Eastern Cape DestinationsLoerie, Baviaanskloof
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 that serves as something of a gateway to the Baviaanskloof.
Loerie is probably best known for its annual Naartjie festival during September during which, obviously, naartjies are the main attraction, but visitors are also able to sample a variety of vegetables and food and there is a music stage and a naartjie-eating competition that makes for great excitement. It would be fair to describe Loerie as relatively small. The village consists of little more than a railway station - used initially to transport limestone, it now serves as the finish of the annual Great Train relay between the friendly city and Loerie - a church, a fistful of houses and a local store. But Loerie forms the first port of call for many a traveller heading this way from Port Elizabeth, where it lies flanked by the foothills of the Elands and Groot Winterhoek Mountains.
The relatively unknown Stinkhout Berg Nature Reserve lies wedged between Loerie and Hankey, the Cockscomb Mountain serving as a major landmark thereof; and the beautiful, fertile valley is an awesome blend of nature, agriculture, beauty and wilderness that makes it a special place to which to escape.