The nicest damn cave I’ve ever slept in!
The Kagga Kamma Nature Reserve nestles in the magnificent wilderness area of the Cederberg mountain range in South Africa's Western Cape province. The reserve is renowned for its scenic Karoo beauty and dramatic rock formations, rich and fascinating Khoi-san cultural heritage, ancient rock art sites and a night sky made for stargazing at the milky Way.
The road there from Cape Town takes about 3 hours (+- 250 km). Head through the Huguenot Tunnel, keep going past Ceres to a little town called Op-die-Berg – stop for a roosterkoek and to stretch the legs at Die Tolhuis here - then back on the road and keep an eye out for the sign-post that says “Kagga Kamma”, pointing down a long winding dirt road into the ‘wilds’.
We hit this gravel road at 20km an hour in my VW polo – you’d fly through in a 4x4 or a car with high ground clearance, but for those in city cars, fear not, my polo made it unhurt as did another guests i10 and even an e-class Mercedes, although the driver of this car took the road in at a very, very, cautious and slow pace! Make sure your petrol tank is full and your spare tyre in order before getting on the dirt road and if you do arrive at your destination with a deflated tyre the lodge has puncture and repair kits and willing hands to help patch you up in no time.
We’re struck by the sudden quiet, as we wind our way through the other-worldly like landscape and the feeling of still, calm, remoteness, as though entering another time far away from the hustle of modern day life. The uniquely beautiful landscape makes for a remarkable setting for the Kagga Kamma Lodge.
We slept in the lodge’s trade-mark “Cave” Suite, integrated with the natural sandstone rock formations that form the backdrop of the lodge. This isn’t your camping, hard-ground type cave, but a comfortable, double bed, en-suite bathroom, electrically lit, kettle, hairdryer and air-conditioned cave (Thank goodness!).
Alternatively, choose a spacious Hut Suite which is great for families and resemble the traditional dwellings of the clans of the area many years ago. For a truly remarkable experience, the beautiful Open-Air Rooms allows for an entire night sleeping under the stars - I’d recommend booking this in summer as the nights can be very cold in winter!
There isn’t a huge amount to do at Kagga Kamma but if you are a nature-lover or adventurer or there for relaxation – it is an absolute joy. And with almost no cell reception and no televisions, there’s no excuse not to unwind!
Numerous hiking trails cover the area starting from 4km to 7km and 9km in length, and you may even be lucky enough to spot some of the buck that live on the reserve while out walking. When you return there’s a swimming pool waiting to cool down in. There’s also a restaurant, bar, spa and lounge area to enjoy, or simply sit on your own veranda and soak-in the vast landscape.
The Lodge is also ideal for avid 4x4 drivers as it offers rugged and rocky trails where drivers can push their cars to the limit. For guests who do not have 4x4 vehicles, safari drives and quad biking trips are available. We decided on the sundowner trip. The drive headed up to the second-highest point in the reserve by safari style land-cruiser, with our knowledgeable guide stopping to point out animal tracks, zebra, eland, and some of the indigenous plant life. From the top of the reserve we looked out over the Tankwa Karoo on one side, and the Cederberg mountains on the other - the 360-degree view was spectacular. We found a spot amongst the rocks, enjoyed a drink and snacks and got ready to watch the sun go down. It did not disappoint, the sunset was a stunning uninterrupted, true African sky.
Kagga Kamma is a treat for travellers looking for a unique and inspiring experience. If you want somewhere to relax, in an area of startling and unusual beauty, #Openyourcity and head 3 hours out of Cape Town and discover the world of Kagga Kamma.
- For the romantic’s cave 14 and 7 are set a little part from the others for more privacy.
- Best additional to add to your stay is the bushman drive – part game drive, part cultural cave paintings excursion you get a great feel for Kagga Kamma all in one.
- Kagga Kamma is not a safari destination. However, little game and buck are found on the reserve.
- The nearest shop and medical facility are 60 - 100 km. There’s a very basic curio style store at the lodge, and fresh baked bread can be bought from the restaurant.
- The gravel road isn’t in the best condition, especially the closer you get to the lodge, so give yourself enough time to take it relatively easy through this section.
- Stay for at least two nights, the drive for one night doesn’t give you time to really unwind and enjoy the place.