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E-mail:  bennie@hoeksfontein.co.za
Mobile Phone: +2782 664 3810  Land Line and Fax: +2742 246 1488
Hoeksfontein Safaris, PO Box 15, Pearston, South Africa, 5860

S 32°  23. 255'
E 025°  07. 125'

4X4 TRAILS ON THE "FOUNTAIN" FARMS

If you are an outdoors adventurer and enjoy nature in the company of family and friends, you are invited to break away to the Heartland of the Karoo with your 4X4 or trail motorcycle.  There are three spectacular routes to choose from, in the Pearston District, that wind over mountain and valley across Hoeksfontein, Olievenfontein and Vlakfontein.

Finding us is easy.  If you are coming to us from the Cradock or Port Elizabeth side, follow the N10 to Cookhouse and take the Somerset East turn off on the R63.  Drive through Somerset East and on to Pearston.  Drive into Pearston and turn right into the last street and take the "Coetzeesberg" gravel road. S 32°34. 222' E 25° 07. 753'

OR

If you approach from the Graaff Reinett side on the N9,  take the Pearston turn off on the R63.  Travel for 75km and drive into Pearston.  Turn left into the first street and take the "Coetzeesberg" gravel road. S 32°34. 222' E 25° 07. 753'


Travel for 23km on the gravel road and turn right at the Bontebok Lodge sign.


S 32°23. 299' E 25° 6. 808' 

The Bontebok Lodge is the base camp for all the adventure trails and all the routes start and end here.  

At the Bontebok lodge you will find everything you would expect from a modern facility.  Electricity supply is at 220v 50cycles and the water is fresh and untreated.  Bathrooms are comfortable and there is a large barbeque area for spending pleasant evenings discussing the events of the day.  For those who would like to spend their outdoors time differently, there are grassed areas for pitching tents or for parking caravans.

All three of the main routes are circle routes with short routes branching off to viewpoints and with alternative roads to the main road, should a quick return to base be required.

Route 1:  Hoeksfontein 
The route covers a distance of 50km (31mi) starting on the farm Hoeksfontein, belonging to Bennie van Niekerk.  At the beginning there is a steep ascent to the first plateau.  The winding descent into the ravine that follows, snakes past wild olive groves and on to the farm Isbel of Flippie Smit.  The route then follows the side of the mountain through thorn trees and over stretches of dolomite.  Down a steep downhill  section, the route then enters the game area where many different types of animals can be seen.  A further drive down and through the next ravine leads to the farm Mayford.  Then there is a relaxing 10km drive through a typical Karoo plain and a short steep ascent to base.

The route takes 5 to 6 hours to complete with a 4x4 vehicle and 3 to 4 hours with a trail motorcycle. 

 

Route 2:  Olievenfontein
This is a less demanding route over a distance of 25km (15.5mi) across the farm of Jan Troskie. The trail winds through scrub and wild olive trees, up the side of the plateau, with a very steep ascent to the top where Olievenfontein is situated.  The descent from the plateau follows a ravine along an old livestock trail to the farm Rockford.

This route is completed in 3 to 4 hours with a 4x4 vehicle and takes about 2 hours with a trail motorcycle. 
 

Route 3: Vlakfontein 
This route has very steep sections and covers a distance of about 30km (19mi) across the farms of Tjoeks van Niekerk.  The circle starts at Langkloof, up a deep narrow valley where bushman drawings can be seen.  This requires a short walk to the rockface of the mountain.  From there the trail crosses steep sections of dolomite to the summit which affords spectacular views of the surrounding area.  The summit also contains an area with a 4X4 obstacle course for those who want to know what their vehicles really are capable of. The return is along a narrow valley  across Viljoenshoek.   

It takes 4 to 5 hours to complete this route with a 4x4 vehicle and about 2 to 3 hours with a trail motorcycle.

 
Dennis Waspe & friends from Port Elizabeth, South Africa, had the following comments after spending some time on the 4x4 route.
"Thank you for the great week we spent with you at Bontebok lodge. The service and hospitality was unexpected. The 4x4 drives were amazing with all the stunning views and various game we saw. We could not have asked for a better experience.  We can most definitely recommend Hoeksfontein Safari’s as a 4x4 & game viewing destination.”

NOTE 
1. The time and distance is only an indication of the driving time of the route.  It does not include time taken for viewing, meals and other activities. 
2. Safety always comes first.  Weather conditions can make roads impassable and dangerous.
3. Please respect nature and preserve the areas visited for those who will follow.  Ideally you should leave only tracks and take only pictures. 
4. There is a risk attached to this type of activity and all who participate, do so at their own risk.

Book a time for your 4x4 adventure by e-mail.

 

The first 4x4 that ventured onto the trail had become stuck years ago - would anybody be interested in helping us out?

