Commando Drift Nature Reserve

Be like Rambo and tackle the tough Endur­ance Trail meandering through sections of spectacular broken karroid landscape within Commando Drift Nature Reserve. This is a rocky route, traversing remote and un­touched parts of the area unfolding towards a spectacular Karoo mountain backdrop.

On what is essentially a mixture of Karoo veld and recovering grasslands, after years of overgrazing, you will find endangered mountain zebra, black wildebeest, and a series of antelope that include blesbok and red hartebeest, as well as a good 200 species of birds.

A series of dolerite and sandstone cliffs combine with the large dam, the birds and the small game to provide beautiful scenery. And the dam’s size is just as well as during summer the heat in the reserve means that the banks of the dam serve to stave off mid-morning heat.

A couple of hikes in and around the reserve make it a popular destination for hikers. The Bushman Trail starts follows the shore of the dam and onto a jeep track up Palingkloof. It is an ideal hike for spotting water birds and waders along the edge of the dam.

The Endurance Trail is slightly more challenging, a circular two to three day trail over 28 km, yet not quite as formidable as its name might suggest. The first day of the hike heads onto the lower slopes of the Rooiberg, whilst the second day takes one through the Springbokvlakte where there is likely to be more game. Nights are spent in overnight huts.

The upside to visiting the Commando Drift reserve is that not many people know about it and you will have the views and the stillness to yourself. Holidays and long weekends see the campsite and picnic sites get a little busy, but the rest of the reserve promises space in which to lose yourself against the backdrop of the Rooiberg peak and rolling hills.

WHERE? Commando Drift Nature Reserve, Tarkastad, Amatola
WHEN? Best during daylight hours.
Time: +/- 4 hours.
HOW? Call +27 (0)48 881-3925
HOW MUCH? Price on request
OVERNIGHT? Stay at accommodation in Tarkastad, in Eastern Cape

This mountain bike trail in the Commando Drift Nature Reserve is easy if hilly at points, but not overly challenging. The route can either be circular or you can take a number of alternative routes back to the start point. The trail should take around 4 hours to complete.

The area is quite rocky, there is plenty of acacia here and a good number of devil thorns along the way, so be prepared before setting off.

The mountain backdrop sets the scene and you are very likely to come across quite a bit of wildlife on route. Wildlife you may see are mountain zebra, red hartebeest, kudu, black wildebeest and reedbuck as well as a number of smaller creatures.

A permit is required for this route and is obtainable from the Commando Drift Nature Reserve Office.

Contact Details

  1. Email:
  2. Phone: 048-881-3925
  3. Website: