Wiggle Goes to Hell… and back!

Posted by & filed under Scenic Drives, Your Wiggle Stories.

copyright : Wiggle Car Hire

Last week our good friend and colleague Patrick Ashworth took one of our Eunos Roadsters on an epic journey into the heart of the Little Karoo to visit the lost valley known as Die Hel (The Hell). Patrick is the founder and CEO of Ashworth Africa Luxury Tours & Safaris, a Cape Town based tour operator specializing in 4 and 5 star, individual and group travel to Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zambia. This modern day Dr Livingstone was born and raised in Cape Town and he is definitely the man to go to if you happen to be planning a custom fitted safari tour in Southern Africa.


His three day road trip from Cape Town to Prince Albert comprised a total of 870kms and took in some of South Africa’s most historic and scenic mountain passes including Sir Lowry’s Pass, Tradouw Pass, Hex River Pass, Du Toit’s Kloof Pass and perhaps the most spectacular road pass in Africa, the Swartberg Pass. He came back raving about what he’d seen and also about the performances of his silver Mazda roadster.


copyright : Wiggle Car Hire

However, his final destination was the valley of Die Hel, or The Hell, more properly known as Gamkaskloof. The earliest inhabitants of this fertile valley were the San Bushmen and it wasn’t until the 1830s that the first white farmer wandered into the lush valley in the midst of the arid Karoo and made it his home. Other families followed; the Cordiers, Mosterts, Marais, Nels, Snymans and Jouberts. According to the local lore they lived there in splendid isolation, maintaining a tight-knit and devout community, away from the attentions of the East India Company and then the national tax authorities for the next 130 years. Both the Boer War and two World Wars passed them by and it wasn’t until 1958 that the first motor car was brought into the valley through the Gamka river gorge.


Please don’t try this in one of our roadsters!


A road into the valley followed in the 1960s and that opening to the outside world ultimately lead to the youth leaving Gamkaskloof. Once the younger generation had left the valley, the older members had little choice but to follow. In 1991 the last remaining active farmer in the valley sold his property to conservation. Nowadays fortunes seem to be changing once again for the kloof, strictly protected by the Western Cape Conservation. It is now possible to stay overnight in the historic farmhouses run as guesthouses by the two remaining full time residents who govern the conservation committee, Zanie van der Welt and his wife Annie.


Patrick tells us that this is a place of incredible beauty and his pictures bear this out. Apparently there are 151 recorded species of bird in the valley including Fish Eagles. If you stay in the valley you may still be invited to sample the local hooch known as witblitz and it makes your eyeballs sting. It’s got to be worth checking out. It certainly looks like one of the most spectacular places you could ever visit, and is only a decent day’s drive from Cape Town in one of our mx5s.


The Silver Fox on the top of the Elandspass looking down into the valley

copyright : Wiggle Car Hire


copyright : Wiggle Car Hire


copyright : Wiggle Car Hire

Road to Hell

Via: Google Maps


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