Bonniedale Oxwagen Route
We bring you another rustic farm experience at Bonniedale Holiday Farm.
Bonniedale is situated in the Attaquaskloof in the Outeniqua Mountains between Mossel Bay and Oudtshoorn, surrounded by the Attaquaskloof Nature Reserve. The farm has a rich history from Oxwagen trails to Bushman paintings.
The route will take us via Montagu, Barrydale, Brandrivier, Gouritzrivier and some tweespoort to the farm.
The route on Saturday will give you a bit of everything from twee spoor, sweeping dirt roads, river crossing, stunning scenery and much more.
The evenings will be festive around the campfire sharing stories of the days ride whilst we treat you to some great food.
Tour Dates: 4-6 Feb 2022
Duration: 3 Days
Closing Date: 26 Jan 2022
Tour Price: R3100 per Person Sharing
*Due to limited space there is no single rooms available on this tour
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
- SKILL LEVEL: Intermediate 75% 75%
- GRAVEL 60% 60%
- TARMAC 40% 40%
As can be seen from the numerous rock art sites, Attaquaskloof was first inhabited by the bushmen or Khoi San, who were present until the 1700’s as there are paintings of persons riding horses with rifles and hats on their heads. They inhabited the valley with the Attaqua Khoi-Khoi, (who arrived in the Southern Cape after the Bushmen) hence the name Attaquaskloof.
The first European to set foot on Bonniedale would have been Ensign Isaac Schrijwer in February 1689. He led an expedition of 21 men and two ox wagons, sent by Simon van der Stel, to barter for cattle and sheep with the Inca Khoi-Khoi near Aberdeen. On their return with numerous cattle and sheep, they overnighted near the present nature conservation hut and were attacked by the Attaqua Khoi-Khoi, who took all the cattle and sheep into Grootkloof on Bonniedale. The following morning Schrijwer followed the spoor and killed 41 Khoi-Khoi in Grootkloof. They returned to Cape Town with the animals they had bartered from the Incas, and the Attaqua’s cattle and sheep that they took after the attack. This pleased the other Khoi-Khoi tribes, such as the Gourikwa, Hessekwa and Inca, as they regularly had come under attack from the Attaqua. (There are Bushman paintings on Bonniedale illustrating these attacks.)
The first European to settle on Bonniedale was a Scotsman in 1860. (Hence the Scottish name of Bonniedale.) He supplied produce, mules and oxen to the travelers passing though the Attaquaskloof, he also had the toll concession to maintain the Attaquas pass from Bonniedale to the summit of the Attaquas mountains, and to look after the trail though Grootkloof, over Fouriesberg, which led to Calitzdorp. By 1869, when the Ruiterbosch pad (Robinson Pass) was completed this concession was no longer viable. During 1880 he returned to Scotland on holiday and never came back. When a local farmer, Mr Muller, (the grandfather of the late Oom Sep Muller) bought Bonniedale for 12 pounds in 1890, he discovered a four-year old coloured boy in one of the shepherd’s huts on the farm. There was no trace of the boy’s parents. He had survived on grapes and chicken eggs. They raised the boy, who lived until 1968. Mr Muller started building the Bonniedale farmhouse in 1892 but only finished it 10 years later due to the outbreak of the Anglo Boer War. During 1890 the government surveyed a railway line from Albertinia, through the Langeberg following the Gouritz River and up the Attaquaskloof. Due the war this railway line was never constructed.
History of the Attaquas Ox Wagon Trail
The Attaquas pass was the ‘N1’ for ox wagons traveling north and east and was used by thousands of ox wagons from 1689 until 1869 when the nearby Robinson Pass was completed. The first ox wagons to use this route was an expedition of 21 men and two ox wagons sent out by Simon van der Stel, under the leadership of Ensign Isaac Schrijwer In January 1689. Gouriqua Khoi-Khoi pointed out the old elephant route to them. It took Schrijwer seven days to cross over the Attaquas Mountains from the farm Haelkraal on the southern side to the Moeras River on the northern side.
