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Poortjies area - the portal to Baviaanskloof wilderness area

Baviaansklooof River

Here we are in the very beautiful Poortjies area, which forms a narrow portal (hence the name) that gives access to the wider Baviaanskloof wilderness area. Up until 1986 it was owned by farmers, who grazed horses and cattle in the area. But farming was never very profitable in the Baviaanskloof, and with the flash floods occurring on average once every 10 years, one had to start from nearly scratch again. In 1986 this area, which forms a dense riverine forest (Knysna forest vegetation), was therefore bought for conservation purposes.

The road follows and frequently crosses the pristine Witrivier, which is the home to two endangered fish species endemic to the Baviaanskloof: the little Red Finned Minnows Pseudobarbus asper and Pseudobarbus afer. They thrive only in an undisturbed environment in unpolluted fresh water. This is, therefore, an ecologically very sensitive system that is also home to the George lily (Cyrtanthus elatus), originally from the southern Cape and now grown world-wide for its beautiful cut flowers.

Apart from a few picnic spots along the public road, the steep sides of the Poort with their fantastic rock formations have given rise to caves, some of which are adorned by Bushman rock art.

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