In 1986 Willie de Waal, Pieter de Waal and Pieter Loubser bought Kagga Kamma as well as three adjacent farms. The owners immediately saw the potential of the beautiful and secluded 15 000 hectare properties.
In 1987 a small stone cottage was built to allow the owners to entertain friends at Kagga Kamma. It was love at first sight for the visitors. The owners soon realized that people wanted to share and preserve the area on a wider basis and decided to turn Kagga Kamma into a Nature Reserve in 1988. To provide the best quality water to the Reserve the owners bought Grootvlei Farm in 1989.
They built the first chalets and introduced some antelope species to the Reserve. From there Kagga Kamma grew into what it is today: a welcoming Resort in a unique environment that is continuously striving to offer guests memorable experiences while preserving the natural environment. Going Green – Our Green Initiative
In 2013 Kagga Kamma was awarded the RCI Green Award at the RCI OSCAS for installing a Solar Photovoltaic hybrid energy system. The RCI OSCAS is one of the most prestigious events in the Industry, recognizing the most outstanding resorts in the country.
The hybrid energy system provides around-the-clock environmentally-friendly power to the entire resort, reducing hazardous emissions, and therefore, the resort’s carbon footprint.
Supporting the Local Community
Kagga Kamma believes in enriching the lives of the community and therefore employs local people as staff at the resort.
Eco Tourism – Preserving our Unique Environment and Cultural Heritage
Kagga Kamma provides a combination of experiences that focus on the unique natural environment and rich cultural history that is at the heart of the Kagga Kamma story. Our aim is to provide opportunities for guests to experience the natural treasures and fascinating fauna and flora that make Kagga Kamma so special, first-hand.
Explore Unique Wilderness
Kagga Kamma is situated in the south-eastern region of the Cederberg, in Swartruggens district. This region was home to the San people for centuries. The red-brown weathered sandstone formations seen here are typical to the Cederberg. Plants are described as drier mountain Fynbos and you can see for miles and miles because the area is largely treeless. A variety of shrubs dominate the area, including Southern Cone Marigold, Klaaslouwbos, Koringbos, Renosterbos, Sneeubos, Wolwedoring, Taaibos, and Skilpadbessie. Some Protea species, typical to the Cape, can be found in higher parts.
Kagga Kamma is home to many different wild animals. The Burchell’s Zebra and Antelope species including Eland, Gemsbuck, Black Wildebeest, Blue Wildebeest, Bontebok, Springbok, Grey Rhebok, Duiker, Klipspringer, and Steenbuck are most common.
Smaller animals such as the Dassie, Grey Mongoose, Rock Rabbit, Cape Hare, and Striped Polecat inhabit the Reserve. The larger animal residents, which generally cause the most excitement amongst our guests, include Aardwolf, Antbear (Aardvark), Black-backed Jackal, Caracal, and Cape Porcupine. The only large carnivore found in these parts is the Leopard. These beautiful and elusive creatures generally prefer the safety and quiet of the canyon in the west and although real-time sightings are rare, we are fortunate to enjoy the privilege of regular sightings via our motion sensor cameras and our passionate and qualified guides who keep tabs on them via spoor and kill tracking.
Kagga Kamma is also home to many bird species. On the open plains, large birds like Ostrich and Kori Bustard can be seen. Closer to the Lodge we find the Cape Bulbul, Clapper Lark, Common Sparrow, and Cape Wagtail. There are a large variety of bird species to be seen at Kagga Kamma – including Spotted Thick-Knee, Swifts, South African Shelduck, Rock Kestrel, and Pale Chanting Goshawk – amongst many others.
Rich Cultural Heritage
One of Kagga Kamma’s most unique attractions is the San Rock Art that is found in the area. Some sites depict everyday events while others are representations of spiritual beliefs. The art tells a story that is thousands of years old, about the San who painted, danced and lived in harmony with their surrounds. Some of these paintings date back approximately 6000 years. Rock paintings are difficult to date accurately but San paintings in Namibia have been carbon-dated to some 26 000 years ago. These rock paintings continued over millennia up to the previous century. Some of the art also depicts ships and ox wagons.
The Rock Art shows us that some animals that were previously present in the area have become extinct. Some of the art is also related to the San’s religious beliefs and practices and depicts trance/ healing dances. During these dances, women would rhythmically sing and clap their hands while men and shamans danced themselves into a trance-like state. It was believed that during a trance state the men would be able to break through to the world of spirits, the main source of sickness, and directly communicate with these spirits to be able to become more effective healers.
Explore Kagga Kamma in your own off-road 4×4 vehicle. The trail offers 4×4 enthusiasts’ spectacular views, unfolding mountain ranges, and interesting wildlife. Birds and reptiles can be seen along this trail as well as some antelope species.
The route is more than 100km long in total and it is best to travel with more than one vehicle. The route is quite difficult and has some very steep sections.
Bouldering and Rock Climbing at Kagga Kamma
Kagga Kamma Nature Reserve offers a unique bouldering and rock climbing experience. The Cederberg area with its beautiful fynbos and wilderness has magnificent rock formations to climb. Climbing options at Kagga Kamma include single pitch sports climbing, single pitch traditional climbing and bouldering.
