Gamtoos Valley

Regarded as the gateway to the Baviaanskloof Wilderness area, the Gamtoos Valley is a treasure trove of beautiful scenery and interesting landmarks

Eastern Cape Tourist AttractionsThe Gamtoos Valley, Eastern Cape

Regarded as the gateway to the Baviaanskloof Wilderness area, the valley is a treasure trove of beautiful scenery and interesting landmarks that stretch all the way up to Komdomo, where the Baviaanskloof route begins.

Where? Gamtoos Valley Region, Eastern Cape, South Africa

Overnight? See Gamtoos Valley accommodation, in Eastern Cape

The name Gamtoos catches in the back of the throat with a guttural stop so typical of the wonderfully descriptive Afrikaans language.

The word probably originated from Dutch settlers, who called the Khoikhoi clan in the area ‘Gamtousch’, although others argue that it means ‘the roaring lion’ and refers to the sound of the Gamtoos in flood. Lying adjacent to the Garden Route, just over an hour’s drive from Port Elizabeth, the Gamtoos Valley is home to the three little villages of Hankey, Loerie and Patensie, and is a vibrant mix of citrus, potato and tobacco farming that forms a collage of cultivated fields and orchards.

Regarded as the gateway to the Baviaanskloof Wilderness area, the valley is a treasure trove of beautiful scenery and interesting landmarks that stretch all the way up to Komdomo, where the Baviaanskloof route begins.

The little town of Loerie hosts the Naartjie Festival in September and Hankey is not only the oldest town in the Gamtoos valley but also claims to have the largest Sun Dial in the southern hemisphere - 36.4 metres across.

Here too lie the remains of Sarah ‘Saartjie’ Bartman, a Khoi-San woman, also known as the Hottentot Venus, who was ‘persuaded’ to leave the country for Europe where she was used as a circus attraction, dying finally in France. It was only in 2002 that her remains were finally returned to South Africa.

Popular Towns in the Gamtoos Valley Region

Hankey

Overnight? Accommodation in Hankey
Hankey is one of three towns that make up the Gamtoos Valley - an exceptionally beautiful part of the world due mainly to its ability to remain largely undetected and thus unspoilt - that stretches up to Komdomo and the start of the Baviaanskloof...

More information and photographs: Hankey Information

Loerie

Overnight? Accommodation in Loerie
The little town of Loerie - probably named due to the prominence in the Baviaanskloof and surrounding area of the rather elusive Knysna Loerie that reveals itself only when absolutely necessary - is one of three towns in the Gamtoos River Valley...

More information and photographs: Loerie Information

Patensie

Overnight? Accommodation in Patensie
The little town of Patensie lies virtually at the mouth of the Baviaanskloof Wilderness area, hidden away in the south western corner of the Eastern Cape only an hour’s drive from Port Elizabeth - it’s the last stop before entering the wilderness...

More information and photographs: Patensie Information

Baviaanskloof

Overnight? Accommodation in Baviaanskloof
Baviaanskloof, the area, includes the Karoo towns of Willowmore and Steytlerville as well as a number of small stock farms, and the little town of Patensie lies at the start of the gorge - the last stop, so to speak, before entering the wilderness...

More information and photographs: Baviaanskloof Information

Did you know?

The word Gamtoos comes from the Khoi language and means ‘the roaring lion’, referring to the sound of the river when it comes down in flood.

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