A Hidden Gem
The Poetry of Earth
If you listen carefully, the silence is beautiful
Go to Nature to Be Soothed and Healed
“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I - I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.” ~Robert Frost

Hidden in The Secluded Honey Clough Valley

Lies the Magical Campground of Innikloof

Basking beneath the craggy Mountains, surrounded by the citrus producing farms in the Gamtoos River Valley lies a paradise.  A pristine sanctuary with hidden treasures of sparkling natural pools and tree covered kloofs with beautiful endemic towering yellowwoods.  *Yellowwoods are the national tree of South Africa, protected from harvesting.

Leaving the paved R331, we had to start slowing down, travelling the bumpy dirt road… slowly passing neighbours chatting at the corner of here and there, waving to us as we passed…past the homesteads of the workers and managers of the citrus farms where kids waited impatiently for us to pass to could continue playing  soccer with their deflated balls or chasing each other around the dirt yards…no pings from our phones, having lost our wifi connection somewhere along the way… we become lost in another place and time. 

Suddenly, the tree canopy covered dirt road opened to the large grass-covered main campground on the family farm ‘Honey Clough’.  Our hosts John and Catherina Wait were the most kind and gracious of hosts during our weekend in the serene Kleinrivierkloof.  *For those of us who don’t speak Afrikaans, a ‘Kloof’ is ‘a deep glen or ravine’

The four brick self-catering cottages were equipped with everything we needed, including an under-cover built in braii.

*It took me awhile to utterly understand the importance of a ‘Braii’ here in South Africa. A national sport, an informal outdoor gathering , and the art of the embers.  Braai cooking is done exclusively with wood, the lighting of the barbeque an exclusively male ritual.  The “braaievleis”, the South African version of the barbecue, comes from the combination of the Afrikaans words “braai” meaning “to grill” and “vleis” meaning “meat”. Braaievleis, therefore, means “grilled meat”. The word was gradually shortened to give only “braai” today. 

The cabins were an eco-friendly adventure, with each room a treasure trove of repurposed items.  We came back with jars of homemade strawberry jam, pickled beets, and pepper dews.  I even found a used paperback to read for R5 ($.28).  An old tin can recycled as an ‘honesty’ jar where we could leave our payment.

The water was hot …the beds were oh so comfortable to fall into after the fresh air adventures of the day.  Quickly falling sleep with the fresh air billowing the curtains as we drifted off.

The valley bushveld is rich and unspoilt with colors and textures where Nature’s envoys is a tonic that renews the weary spirit… 


“You’re only here for a short visit.  Don’t hurry, don’t worry. And be sure to smell the flowers along the way.” ~Walter Hagen

the swimming hole

There is more than one watering hole to cool off at while camping in Innikloof.  Cameras and conversations abounded in this scenic oasis. A congregation of our group at the edge of this bank, using the provided innertubes more for observation chairs than for more active use that they are provided for.  

Like spectators watching a marathon…cheering and waving encouragement as the hikers and bikers passed, at a less leisurely pace.

“We are all butterflies. Earth is our chrysalis.”  ― LeeAnn Taylor

An amazing weekend with a fellow photographers, chasing the secretive aquatic South African Finfoot.  Only one of the 130+ species of birds in the area, it is the most elusive.  Even with its bright orange legs and large webbed feet and bill, not even one of the photographers were able to capture it on camera.  The most sought after photograph of the weekend, such is the life of a photographer…but for my husband, the birder, it was a “lifer” for him with several sightings.

*Amazing photo by John Wait (with a camera phone) …

~Vincent van Gogh said, “The night is even more richly coloured than the day…If only one pays attention to it, one sees that certain stars are citron yellow, while others have a pink glow or a green , blue, and forget-me-not brillance.”

A photographers dream for those starry night photos with a clear night within the darkness of the secluded valley. *The one time that I was thankful for ‘loadshedding’.

My husband lay on the road, watching the spectacular star show at his own private planetarium. Flashlights in hand, fingers crossed, a photographer friend went to work showing me his setting up for the spectacular starry night photography…this was my result💙  You should watch the show…

According to legend, John Wait left Scotland to arrive in Cape Town, South Africa.  From there, he travelled into the kloof that is called Honey Clough and started farming in 1822.  For over two hundred years, the Wait family has maintained ownership of the unspoilt farm.

The first citrus trees were planted in 1890, and exports were made in October 1906. “Ten crates of Honey Clough oranges were exhibited at the British Empire Exhibition.

Working to stay eco-friendly, in the 1990’s changing their farming practices to remove the use of herbicides or systemic chemicals.

Restoring the natural balance in nature has increased the numbers of the aquatic and bird life, which in turn helps to keep the pests in check..

A NEW ADVENTURE AWAITS @ http://www.innikloof.com




One Response

  1. Another hidden gem, this travelogue is as restorative to the soul as the actual place depicted.

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