(The CAMINO DE KAROO!)
An exclusive journey at BOSCH LUYS KLOOF PRIVATE NATURE RESERVE, Seweweekspoort, Western Cape, South Africa
No need to carry big, heavy backpacks!
The Camino de Santiago (The way of St James) is well known worldwide as a spiritual experience to many. It comprises a range of many footpaths leading eventually to the cathedral Santiago at Compostela in North-East Spain. The various historical routes have been pilgrims' routes over the ages, notably since the 8th century.
Pilgrims, solely or in groups, walked the routes on foot (maybe with a donkey sometimes?) for various reasons but mostly to gain spiritual growth. They would usually start from a point near their home and end at the cathedral at Compostela. There are of course many myths and legends that have gathered over the ages.
Over the last 30 to 50 years these routes have also been marketed as tourist attractions – still with the aim of being spiritual walks, but basically open for every person to decide what he or she wants to personally gain from the experience.
The Caromino offers a week of hiking in a very special safe and isolated area – sleeping in private chalets, chef prepared meals, chill time at the lodge or pool --- and you can hike just 5 km or more than 20 km per day with only the scenery and roaming game to greet you.
The Karomino - The Birth.
The reserve offers a diversity of beautiful and varied hills and valleys to explore. It is a very special destination in itself. There is nothing that man can add to its natural beauty. There is some correlation between the Karoo and parts of Spain.
Many guests have made the remark that Bosch Luys Kloof could well be regarded as some kind of a retreat because they feel a spiritual presence in the stillness, remoteness and isolation of the valley.
When we bought the 14 000 ha Karoo mountain wilderness way back in 1996 it was a deed of faith and I put up a big wooden cross in front of the old farmhouse to always remind us that we had the privilege of some "holy intervention" to have been so fortunate as to acquire this unique piece of land. Over the last number of years this spiritual awareness has inspired Ans to first build a down to earth little labyrinth for all to enter and experience as a spiritual enhancer. She later on also developed a spiritual walkway up the little hill (where the cross was moved to some years ago) that overlooks the valley and in 2018 had made and added a 2,5 meter high metal Angel overlooking the valley. Now christened Angel Hill!
We realised that Bosch Luys Kloof can perhaps fill a gap as a mini "Camino". We have found over the years that there were many little paths over the land that were used by earlier pioneers. These date back to the late 18th century when pioneers trekked inland and stayed over at places where they found ample water and grazing. They usually stayed there as long as the land lived up to their requirements. For sure there were footpaths of San and Khoi people as well. So there is a distant "link".
Contributing activities to "Karomino" experience already existing at the reserve are –
- Bosch Luys Kloof already offers various developed walking trails that cover the greater reserve – many following parts of the old walking or horse paths. Special is the fact the all the routes are on the property itself.
- Our Petite Chatres Labyrinth lends itself to start off every day with a cleansing and strengthening of the mind.
- Our Spiritual walkway up Angel Hill and spending time at the top absorbing the space and silence, maybe after returning from a hike.
They form the three pillars of the "Karomino"!
There are myths about shells that were picked up on the Camino – and we have picked up shells as well! The reserve and this part of the Karoo was under water millions of years ago. The fossils often found here are all aquatic specimens. Some can be observed at the lodge.
The Experience – How does it work
The reserve offers 10 different walking trails and all are well described and marked. The experience will start on a Sunday afternoon when the group will be welcomed, booked in and briefed on the workings. You will receive a file with a summary of all the different trails. Guests will enjoy a full dinner and get ready for the week ahead –the full Karomino being 7 nights – Sunday till Sunday (Not 7 weeks like Seweweekspoort!) Every day, starting on the Monday, a different trail will be challenged and you will either start at the lodge area or be dropped off at or directed to the starting point. In some cases you can be picked up after your hike. We recommend an early morning visit to the small labyrinth.
The start in the morning will depend on the time of the year but in winter it will probably be after a full breakfast. The trails can be 2.5 to 4.5 hours each, obviously depending on your speed, stops, etc. Once you are back you can either go to your chalet for a shower or go straight up Angel Hill to ponder there for a while. The rest of the day you just chill, spend time at the lodge or pool and later visit the lodge for a great dinner and get-together to exchange experiences or if you so prefer, or spend time on your own.
