If 2022 is the year you want to be more adventurous, then look no further than your backyard.
Cape Town’s Bergrivier region is off the beaten track and the perfect place for local adventure seekers to seek thrills, make memories and satisfy their wanderlust.
The Bergrivier region is a beautiful area known for its open spaces and dramatic landscapes, which is peppered with small towns that offer a huge array of activities and adventures.
Nomonde Ndlangisa, CEO of Bergrivier Tourism, said the region offers incredible outdoor, water sports and camping options.
“Whether it is camping, birdwatching, river cruising, canoeing, fishing, hiking, mountain biking, horse-riding, paragliding, eating, drinking, or museum trawling – there are so many adventures to be had in the Bergrivier area that visitors are truly spoilt for choice, which is great news for people yearning to grab life with both hands this year.
“All these towns promise a great escape for the entire family, but without huge crowds, meaning visitors can keep to Covid-19 social distancing protocols as well,” said Ndlangisa.
Bergrivier Tourism has supplied a list of some of the top must-do adventures for 2022 – and where to find them.
The West Coast village of Velddrif hugs the banks of the Berg River, just a few kilometres from where the river enters the ocean at St Helena Bay.
The town is one of the most popular bird-watching sites in South Africa, and the top bird-watching spots in the area include Rocher Pan, Rooibaai, and Laaiplek harbour.
Take a cruise up the Berg River for the best bird watching experience.
Velddrif is perfectly located to offer a myriad of activities to water-sport enthusiasts, such as canoeing and kayaking, boat trips on the Crackling Rosie, Knot Xtreme and Tollie’s River Cruises, sailing with Port Owen Sailing Charters, surfing, skiing, kite-boarding, stand-up paddling – and so much more. The Berg River is also a fishing hotspot. For some surf fishing, try the Dwarskersbos beach by the Soverby Lapa.
When it comes to camping, Velddrif has many options such as the Kliphoek Rivier Oord, Kuifkopvisvanger camp site, Knorvarkie, Happy Campers, and the camp site in Dwarskersbos.
For a culinary adventure, be sure to try Bokkoms (salted and dried fish - a unique West Coast delicacy) in Bokkom Laan or visit the Kokerboom Kaas Creamery to sample their range of artisanal cheeses.
There are many options for fresh seafood, from the Riviera Hotel, which boasts a prime spot on the Bergriver, to the fine dining to be experienced at Russels On The Port in Port Owen. Velddrif is, in fact, a foodie’s paradise – this area offers it all from eclectic and rustic to fine dining or take-aways, enjoyed as fun family picnics.
Those looking for a cultural experience will love a visit to the historic Bokkom Laan, which is the oldest road in the town - and a Heritage site - that snakes up the edge of the Berg River.
Visit the art gallery and eclectic shops dotted along this quaint dirt road – all businesses that are run out of quaint, historic old fishing sheds.
The Fisheries Museum near the Laaiplek Harbour is also well worth a visit to find out about the colourful history of the fishing industry along this coast.
Piketberg, which is nestled at the foot of the Piketberg Mountain range, draws visitors looking to enjoy the stunning natural surrounds and the abundant outdoor activities.
Among these is the newly developed hiking trail from Goedverwacht to Piket-Bo-Berg. For mountain bike enthusiasts, there is an excellent trail on the Retreat Guest Farm, which can be arranged for day visitors.
Kleine Paradys is well worth a visit and offers camping, canoeing, and fishing on a catch and release basis.
Another recommended camp site is Kruistementvlei in Piket-Bo-Berg.
For bird lovers, the nearby Verlorenvlei at Redelinghuys is an incredible spot. The Jakkalskloof 4x4 route in Redelinghuys is a great outing for 4x4 enthusiasts, and game viewing is available at the Goudkop Bush & Detox Camp.
For history buffs, Piketberg boasts a unique and fascinating self-guided tour that takes visitors on a journey back in time to experience the rich history and historic buildings of this beautiful village.
The Piketberg Historical Route is the best way to experience the heritage of this town, with its gorgeously restored cottages and the imposing neo-gothic style Dutch Reformed Church.
The town and nearby surroundings offer a wide selection of eateries to cater to all tastes.
A visit to Org-de-Rac, the local organic winery, is a must to sample their wine and cheese pairing, as well as the fresh oysters served with Methode Cap Classique.
Porterville is a quaint village nestled on the slopes of the Olifant's River Mountains at the base of the Groot Winterhoek Wilderness Area.
Long known as the paragliding and hang-gliding capital, Porterville offers a variety of hiking trails to fascinating destinations like De Hel (the hell) and De Tronk (the jail) in the Groot Winterhoek, where impressive rock formations can be found.
There is also an uphill waterfall trail at Waterval (a hugely popular camping spot), which is dotted with 22 waterfalls snaking their way down the mountainside, interspersed with crystal clear pools for a cooling dip.
For those keen to truly test their adrenalin levels, there are companies that offer tandem-paragliding and hang-gliding experiences off the Dasklip Pass and at Pampoenfontein.
Bird watchers can also expect to find an abundance of feathered friends at Pampoenfontein, Beaverlac (another incredibly popular camping site) and in the Groot Winterhoek.
Those keen to throw in a line can opt for some fishing at the local municipal dam in Porterville, as well as the privately-owned dam on the Houdconstant Farm.
Every Saturday, visitors can also pop in at the Houdconstant Country Market, which offers something for everyone, from delicious food to tractor and pony rides for the children.
Porterville also boasts an artisanal gin distillery in the mountains above the town. Tygerkloof Distillery is the home of Ginsmith Gins, and visitors can enjoy a tapas and gin tasting experience at this beautiful mountain distillery.
For more information on these towns and where to stay, eat and things to do visit https://bergriviertourism.co.za/bergrivier/