A list of travelers passing through the Attaquas pass is a who’s who of celebrated early explorers and boasts names such as Thunberg (1772 – 1773), Sparrman (1775 – 1776), Swellengrebel (1776), van Plettenberg (1778), Patterson (1777 and 1779), Gordon (1786) and Van Reenen (1790). In the early 1800’s came Borrow and a host of other travelers. It became known as “the gateway to the Karoo and East Cape”. Although other passes into the little Karoo were established before the end of the 18th century, eg Plattekloof pass through the Langeberg and Duiwelskop through the Outeniquas, they did not pose a serious threat to the Attaquas pass.
The establishment of George in the early 19th century, the Cradock (1812) and Montagu (1847) passes, brought about the beginning of the end of the Attaquas pass. But, finally the Ruiterbosch pass (1869) now known as Robinson Pass, provided a new and shorter route between Oudtshoorn and Mossel Bay, and this finally ended the 180-year reign of what must be one of the most attractive passes over either the Langeberg or Outeniqua Mountains.
During the Anglo Boer war the Mossel Bay town guard built a series of small blockhouses along the Outeniqua Mountains. One of these well-preserved blockhouses is situated near the top of the Attaquas pass overlooking that part of the old wagon road leading to Oudtshoorn.
As far as we know, none of these forts guarding entry from the little Karoo to the coastal villages ever saw any action even though two large groups of Boer commandos did cross these ranges under the command of Commandant Jan Theron. He crossed the mountain at Ruiterbos. At Brandwacht they skirmished with the English under the command of Major Cavanagh. On the 14th of September 1901 the Boers attacked the headquarters of the West Yorkshire Regiment at the Masonic Hotel in Heidelberg under the command of Colonel Bourke. The Boers fled through the Plattekloof pass back to the Karoo.
For today’s traveler the Attaquas pass, which has recently been declared a national monument, offers spectacular scenery, fynbos, natural rock pools and relics of blockhouses, tool houses and remains of ox wagons alongside the road. Furthermore Cape Nature Conservation has an overnight hut for hikers on the three-day Attaquas hiking trail.
We leave Cape Town on on Friday morning and head towards Montagu riding a combination of tar and dirt. We stop at Diesel & Cream in Barrydale for some refreshments.
After Barrydale our route runs via Brandrivier, Gouritzriver and then some tweespoor all the way to Bonniedale Holiday Farm. Here you can relax and have a swim in the pool or farm dam.
We ride a beautiful loop of around 200km. The route includes some tweespoor, a rivercrossing and stunning scenery which will take us all the way to the coast near Vleesbaai.
We head back to Cape Town and have breakfast at Country Pumpkin in Barrydale. After breakfast we stick to Route 62 back to Cape Town.
Accommodation is a combination of tents with beds and chalets. For this tour you have to bring your own sleeping bag, towel and toiletries. Dinner and breakfast are included and you can be sure that we will treat you with some great food.
Intermediate skill level – The routes on this bike tour is comfortable and will be easy to navigate for the average rider. You must be comfortable riding at an average of 80 KM/H on solid pack dirt roads and have the ability to handle some loose stuff here and there. Roads in the area are mostly solid pack dirt roads and tracks but depending on traffic and when last it was graded there can be a little loose stuff here and there.
Our Bike Tour Package Includes:
All the logistics and planning
Support vehicle and trailer
Fully equipped support vehicle with compressor, tools etc
Assistance with puncture repairs
On tour medic and basic medical equipment for those unfortunate mishaps
Accommodation, dinner and breakfast
Your luggage on our support vehicle so you can enjoy your bike to the fullest
Well trained and friendly staff
BOOK THIS BIKE TOUR
This tour is open for bookings and 50% deposit or full payment secures your spot. Bookings close on 26 January 2022 or when fully subscribed.
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