the mind.
  3. Our Spiritual walkway up Angel Hill and spending time at the top absorbing the space and silence, maybe after returning from a hike.

They form the three pillars of the “Karomino”!

There are myths about shells that were picked up on the Camino – and we have picked up shells as well! The reserve and this part of the Karoo was under water millions of years ago. The fossils often found here are all aquatic specimens. Some can be observed at the lodge.

The reserve offers a diversity of beautiful and varied hills and valleys to explore. It is a very special destination in itself. There is nothing that man can add to its natural beauty. There is some correlation between the Karoo and parts of Spain.

Many guests have made the remark that Bosch Luys Kloof could well be regarded as some kind of a retreat because they feel a spiritual presence in the stillness, remoteness and isolation of the valley.

A little labyrinth for all to enter and experience as a spiritual enhancer was built and also a spiritual walkway up the little hill near the chalets.

We realised that Bosch Luys Kloof can perhaps fill a gap as a mini “Camino”. We have found over the years that there were many little paths over the land that were used by earlier pioneers. These date back to the late 18th century when pioneers trekked inland and stayed over at places where they found ample water and grazing. They usually stayed there as long as the land lived up to their requirements. For sure there were footpaths of San and Khoi people as well. So there is a distant “link”.

Contributing activities to “Karomino” experience already existing at the reserve are –

  1. Bosch Luys Kloof already offers various developed walking trails that cover the greater reserve – many following parts of the old walking or horse paths. Special is the fact the all the routes are on the property itself.
  2. Our Petite Chatres Labyrinth lends itself to start off every day with a cleansing and strengthening of the mind.
  3. Our Spiritual walkway up Angel Hill and spending time at the top absorbing the space and silence, maybe after returning from a hike.

They form the three pillars of the “Karomino”!

There are myths about shells that were picked up on the Camino – and we have picked up shells as well! The reserve and this part of the Karoo was under water millions of years ago. The fossils often found here are all aquatic specimens. Some can be observed at the lodge.

The Experience

The reserve offers 10 different walking trails and all are well described and marked. The experience will start on a Sunday afternoon when the group will be welcomed, booked in and briefed on the workings. You will receive a file with a summary of all the different trails. Guests will enjoy a full dinner and get ready for the week ahead –the full Karomino being 7 nights – Sunday till Sunday (Not 7 weeks like Seweweekspoort!) Every day, starting on the Monday, a different trail will be challenged and you will either start at the lodge area or be dropped off at or directed to the starting point. In some cases you can be picked up after your hike. We recommend an early morning visit to the small labyrinth.

The start in the morning will depend on the time of the year but in winter it will probably be after a full breakfast. The trails can be 2.5 to 4.5 hours each, obviously depending on your speed, stops, etc. Once you are back you can either go to your chalet for a shower or go straight up Angel Hill to ponder there for a while. The rest of the day is for relaxation, spend time at the lodge or pool and later visit the lodge for a great dinner and get-together to exchange experiences or if you so prefer, or spend time on your own.

It is up to the individual to decide whether to make this a spiritual experience or just a week “away from it all ” experience. Although the full week experience is guaranteed to have a marked positive influence on your being, a half week package is possible – being Sunday to Thursday, 4 nights – three trails covered. Or Wednesday to Saturday.

Only one full week group will be accommodated at a time (depending on numbers)so as to keep everything peaceful. The minimum number is two persons. Groups will walk together – same choice of trail per day. Groups can be 4 to 18 max.

This is not a challenge of the fittest – it is also a challenge of the mind and soul. To gain peace & mindfulness of things we should be grateful for. You can expect to meet or see nobody on the hike, only game – and they are truly wild animals. Bosch Luys Kloof is not a zoo. Wear closed shoes and be aware of snakes or scorpions. They will not attack you, just watch were you walk. 

The walks /trails

There are details on our website pertaining to all trails, we suggest you download them beforehand. At the lodge is a large scale map showing all the marked out trails for easy reference. Every trail offers a special and somewhat different environment, landscape, topography, vegetation, etc. 

Depending on your intentions, it is possible to link some of the hikes together. Ask management for advice.

The trails are (click trail for more information):

Name of Trail Distance Grading /10
Bosluiskloof Pass 9.0 km 5
To Moer & Gone 9.3 km 8
To Hell & Gone 21.0 km 5
Con se pad 6.2 km 3
Oxwagon Route 11.9 km 7
Dwijka Trail 11.5 km 8
Lange Rug Route 7.1 km 6
Shepherd’s Trail 12 km 6
Rooderand Trail 4.7 km 5
Historic Route 9 km+ 2

* Out of 10

The selection will depend on your personal choice but also on your fitness and ability. You will book in at the lodge every day before you start and after you have returned. It is recommended that you do not start with the more challenging trails first.

Hiking is a bit like life… The journey only requires you to put one foot in front of the other… again and again and again. And if you allow yourself opportunity to be present throughout the entirety of the trek, you will witness beauty every step of the way…’

- Anonymous

What you need

  1. Bring all your personal necessities, incl. sun block, energy bars etc. 
  2. Footgear is important as you are walking “off road” through the veld, many times along game paths. A Walking stick is highly recommended, a third leg is useful while walking on the sides of hills, through drainage lines, etc.

When is Best time of the year?

“Winter” time will probably suit more guests this being April till September. This is a summer rainfall area. Rain is sparse, so not really a factor to worry about. Days are usually nice but evenings are cold in winter.

Some guests, we have learned over time, prefer the warm and even hot days. Then you start at dawn and finish your walk by 09h00. The hottest time of the year is Jan to March. Remember this is Karoo dry heat – you need more water.

Who can do?

You will have a “soft landing” every day – great meals at the lodge and a wonderful chalet to rest in!

An indemnity form will be required when booking.

Booking

Email to us directly – info@boschluyskloof.co.za – with your intentions and to enquire about availability.