Sport and Traditional Climbing
Sports climbing and traditional climbing is available for Kagga Kamma guests who are on the more adventurous side. Sports climbing and traditional climbing is available at the Kagga Kamma Crag and on the Four Kilometre Hiking Trail. There are currently seven bolted routes at Kagga Kamma. Climbers can enjoy a challenging climb on the short but quality crags, with the unadulterated Kagga Kamma valleys and brush in the background. The current sport climbing grades range from grade 20 – 24. The Kagga Kamma Crag also offers some traditional climbing.
Please note: Rock climbing is not a guided activity at Kagga Kamma and guests must bring their own gear. Climbing permits are available upon inquiry.
Bouldering is an exceptional experience at Kagga Kamma. Bouldering offers climbers the freedom of movement without the use of metal gear, ropes, and harnesses. To enjoy the beautiful surroundings, climbers can climb and traverse boulders of all shapes and sizes. The boulders at Kagga Kamma are mainly sandstone and quartzite, which are fairly skin-friendly and climbers can expect to be challenged by a choice of 80 “problems” while enjoying the unassuming wilderness. Current boulder problems range from grade 3 to 7c.
To see the Cederberg’s interesting ecological features in all their glory, guests are welcome to use the self-guided hiking trails and walks on the Reserve. The rock formations and plant life that have been in the area for centuries will inspire, delight and surprise nature lovers. There are three routes, 4km (Blue), 7km (Red) and 9km (White) that will regenerate your soul as you escape between the surrounding towering rock formations.
Mountain bikers can choose between the 10km or 30km route within the Nature Reserve.
Both the 10km (Red) and the 30km (Black) start from the Main Lodge area. The circular trails start at the Reception area and wind through the bush. The route comprises mainly of a jeep track and the terrain is varied. The route winds through beautiful rock formations, with spectacular views across the dramatic mountain fynbos plains.
The 30km route can be a bit sandy in patches but is suitable for the average rider. The total ascent for this route is 300m. Riders can expect to complete the 30km route in two to three hours.
Packing a camera is a good idea as wildlife and beautiful scenery can be enjoyed along the way.
Early Morning and Late Night Nature Drives
Dry Mountain Fynbos and Succulent Karoo plants provide grazing for animals in this Western part of South Africa. Kagga Kamma’s qualified guides take guests on Nature Drives where breath-taking views of the Ceres Karoo, Tankwa Karoo, and Cederberg can be enjoyed. Morning and Late-Night Drives cross the 15 000ha Reserve to spot resident animal species such as antelope and ostrich. Guests may also spot Lynx, Jackal and the spectacular, but very rarely seen, Cape Mountain Leopard. On the drive, the guides will also point out interesting bird and reptile species and share fascinating facts about the plants of the area. This experience between the magnificent rock formations will leave guests with a deep appreciation for Kagga Kamma’s unique environment.
The Sundowner Trip takes you to one of the most beautiful viewing points on Kagga Kamma. Sip on a drink and quietly contemplate the spectacular unpopulated landscape with mountain ranges unfolding and a light wind the only sound. Look out for the Elephant Shrew which, as tradition would have it, often pays a visit.
Guided Quad Bike Safaris
For more adventurous guests the Reserve offers this unique nature viewing experience. Quad Bike Safaris take place on parts of the Reserve that would otherwise be inaccessible and allow guests to enjoy not only the beautiful environment but also the excitement of riding a quad bike over the area’s terrain. The Safari lasts one to two hours and is arranged on request.
Regrettably no children under the age of 16.
Educational Talks about snakes and reptiles are presented every weekend at Kagga Kamma. Our Guides are qualified snake handlers and have a great amount of knowledge about snakes and a passion for sharing interesting facts with guests.
A variety of snakes can also be seen on our Guided Tours. Get to know these fascinating creatures better in a completely safe environment.
Rock Art Tour
Take a journey back in time with our Rock Art Tour of paintings dating back 6000 years. Ancient rock art sites can be found all over Kagga Kamma Nature Reserve. These paintings were made with different colors of stone which were ground up and mixed with fat to form paint. The Reserve has expertly trained rangers who can help guests find and understand these paintings and provide more information on this fascinating culture. Guests can also expect to discover some paintings themselves along the hiking and walking trails.
The clear, dark skies, relatively high elevation and the lack of light pollution makes Kagga Kamma the perfect stargazing spot. At the Mini Observatory, guests can enjoy spectacular views of the moon, stars, satellites, and planets, along with deep sky objects like the Whirlpool Galaxy and Hercules Globular Cluster through our eight-inch Celestron Nexstar 8SE Telescope. This fascinating experience is facilitated by an expert who will assist and guide guests to ensure that they experience the wonders of the sky as clearly and closely as possible.
The 2013 Telescope of the year award winner is the new revolutionary Celestron Nexstar 8SE, replacing the iconic eight-inch Schmidt-Cassegrain that changed the astronomy game in the 1970s. Updated with all the latest features, the Celestron Nexstar 8SE is an amazing telescope that ensures a remarkable stargazing experience at Kagga Kamma.
Please take note that Stargazing takes place, lunar cycle and weather permitting.