A small number of farmers grow fruits in the Matjisvlei valley. More than one owner has cottages available for rent. We decided to stay at River View Cottages after reading about them and looking at their property on Google Earth. The area appeared good for succulent explorations. The farm and three cottages are very close to the Gamka River.
On our first visit to River View we only stayed one night because of scheduling issues and the availability of cottages. However, it was sufficient for us to take a very nice hiking trail that started just behind our cottage and went for a mile or two up the succulent covered slopes. We saw for the first time a nice arborescent Aloe and some other interesting plants.
We returned for two nights in 2018 and explored an area we had missed during our first stay. This area included a longer trail up a canyon. We did not do the entire trail, but spent most time looking at succulents we had not seen well during our previous visit. These were near the main dirt road.
Views of the road to the cottages. It is about 7 kilometers from the paved road to the cottages. The road was in good shape and suitable for regular sedans.
The road to the cottages.
The main house near the cottages. The owners grow fruit as do other farmers in the area.
View of the main house and cottages from a higher area along the trail that starts from the area near the cottages.
The kitchen at our modern and comfortable cottage.
Views of the Gamka River from our cottage.
Furnished patio at the cottage.
One of the owner’s pets, Jock was a frequent visitor.
The nature trail was steep in places but well-marked. Many succulents were seen along this trail.
Closer view of Portulacaria afra.
Closer view of Aloe ferox. There were many nice specimens of this Aloe at the beginning of the trail.
Mike next to Aloe ferox near the start of the trail next to our cottage.
As we continued up the trail all of a sudden Aloe speciosa appeared.
Rosario next to Aloe speciosa.
Rosario next to an Aloe speciosa cluster.
Rosario at a viewpoint along the trail. Our cottage is in the center left part of the picture.
Views of the Gamka River as we continue our hike along the trail. The river is a bit of a lake at this point, being dammed just downstream.
Rocky quartz outcrop and more succulents as we continue our hike.
Succulents kept appearing along the trail as we moved into different areas. The Adromischus triflorus plants shown below were found growing in the rocky outcrops.
Closer view of Euphorbia coerulescens.
Another succulent along the trail.
Crassula arborescens in the center and Portulacaria afra on the left.
Returning to our cottage along the main road at the end of our 2.5 hour hike.
Beautiful scenery and mountains in this area of the Little Karoo.
Mike next to a large Portulacaria afra.
Portulacaria afra and Euphorbia sp.
As we continued our hike we noticed a Gasteria sp. growing in a rocky area.
Below is another succulent, Gasteria disticha? we saw during our hike.
Guests can swim in the Gamka River.
Reeds at the Gamka River.
Geckos outside our cottage at night. They were eating insects attracted to the lights.
Closer view of the Gecko – with a moth tempting fate.