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  • Writer's pictureClare Travis

Bonniedale Adventures

Updated: Jan 6

This place was a really lucky find for us. I first heard about it because there was a 30km trail race, in December 2016, that ended there. We ended up not doing the race, luckily becuase it was 34C, but stayed there anyway. And have had another enjoyable holiday there since. The farm is situated in the Attaquaskloof, which is in the Outeniqua Mountains, inland from Mossel Bay going towards Oudtshoorn. Driving from Cape Town it is about 5 and a half hours, with some very happy faces, ready for adventures!

There is all sorts of accommodation, including camping, chalets, caravans and a guesthouse. We stayed both times in the same permanent caravan. It is super rustic and basic, no electircity and shared ablutions. The caravan has a little kitchen and outside there is a braai place. It was perfect for our needs.

The camping area, which includes the caravans, is quite spacious, so you don't end up on top of other people, but get to meet the neighbours. Normally including some children who become besotted with the dogs.

Our first stay there the weather was hot, I mean over 30C hot. The second time was also in summer, but there was a little rain and it was a bit cooler. On the property there are a few spots to take a swim and cool off. Near the chalets is a swimming pool, it is the closest walk from the camping area, but pretty boring to swim in a pool. A little further walk you get to a nice big dam. There is a big grassy area where you can picnic or just lie in the sun (this is where the race ended). At the dam there are a few boats to play in, including a wonky pedal boat, and a rope bridge. They advertise a foofy slide, which you need to book in advance, but I have never seen it in operation. If you are keen to walk a little further, past the dam is a secluded rock pool.

Now onto the important stuff, the adventures! The farm is full of crazy 4x4 routes/hiking trails. A lot of them I can't even believe someone can drive up! On your arrival they supply you with a map of the farm and you can book for the 4x4 trails, and for which you can get a guide, who can pull you out if needed. We did all of the trails as runs and they were great, if a little hair raising in places. The highest you can go is up to the old Sunbird camp, which has beautiful views of the farm and surrounding mountains. There is some pretty flora and little creatures. There is also a resident troop of baboons that shout from afar, but they won't come near humans. And some horses and cows roaming around near the river. You can pretty much do whatever length trail you want as they all link together, and if that isn't far enough there is a long gravel road that traverses the kloof.

During our first stay there we took a drive down to Mossel Bay to do the St. Blaize Trail. It is a cliff path trail that runs from Mossel Bay lighthouse to Dana bay. The trail is 13.5km one way, so we did it as an out and back, making it 27km. We started quite early to avoid the heat of the day, but it was still pretty hot. We also luckily went when there weren't too many people. I don't know how busy it normally gets, but can imagine that the first few km's from the lighthouse can be quite busy. The views are amazing and the trail is all single track, some smooth and some wonderfully technical.

We will definitely be going back soon, to stay at Bonniedale Holiday Farm, as well as to do the St.Blaize trail again. There is also a zipline that has just opened in Mossel Bay, the longest over sea in the world. So we will see if we have the guts to do that too.

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