Graaff-Reinet, Eastern Cape

When was the last time you marvelled at something, slowed down, and immersed yourself in a place?  Welcome to Toerboer – we offer bespoke travel tours throughout South Africa, and Africa. With a passion for the expansive Karoo, we are based in the charming frontier town of Graaff-Reinet and aim to offer small groups tailor-made tours. Our tours, and accommodation at Toerboer Cottages and out on the road, is environmentally focussed and responsible as the Toerboer team designs, plans, manages and leads tours that will make memories that you’ll hold dear for the rest of your life. After 20 years, our passion is still…to give you something to marvel at.

About

At Toerboer we favour journeys that incorporate plenty of local interactions and culturally authentic experiences.  We create the kind of travel encounters that extend far beyond social media. Those that settle right there in your heart.

When possible, we try to support local businesses when building a travel itinerary. We like to focus on responsible tourism to help you see just how your money is impacting the area you’re visiting. We aim to arrange your travel experience incorporating qualified local tour guides and small business-owners to boost the local community and leave a lasting, positive experience for both the area and the traveller.

While travel expands our minds and promotes intercultural understanding, we are aware of our footprint across South Africa. Therefore, at Toerboer, we pay attention to environmental, social, and economic sustainability as well as eco-tourism to minimise that footprint.

Our commitment to conservation and sustainability, in addition to a wild passion for travel, have led us to focus on our environment, our people and our communities, whilst ensuring that each of our guests experience the best of all that Southern Africa can offer on a bespoke African journey passionately compiled by a registered Tour Operator.  We call this our Toerboer Family Values.

Karoo Tours

Graaff-Reinet is also known as the Gem of the Karoo. South Africa’s fourth oldest town is set in the Great Karoo, in a horseshoe bend formed by the meandering Sundays River. The town is almost completely surrounded by the Camdeboo National Park, not to mention the magnificent mountains and Plains of the Camdeboo to the south and west.  Our forefathers left this frontier town in 1836 to journey northwards into a hinterland not yet known to them.  We are happy to announce that we have inherited their spirit of discovery and continue to look for the most unique destinations and extraordinary experiences in the Great Karoo.

KAroo 3 Peaks Challenge

The Challenge

Visitors to the Karoo are often surprised by the variety of landscapes, the incredible stark beauty, and the sense of place. The Karoo is all of that and more. It is a vast landscape with infinite potential for exploring. It is both remote and accessible. The towns and villages abound with artists and artisans, warm-hearted hospitality, and incredible attractions. It is also a place where hikers can experience the freedom of lesser known (and high) mountain peaks and the camaraderie that only a well-organised hiking tour can offer.

The Karoo 3 Peaks Challenge is proud to showcase this awakening of the Karoo to the outside world. The tour carries a strong adventure theme to compliment the intimate exploration of the Great Karoo around Graaff-Reinet. All three peaks range above 2 000 metres above sea level and offer the hiker a real challenge. Toorberg, Nardousberg and Compassberg all form part of the majestic Sneeuberg Mountain Range, with Compassberg being the second highest mountain in the Eastern Cape as well as the highest peak in the Karoo (and according to geography boffins, the second highest peak in the country outside the Drakensberg/Stormberg complex).  The Karoo demands attention.

Itinerary

DAY 1:
HIKING DISTANCE: 12 km
Elevation Gain: 773m
Max Elevation: 2 086m

Arrival and registration from 10:00 at Toerboer Cottages in Graaff-Reinet (hikers can stay overnight on the 26th of August – please enquire upon entry). Team Toerboer will be there to meet and greet all the tour members. Covid protocol will be in place.

Optional activities in and around Graaff-Reinet during the morning can be arranged through Dawid.

  • 12:00:  Official welcoming and departure for Toorberg
  • 13:00:  Start hike up Toorberg
  • 17:30:  Finish of Peak 1 Challenge and return to Graaff-Reinet
  • 19:30:  Afrikanis Rum Tasting in the Rum Room at Toerboer Cottages followed by dinner.
DAY 2:
HIKING DISTANCE: 25 km
Elevation Gain: 1 266m
Max Elevation: 2 406m
  • 6:00 – 6:30:  Breakfast at Toerboer Cottages
  • 6:30:  Load luggage and depart for Nardousberg
  • 7:30:  Arrive at Nardousberg starting point and depart on hike
  • 12:30:  Lunch stop (lunch packs to be provided)
  • 17:00:  Finish with Nardousberg and depart for Nieu-Bethesda
  • 18:00:  Check in at The Bethesda
  • 19:00:  Dinner at Bruno’s Pizzeria at The Bethesda
DAY 3:
HIKING DISTANCE: 6 km
Elevation Gain: 93612m
Max Elevation: 2 472m
  • 6:00 – 6:30:  Breakfast at The Bethesda
  • 6:30: Load luggage and depart for Compassberg
  • 7:30: Arrive at Compassberg starting point and depart on hike
  • 12:00:  Back at vehicles. Coffee and light snacks
  • 13:00:  Depart back to Nieu-Bethesda
  • 14:00:  Nieu-Bethesda: end of Challenge

