The Bontebok National Park is an extraordinary conservation success story.
In the early 1800s three landowners recognised that Bontebok were about to become extinct – they could only identify 17 – and so they set aside part of their land as a reserve. In 1931 the first Bontebok National Park was established near Bredasdorp and later moved to the current location. There are now believed to be c.3,000 Bontebok in existence, and c.200 are in this park near Swellendam. The Breede River, which runs through the Park, was wide and calm on our visit.
We enjoy walking in the UK and Europe and visited the Park to walk The Aloe Trail. We parked in a designated car park and set off. Do not expect UK or French waymarking, or an ordnance survey map – just use your common sense when following the photocopy map (possibly illegible) which you will be given at the entrance when you buy your day ticket!
The trail leads to the Lang Elsie’s Kraal Rest Camp with views over the river. I would love to return and spend a few nights here – I can imagine the sound of frogs in the evening, or even silence. The trail passes the site of Lang Elsie’s Kraal and then leads up the hill with lovely views to the Langeberg Mountains from the top. There are interesting plants and flowers on top of the hill (including the paintbrush plant) before the path heads downwards again to the Breede River.
Down at river level at the Rest Camp comes into view again and from this point the loop around the hill is completed and we returned to the car park via the same path on which we set out.
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The Breede River Valley