Take a walk on the historical side

2017-12-21 06:01
Take a slow meandering drive to the Kouga Dam and see if you can spot Queen Victoria’s bust in the conglomerate of cliffs along the Gamtoos River. Photo:SUPPLIED

Take a slow meandering drive to the Kouga Dam and see if you can spot Queen Victoria’s bust in the conglomerate of cliffs along the Gamtoos River. Photo:SUPPLIED

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TAKE a walk on the historical side and capture the moment on camera.

Tourism is what makes the Kouga go around, and locals and tourists are encouraged to join in and explore what it is that keeps international visitors coming back time and again.

First under the spotlight is the Kouga Dam which nestles like a silent giant just 26kms out of Patensie. One imagines God scooped out the rich red earth of the valley so as to help the genius engineers in the not so humble task of creating this man-made wonder that is the Kouga Dam.

Take a slow meandering drive to the dam and see if you can spot Queen Victoria’s bust in the conglomerate of cliffs along the Gamtoos River - you can only see it from the west, so you need to stop and look back.

The Kouga Dam is the lifeblood of the valley, which irrigates most of the farmland. Initially called the Paul Sauer Dam, it also supplies Port Elizabeth with most of its water.

Construction of the dam began in 1957 and it was officially opened in 1969. The dam is a double curvature arch dam 82m high with a storage capacity of 128,7 million m³. Provision was made in the design to allow for a future raising of the water 1evel by some 15,2m. The construction of the wall marked the beginning of an era of double curvature arch dams in South Africa. Besides the normal central overspill section, flood-control sluice gates with chute spillways were provided on the left flank.

More attractions

You don’t need a 4x4 to see and experience the Baviaans Wilderness Area. En route, make sure you see the biggest sundail in Southern Africa in Hankey, as well as Phillip’s Tunnel and Bergvenster (you must be fit and wear good shoes) in Patensie.

Then there is also the Sarah Baartman Centre of Remembrance - still under construction - as you enter Hankey from Port Elizabeth.

Also not to be missed: The Baviaanskloof Interpretive Centre, Komdomo Picnic and Camp Spot, The Gamtoos River from the Elands River Lookout Point, and Twee Rivieren (where the Groot Rivier and the Kouga River meet to form the Gamtoos River).

On return, take the Andrieskraal road, which is a beautiful scenic route.

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