Route

The three trails differ in length, distance, and expansive views. After registration at Toerboer Cottages in Graaff-Reinet, the challengers depart to Toorberg. This mountain is highly underrated with regards to scenery and offers some (according to me the best) of the most spectaculars the Great Karoo has to offer. The hike is probably the easiest of the three and therefore a great way to start the Karoo 3 Peaks Challenge. We take it easy as all hikers settle into their respective hiking rhythms. We stop regularly to enjoy the scenery unfold. Once on the ridge, the views to the South will take your breath away. Views of Spitskop and Meelberg in the distance as well as our other two peaks. To the South lies a deep valley unseen to the casual passer-by.

Nardousberg is the longest of the three hikes as the complete hike is close to 25 kilometres but follows a good quality jeep track which makes the distance easier to negate. The private farm borders the exclusive Mount Camdeboo Private Game Reserve and antelope is often spotted on the high slopes. Nardous is a proper mountain with its own climate and hikers should expect all kinds of weather close to the top. The views accross to Tandjiesberg and the Plains of the Camdeboo in the far distance is something to behold.

Then, the high one, Compassberg. The local San/Bushmen call the “Mountain of Tears”. Tears of jubilation I hope once you reach the peak high above the clouds (and everything else for that matter). The Compassberg hike is a short hike in distance. What it lacks for in distance it makes up in elevation. There is no set path up the mountain, although we will follow a specific route. The trail covers mostly rock (from small rocks and pebbles in the lower reaches to boulders close to the top) with very few scrubs around. 360˚ views from 2504 metres above sea level all the way to Middelburg, Richmond, Murraysburg, Graaff-Reinet and Cradock is something to saviour for the few that reach the peak. The hike is steep and at the top, exposed, but good for normal hiking and a few bouldering sections. Compassberg is visible from far and does not disappoint in the final challenge. The views are dramatic.

Details

  • Special dietary requirements will be catered for
  • Snack packs and drinking water will be provided at the start of each hike (hikers to provide own lunch on Day 1)
  • Non-hikers welcome
  • Participants are expected to drive with their own vehicles between starting points (where a high-clearance vehicle is needed, this will be arranged by the tour host)
  • This is an exclusive tour and entries are limited to 10
  • Day 3 lunch and overnight can be booked in Nieu-Bethesda. Please enquire upon entry.

Meals

All the meals will be expertly made using only local ingredients. The Karoo is not known for its quality lamb for nothing, and you can expect to enjoy top quality farm produce. Here in the Karoo we understand hospitality and hikers can rest assured of the best quality and quantity.

Medical support

Medical support will be supplied by EMS with an ambulance on standby in Graaff-Reinet for any serious accidents. A back-up vehicle will be always available. The host will carry a satellite phone with him in case of emergency.

Karoo Glamping

​Canvas tented camp set on a private farm in the heart of the Karoo. Fully serviced with additional activities. Choose your means of travel and let us do the rest. We are experts in setting up close to zero-footprint, mobile safari camps, with all the amenities that you might need for a night or a weekend out.

Next Dates:

  • 17 – 19 Sept 2021
  • 26 – 28 Nov 2021
  • 15 – 17 Apr 2022
  • 29 Apr – 1 May 2022
  • 20 – 22 May 2022

Rates:

  • R 4850.00 per person sharing.
  • We require a 25% deposit to secure your booking and the balance three weeks prior to arrival.
  • In case of lockdown regulations changing and making it difficult to host the tour, we will postpone it to a later date.
  • The 25% deposit is not refundable in case the participant cancels the tour, in the event of a no show or the full amount has not been settled before arrival.

Admin Fee:

  • R55.00 once off per reservation.
3 Peaks Karoo Challenge
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