Eastern Cape DestinationsStudtis, Baviaanskloof
It is a telling sign when the guesthouse establishments in a place advertise that they offer Eskom electrical power to guests, and indeed the little town of Studtis also claims remoteness as one of its major selling points, despite being relatively close to major tourist destinations like Knysna and Graaf Reinet, and only 120 west of Port Elizabeth.
Studtis, you see, lies in the heart of the Baviaanskloof - that section of wild, scenic beauty that is a complete exit from the hum drum, fast-paced lifestyle so many of us undergo, and an entry into a wilderness experience of rugged mountains, outdoor living and a commune with nature that is difficult to beat. Baviaanskloof is a valley that lies between the Baviaanskloof Mountains and the Kouga Mountains in the Eastern Cape, a wilderness area that encompasses not only the valley but also huge tracts of land as well. This beautiful area claims an amazing biodiversity that led to its status as a World Heritage Site.
Studtis is one of few areas that has a good quality gravel road and is suitable for just about any type of vehicle (a lot of the Baviaanskloof is navigable only with a 4X4). The town lies on the R332 that links Uniondale with Patensie and Hankey, the lower portion of which (the part closest to Patensie) needs a 4X4 to complete. The town shares its name with the Studtis Poort, considered one of the prettier parts through which to drive, and central to any journey through the kloof. It's a good base from which to explore the kloof.
Most of the area not given over to wilderness is farmland dominated by olive groves, cattle, wild game, oranges, potatoes, wheat, lucerne and tobacco, but the major reason for entering the Baviaanskloof is the unspoiled natural beauty and the unique and certainly unforgettable experience of the wild as it still can be.