Four star game reserve, South Africa

Bosch Luys Kloof Geology & Flora

Snow in Seweweekspoort
Snow in Seweweekspoort

Bosch Luys Kloof is situated in a remote area in the Karoo that was always very sparsely inhabited. It is adjacent to a World Heritage site at its Eastern and Northern (partly) borders and is 70% surrounded by State Nature Reserves. Potential for eco-experiences at the Reserve itself is abundant.

The Reserve is of considerable natural beauty and interest in respect of geology, fossils, botanical value, scenic beauty, etc. There are many different sedimentary formations running East-West across the area as well as rapid changes in soil and vegetation, running North to South. It delivers varied flora species. These features are there to enjoy all year round. Bosch Luys Kloof was included in the historical fossil collecting trip of Atherstone and Bain, in the 1870's, which was pioneering South African geology.

Lichen flecked rock

The Bosluiskloof-pass which you follow from the entrance gate to the lodge will immediately wake your awareness to the plant and soil variances and the existence of fossils. Interested guests will be allowed to do pre-arranged walks on the Reserve and to do their own explorations and may even experience new discoveries! Guests will however not be allowed to remove any material of whatever nature from the Reserve.

The sedimentary rock types include the Table Mountain type, Bokkeveld group and Witteberg group.
Fossils have been found and can be seen, e.g. Trilobites extending back some 250 – 500 million years.

The reserve includes interesting ecosystems and veld types: Renosterveld, Klein Swartberg fynbos, succulent Karoo, Rivierbosveld, Gannaveld and Spekboomveld.

Geographical Location

Fossil imprints in rock
Fossil imprints in rock

Bosch Luys Kloof was the name given to the pieces of land that were consolidated in the 20th century.
Originally the area was divided into 6 sections. According to maps 3321AD Ladismith and 3321BC Matjiesvlei these section were, Bosch Luys Kloof, Olyvefontein, Langfontein, Dwyka Rivier, Roode Rand and Lange Rug.
The reserve lies on the northern slopes of the Swartberg mountain range and includes the foothills of the Groot Swartberg. Besides the western entrance to the reserve the whole of the reserve is surrounded by State- and other nature reserves.
To the south of the reserve lies the well known Gamkaskloof (“Die Hel”), on the eastern border is the Gamkapoort Dam and to the north is the Elands- and Blouberge, partly owned by the State and held as nature reserves.
Bosch Luys Kloof is on the border of the Klein-(Little) and Groot (Great) Karoo. Only 4km south-west of the entrance gate is the beautiful and well known Seweweekspoort.

Fossil imprints in rock

An interesting aspect is that the reserve borders on the Gamkapoort Dam that is the confluence of the Gamka-, Dwyka- and Bosluiskloof rivers. The confluence of these rivers is the historical departure point of water flowing to the Indian Ocean. When the water passes through the Great Swartberge through the Klein Karoo, the Olifants- and Buffels rivers joins in and eventually it becomes the Gouritz River, which flows into the Indian Ocean, close to Mossel Bay. The reserve forms part of the newly established Gouritz Mega Park.

Height above sea level is from 500m to about 1400m at the highest point, which is a clear indication of the hilly landscape of the reserve.

Ecology & Flora

Bosch Luys Kloof encompasses five vegetation/veld types. The borders obviously overlap, but overall demarcation is fairly distinctive.

The Karoo-thicket covers some 4000 ha and stretches east/west over the middle part of the reserve, just south of the river bush. It is an endless sea of karoo-koppies extending between the river bush and Hartmansberg.
Home to the Cape Hyrax and Verreaux Eagle, apart from the antelope that roam in that area.
Large areas are covered in spekbos with patches of grass. Trees and shrubs include sweet thorn, karee, ghwarrie, pendoring, taaibos, etc.
Many drainage lines contain water for long periods of time.

Lichen flecked rock

The Karoo broken veld extends some 3500 ha in an east/west line as well, just to the north of the river thicket. It consists largely of smaller shrubs and smaller trees along the drainage lines. It is similar to the karroid thicket but lacks the large spekboom thickets. You also find succulents here that are again scarce in the thicket.
Common trees/shrubs/bushes are: ysterbos, sosatiebos, kougoed, kriedoring, ankerkaroo, ribbokbos, granaatbos, numnum, ghwarrieson, vanwyksbos, etc.

Our mountain fynbos area extends over the highveld of the southern reserve. Also stretching east/west over some 3000 ha and incorporating Hartmansberg that runs through the middle of Bosch Luys Kloof. It contains all three elements of fynbos but the proteas are scarce.
Patches of grass are present but tend to be sour. It overlooks the valley of the 'Hell' and is magnificent for sightseeing across the great Swartberg mountains.

Our river bush obviously follows the Bosluiskloof river for about 18 km down to the Gamkapoort dam and covers some 1500 ha.
It is covered by mainly sweet thorn trees that wonderfully don't lose their leaves in winter because of the high water table. Apart from grasses, shrubs like ghwarrie, kunibush, ganna, karee, jakkalsbos, etc. occur.

Right up in the far north-west corner is a unit of renosterveld extending some 1500 ha. It is not easily accessible, mountainous and isolated. It resembles a transition between fynbos and broken veld.

Because of overgrazing in times of eg the "woolboom" and just as generally happens in the vicinity of your riverine areas, parts of the reserve were over utilised in earlier days. Fortunately, and unplanned, this all came to an end when the Gamkapoort dam was built in the late 1960's. It basically cut off the valley from Prince Albert in the east that was close and easy to reach.
Since then very conservative or no stocking took place so that we can see the improvement. However it is a long process that is most of all helped forward by above average rainy periods/seasons. And for those you can only pray!
It appears as if there are fortunately still enough adequate seed resources.

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