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November 29, 2012

Kroonvlei Wilderness Estate (previously known as Bateleur Nature Reserve)

Welcome to Kroonvlei Wilderness Estate (previously known as Bateleur Nature Reserve)

Escape to the tranquillity and seclusion of The Waterberg, with more than 3,000 hectares to explore. Indulge in the beauty of nature with deep gorges and clear rock pools. Unique Fauna and Flora abound in this bird-watchers’ and wildlife paradise. Our Nature Reserve is famous for its SAHTOA accredited Stamvrug Hiking Trails, consisting of ten different circular – and day trails, laid out amongst the kloofs and escarpments. Stay in self-catering secluded farmhouses, Cabins or Base Camps. Enjoy hiking, game viewing, bird watching, mountain biking, swimming and fishing but first and foremost relaxing in the Waterberg Wilderness.

Stamvrug Hiking Trails, consisting of seven different circular – and daytrails, laid out amongst the Waterberg Kloofs and Escarpments.
Stay in self-catering secluded farm houses, log cabins, or bush camps. Enjoy hiking, game viewing, bird-watching (Kloof Bird Hide), mountain biking, swimming, fishing (catch and release).

After reporting to reception, you are on your own at Bateleur Nature Reserve. Once settled at the accommodation of your choice, you are requested to restrict driving to an absolute minimum. Bateleur Nature Reserve is best explored on foot. You have the freedom to explore the gorges and rocky krantzes of the Waterberg, or go swimming in the clear bilharzia-free rock pools.

The Reserve offers you the freedom to be on your own in the bush to live and explore as you wish. In so doing, gain a more intimate knowledge of, and be entertained by the Waterberg’s unique eco-system. The area is classified as malaria-free. Summer days are warm to hot (low humidity) with thunderstorms. Winter days are mild and sunny. The nights can be chilly. Bateleur Nature Reserve is not a Resort. Bateleur Nature Reserve maintains a very strict view of visitors disturbing other visitors in any way particularly so with Sound Systems.
Bateleur Nature Reserve does particularly not allow NOISE POLUTION of any kind.

Stamvrug Hiking Trails:

Stamvrug hiking trails, opened in May 1992, was designed with the assistance of the Centre for Eco Tourism of the University of Pretoria. Since then, thousands of nature lovers have wound their way around and across the rim of a basin which constitutes one of the few unspoilt, unique Waterberg ecosystems. Nine years later, in 2001, the Waterberg Biosphere Reserve was granted international status by UNESCO. It now forms part of the World Network of Biosphere Reserves and is the first Reserve of this kind registered in Southern Africa.

It is in this special environment that the Bateleur Nature Reserve offers a variety of hiking options: apart from the dedicated two-day backpacking trails, there are four shorter day trails that can be enjoyed either from the two base camps, which offer excellent facilities, or from any of the farmhouses and cottages, which offer more comfortable accommodation. Bateleur Nature Reserve caters for hikers with different levels of fitness and experience. Even within one group, individuals with diverse expectations have the opportunity to hike different distances and trails of various grades of difficulty. There are two base camps: Kloof base camp is situated in the gorge looking across the kranzes, and Stamvrug base camp is set in a fold of the hills leading to the upper plateau.

The Upper and lower game camps have been joined enlarging the game camp to about 1500 HA. The fenced-in area will now also include the Bird-Hide, Kloof Base Camp, Gum Cottage and LoneHill Lodge and will make your visit and/or hike that more interesting. Your chance of meeting up with our resident Giraffe family is also that much better.
The new trail past Sunset Point has now been laid out constructed and marked. It will initially follow the Moepel Trail before curving to the northwest to the highest point (Sunset Point) in the area from where you can look down on Kranskop along the N1 and see as far as Vaalwater on a clear day. The new route is considerably more difficult than the older trails. The spectacular 360° view on Sunset Point will add to the many awesome views over the Waterberg, Bateleur’s many streams and fountains, a variety of game plus an abundance of bird species.
We will gladly transport your rucksack, or perishables to the following camp. Just ask beforehand and we will help to ease your load. It will make Sunset Trail at least much more do-able.

From Kloof base camp you have an option of two trails: the Kloof and Porcupine trails. The Kloof trail goes up a Koppie and winds around the escarpment to provide a spectacular bird’s eye view of the whole area. Finally it goes back over the ridge into the game-fenced area and over the grasslands until it reaches the cool waters of the Kaalgat Dam (full in the rainy season). Spend time here at the dam as the distance to the hut is short. The Porcupine trail is shorter and easier with more water en route. It also goes up a Koppie and descends to the lovely rock pools and kloof dam for time to cool off and a tea stop. Thereafter it crosses the road into the game breeding perimeter, descending through a Kloof where one sees the origin of one of the many springs that feed the Reserve. The trail crosses a few more Koppies, finally reaching Kaalgat Dam and Stamvrug base camp.

By popular request, the Kloof trail can be walked (in reverse), as the Leopard trail, starting at Stamvrug Base camp. This allows hikers to start at Stamvrug, cover the longer part of the two-day trail on Saturday and return to Stamvrug on Sunday via the shorter Porcupine trail.

From Stamvrug base camp the Zebra trail starts with a mild climb up the Koppie, over a rock bed and grasslands, keeping on top of the ridge. It then descents and enters the indigenous forest at ± 4 km. It passes a massive Naboom tree next to a most magnificent rock bed with a dam nearby for swimming, ascends the ridge, cross the Bateleur road, before it enters a Kloof filled with ferns, water lilies and water grass, and leaves the gorge with a short climb to return to Kloof base camp. The Zebra Trail can now also be hiked in reverse and is equalilly enjoyed the other way round. The game, bird life and beauty of the Waterberg will be enjoyed by all hikers.

Also on offer now: Horse trails and game viewing from Horseback. Game drives in an open vehicle. Minimum 2 people required for horse trails and game drives.

Location of trail:

• 26 km from Warmbaths;
• 25 km from Nylstroom;
• 120 km from Gauteng.

Length of trails:

Total length of all trails:

• Approx. 80 km

2-day backpacking trails:

• Kloof base camp to Stamvrug base camp via Kloof trail: 13 km
• Leopard trail: 11.8km

Day-trails:

• Stamvrug base camp to Kloof base camp via Zebra trail: 7 km
• Escarpment day trail: 5 km
• Moepel day trail: 8 km
• Porcupine day trail: 6.9 km
• Game day trail: 6 km
• Bush pig day trail: 5 km.

Degree of difficulty:

• Average.
• Sunset trail must be regarded as difficult.

Overnight facilities:

Kloof base camp:
• 24 beds/mattresses (3 rooms x 8 beds);

Stamvrug base camp:
• 24 beds/mattresses (3 rooms x 8 beds).

Farmhouses:
• 5 private self contained houses (from 2- to 12-bed), sleeping 28 in total.

Ablution facilities:

Kloof base camp:
• Full en suite bathrooms with donkey geysers;
• 2 outside showers;

Stamvrug base camp:
• 2 showers;
• 2 flushing toilets;
• 2 Pit latrines
• 1 basin.

Kitchen facilities:
• Pots/pans
• 3 legged potjies
• Braai facilities and ample wood
• Two lapas each with braai areas
• NO ELECTRICITY

Pertinent information:
• No malaria or bilharzia in dams/streams
• In summer, start hiking before 07:00
• Carry at least 2 litres of water
• Low axle clearance for cars.