It is up to anyone to decide whether to make this a spiritual experience or just a week " away from it all " experience. Although the full week experience is guaranteed to have a marked positive influence on your being, a half week package is possible – being Sunday to Thursday, 4 nights – three trails covered. Or Wednesday to Saturday.
Only one full week group will be accommodated at a time (depending on numbers)so as to keep everything peaceful. The minimum number is two persons. Groups will walk together – same choice of trail per day. Groups can be 4 to 18 max.
This is not a challenge of the fittest – it is also a challenge of the mind and soul. To gain peace & mindfulness of things we should be grateful for. You can expect to meet or see nobody on the hike, only game – and they are truly wild animals. Bosch Luys Kloof is not a zoo. Dangerous items are snakes or scorpions. They do not attack you – just do not step on them! Ask us if you want to know more. In the evenings make sure you have not picked up a tick. The dangerous ones do not occur here. The name Bosch Luys Kloof originates from fossils looking like "bush" ticks – no relation!
Keeping some kind of condensed diary can be worth the time when you are back in the city's noise and fast lanes and want to ponder about your experience.
The walks /trails
You will receive a file/folder with a short description of the different trails on arrival. They are all in detail on our website and we suggest you download them beforehand. At the lodge is an " A 0 " size map with all the trails marked out on it that you can refer to as well. Every trail offers a special and somewhat different environment, landscape, topography, vegetation, etc. About all are also great sightseeing opportunities.
Depending on your intentions, it is possible to link some of the hikes together. Ask management for advice.
The trails are (click trail for more information):
|1||Bosluiskloof Pass||9.0 km||5|
|2||To Moer & Gone||9.3 km||8|
|3||To Hell & Gone||21.0 km||5|
|4||Con se Pad||6.2 km||3|
|5||Oxwagon Route||11.9 km||7|
|6||Dwijka Trail||11.5 km||8|
|7||Langerug Route||7.1 km||6|
|8||Shepherd's Trail||12 km||6|
|9||Rooderand Trail||4.7 km||5|
|10||Historic Route||9 km (plus?)||2|
*Out of 10
The selection will depend on your personal choice but also on your fitness and ability. You will book in at the lodge every day before you start and after you have returned. It is recommended that you do not start with the more challenging trails first.
What do you need
- You must bring all your personal necessities, incl. e.g. sun block, etc. All meals are served at the lodge and will be our usual offer - great and chef prepared. You only need to bring extras that you need if any, like special energy bars, chocolates, etc. Special dietary requirements will be acknowledged beforehand as far as possible.
- Obviously all your gear – backpacks, water bottles, camera, foot treatments, pills, etc. Footgear is important because you are walking "off road" through the veld, many times along game paths. Although the distances are not that much it isn't tennis courts or tarred roads. A Walking stick is highly recommended – a third leg is great while passing on the sides of hills, through drainage lines, etc. Ankle-high boots are also useful.
- And what not to bring? Your cell phone (leave it in your car!)
It includes two 500ml bottles of water per day. Our tap water is fine to drink.
It also includes your drop-off or pick-up by our guides in our game viewing vehicles when required.
Drinks from our pub are for your account.
Every person will receive a Bosch Luys Kloof cap on arrival and a "Karomino" Survivor sticker when leaving!
When? Best time of the year?
"Winter" time will probably suit more guests – being April till September. This is a summer rainfall area. Rain is sparse, so not really a factor to worry about. Days are usually nice but evenings are cold in winter.
Some guests, we have learned over time, prefer the warm and even hot days. Then you start at dawn and finish your walk by 09h00 to 10h00. Hottest time is Jan to March lately. Remember this is Karoo dry heat – you need more water but do not sweat much! January and February are "closed" time.
Who can do?
You don't need to be an athlete. You must be used to hiking distances – so gain some walking fitness first. You must be aware of your critical areas – knees, ankles, asthma, heart, etc – so that you know how to manage them. And what to pack in your back-pack (first –aid, etc).
Age is not a limit but we must cut off at 75 years young. You can manage your "condition" by the choice of trails. You will have a "soft landing" every day – great meals at the lodge and a wonderful chalet to rest in!
Everybody will sign an indemnity when booking.
Send an email to us directly – email@example.com – with your intentions and to enquire about possible availability. We will send you a formal reply with all relevant detail, etc.
Management at Bosch Luys Kloof
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