Pearston "Roer en Rits"-weekend 2007

For our English readers

Vir ons Afrikaanse lesers

Early  on the Saturday morning a group of local drivers and 12 participants of the Algoa Toyota 4X4 Club departed in their vehicles to  Coetzeesberg. At Bennie van Niekerk’s game farm "Hoeksfontein", the group commenced the steep climb up towards "Aasvoelberg". Along the way Eland and Wildebeest were noticed grazing against the slopes of the mountain.

When it was time to stretch the legs and enjoy some refreshments, participants enjoyed the breathtaking view over "Vlakfontein”, “Viljoenshoek”, “Heuningkop” and “Olievenfontein" in the distance. The climb continued over huge Dolomite rocks  past the old homestead of Perdekraal and the ruins of "Siener Slabbert" who became famous for all his stories, strange home remedies, superstitions and true stories and predictions that came true. 

The route continues along "Langberg" towards "Stoepies", named after the rock formations resembling gigantic gulfs in the mountain face reminding you of steps.  All along the road the remains of old homes, stone kraals, each with their own story, are encountered, although they are ruins now, lost between the vegetation. So the group also moves past the ruins of the "Roker Strydom" homestead towards the Icebell homestead. 

Icebell is the heights mountain peak of the Langberg - the first to get winter snow, which also remains on the peak the longest.  The Icebell homestead was restored by the Smit brothers. Formerly the property belonged to the Marais family, parents of "Rex Ferrous" well known iron man of the Karoo. His brother, Zannedo, together with Vaalkas Lotter hid themselves  in the mountain for months during the rebellion, because they refused to fight in the Boer War. An interesting feature of the homestead is the boundary fence which divides the stoep.  This happened with division of the property into sections. This is surely not to be seen anywhere else in the country. 

From here the participants have a lovely and unforgettable view of the Cockscomb Mountains in the distance. The group now followed the route down the mountain along huge, ancient Camdeboo Stinkhout and Wild Olive trees, through water streams which form the origin of the Vogel River.  At the end of a wonderful day spent in the Coetzee’s Mountain, what better way to conclude the experience than relaxing around the camp fire?

Vroeg die Saterdagoggend verterk plaaslike belangstellendes saam met 12 deelnemers van die Algoa Toyota 4X4 Klub in hul voertuie na die Coetzeesberg toe. By die hoë draadhek van Hoeksfontein Wildplaas van Bennie van Niekerk, draai  die konvooi in en vat die steiltes aan. Teen die hange van die massiewe Aasvoelberg, nou soveel nader aan ons, gewaar ons groot troppe Elande en Wildebeeste.  

Dit word tyd vir bene rek en verversings en die groep vertoef ‘n rukkie, terwyl hulle die wonderlike uitsig oor Vlakfontein, Viljoenshoek, Heuningkop en Olievenfontein in die verte beleef.

Die roete neem deelnemers verder oor groot Dolomietklippe, verby die ou opstal van Perdekraal en die murasie van "Siener Slabbert" wat bekendheid verwerf het vir al sy stories, eienaardige boererate, bygelowe en korrekte voorspellings. Al langs Langberg kronkel die roete na Stoepies, met sy reuse golwe in die berg.  Die rotsformasie laat mens werklik dink aan reuse  stoeptrappe - vandaar die naam Stoepies. Die hoogste piek van Langberg is Icebell. Wanneer dit kapok, is Icebell die vinnigste spierwit en behou  ook sy wit kleed die langste.

Langs die pad sien die opmerksame toeris tekens van ou opstalle en klipkrale - elk met sy storie. Tans is alles egter vervalle, vergete en oorgroei.

Die groep beweeg verby die opstal van Roker  Strydom, tot by die opstal van Icebell. Laasgenoemde is netjies opgeknap deur die Smitbroers. Dit was vroeër die eiendom  van die Marais-familie, ouers van “Rex Ferrous” - bekende ysterman van die Karoo. Sy broer, Zannedo, het gedurende die rebellie vir ‘n paar maande lank saam met Oom Vaalkas Lotter in die berge weggekruip, nadat hulle geweier het om in die SAW te gaan veg. Tydens die verkoop en onderverdeling van die plaas is die grensdraad oor 'n gedeelte van die stoep bepaal en gespan.  Dit is sekerlik die enigste plek in die land wat jy so iets sal sien. Op die eiendom is 'n stewige ou klipwaenhuis met solder, klipkrale en stalle vir diere om onderdak te skuil teen die snerpende koue. Van hier af bied die Hanekamberge ‘n wonderlike vergesig.

Hiervandaan sak die geselskap verder af  - al langs die waterstrome, tussen die reuse ou Camdeboo-stinkhoutbome en die  pragtige ou Olienhout ”reuse”, na die oorsprong van die Vogelrivier op die plaas Waterkloof. Aan die einde van 'n wonderlike dag wat in die Coetzeesberg deurgebring is, keer die groep huiswaarts en ontspan langs die kampvuur.

Below is a picture of Icebell, the highest peak of Coetzee's Mountain.

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