The Kagga Kamma website says: Rugged, Remote, Captivating. A truly unique environment
Although this description is spot-on, nothing prepares you for this truly exceptional travel experience in a part of South Africa that is quite different. When one arrives at Kagga Kamma, the first thought is that there is something “other-worldly” about the terrain and the rock formations. Statements like “This is what it could feel like to be on Mars” and “The shape of some of these rocks reminds me of sleeping dinosaurs” became commonplace. The sandstone rock formations don’t look real – they tower above you, they are knobbly and gnarled. Huge boulders are supported by small contorted rocks, defying gravity! It was all quite bizarre! We could have been back in the Stone Age!
On that note, we lightheartedly likened ourselves to the Flintstones, the modern Stone Age family. We travelled with friends of ours who called us Fred and Wilma, while they were referred to as Barney and Betty Rubble, the Flintstone’s neighbours! We even sent our children a WhatsApp, advising them that the Flintstones and the Rubbles had arrived!
But that is where the likening to the Stone Age stopped. This offbeat resort was extraordinary. Extraordinarily beautiful. Extraordinarily comfortable. Extraordinary hospitality.
We had booked in for one night, and regretted that we hadn’t booked for at least two to three nights. Kagga Kamma turned out to be one of the best weekends we have had in a long time – the scenery was spectacular, the accommodation luxurious, the meals must have been prepared by a MasterChef lookalike and the activities and tours were unique and fascinating.
On the way into Kagga Kamma, you do need to be prepared for a 40km dirt road, but trust me, it’s worth enduring the road!
There is a variety of accommodation. We slept in a “cave” suite. “Cave” suites have been constructed to integrate with the natural sandstone formation, blending into the environment seamlessly. There was nothing lacking in this man-made suite – complete with ensuite bathroom, and equipped with an air-conditioner, coffee/tea making facilities, bathrobes, slippers and complimentary toiletries.
In addition, there are thatched hut suites which resemble the traditional dwellings of the San clans that lived on the reserve so many years ago.
Guests have the option of sleeping under the starry African night sky in a Star suite or Outcrop Open Air room overlooking the Cederberg. These open air rooms are situated on a remote rocky outcrop, far away from the Lodge, and are reputed to be the first sleep-out facility of their kind. These open air rooms boast the glittering Milky Way as their ceiling, and this unforgettable experience comes with an indulgent outdoor shower, a queen-size bed, a natural rock pool and a “star bath”! If you are an adventurous, young-at-heart explorer, this could be perfect for your significant 40th or 50th wedding anniversary!
There is also timeshare accommodation and camping facilities. The campsites are located in an untouched natural environment – and provide a real wilderness escape. We chatted at length to a young family from Paarl who were loving their weekend, camping at Kagga Kamma.
The activities are numerous. You can explore the nature reserve on foot. They have 4, 7 and 9 km trails, all very clearly marked. Your only instruction is that you inform Reception prior to going on the hike and let them know when you are back.
There are morning nature drives, sundowner trips, late night nature drives and a must-do Rock Art Tour, where you get the wonderful opportunity to view and learn about San Rock Art and Culture. Some of the paintings date back 6000 years! Our young guide, Marius, was very pleasant and really knew his stuff. A Swedish couple who love South Africa and come back every year to explore different parts of the country had decided to enjoy every single nature drive while they were there! One doesn’t go to Kagga Kamma for the game-viewing – they are not in abundance, although we did see eland, zebra, bontebok, springbok and oryx. But this didn’t matter, as we were entranced with the lay of the land on the nature drives. On the other hand, twitchers will love Kagga Kamma with the prolific birdlife.
If you are into stargazing, and would like to learn a little more, Kagga Kamma is the perfect place to view the night stars and a trained guide will identify specific stars and constellations. On offer too, is the Spa which offers a variety of treatments, 4×4 routes and if you are into golf, there is even a driving range on the saltpan!
Dinner under the stars in the boma was such fun! It did get very cold, but the staff had blankets on hand and a roaring fire in the middle of the boma. The buffet breakfast and a la carte meals were, without exception, delicious. And speaking of staff – this is warm and friendly Karoo hospitality at its best. Nothing is too much trouble.
Kagga Kamma is an absolute must. If even 10% of the above is of interest, book a trip. You won’t be sorry.
And the cherry on the top is that Kagga Kamma offers a 45% pensioner discount for a midweek stay. It doesn’t get any better than this!
Thank you, Kagga Kamma, for a totally memorable stay! I will be back!!
Article written by Marilyn Hallett, You’ve Earned It
You’ve Earned It / YEI, an online multi-platform media company, is the brand synonymous with South African over-60s – baby boomers, seniors, pensioners and retirees. YEI, an invaluable resource for seniors, is dedicated to serving the South African senior market.
Images, courtesy of Kagga Kamma Nature Reserve