The first written mention of Baardskeerdersbos can be traced to 1660. An expedition-team of five men, sent by the founder of the Cape Colony, Jan van Riebeeck, reported on the valley and its Khoikhoi-residents. No doubt the little expedition will have spent the night in the open air and will have encountered the small spider-like creatures called “Baardscheerders” (Beard Shavers) known for cutting human hair for nest-making purposes. Today the village is known as Baardskeerdersbos (Baardscheerders Bosch) or, more fondly referred to, as B'bos.
The fertile Baardskeerdersbos valley in the heart of the Overberg is one of the most undisturbed and original areas of the region. It is a rural drive of 25km from Gansbaai en-route to the Southern-most point of the African continent, Cape Agulhas.
Apart from the traditional cattle farms and horsesteads, bright-green vineyards and multicoloured flowerfarms mark the landscape. Baardskeerdersbos is also home to several pristine and rare Fynbos habitats of the original Cape Floral Kingdom. A new trend is that of wine-making, which is presently carried out on a small scale. In addition, some residents are making olive oil and preparing table olives.
The Baardskeerdersbos Art Route
The Baardskeerdersbos Art Route began as an initiative by the reclusive artists' community to bring attention to their work. The Route itself takes place only twice a year and, among those who know, is very popular and singularly different. It's a rare opportunity to meet the artists, and to understand the artistic process in a social setting.
The weekends draw between 200-300 visitors per day, with most starting at the B'bos Art Gallery on the Main Road, and then dispersing to the various artists on the route. The works are diverse and definitely not run-of-the-mill, prompting anything from surprise and admiration at the provenance of the media used, to awe at the results and joy in their beauty.
- Due to the unique combination of Fynbos, agricultural fields, dry and ravine forest systems, the B'bos valley has a rich birdlife.
- Patient visitors will have the chance to meet eye-to-eye with the five antelope species of the area and see the local wild baboon troops on the edge of the mountains.
- The rare and endangered Leopard Toad is also to be found in selected areas.
- The B'bos valley is a heaven of tranquillity surrounded by tourism hotspots such as Gansbaai, the most famous place in the world to see Great White Sharks and Southern Right Whales.
- A visit to the nearby Danger Point Peninsula and Lighthouse is recommended for insights into the maritime history. The Strandveld museum in Franskraal is also worth a visit.
- Walk with a guide through our neighbouring town, Elim or visit de Hoop Nature Reserve.
- B'bos will undoubtedly see changes in the future, but the locals of the village and its valley pledge that the change will be positive.
Baardskeerdersbos offers a few accommodation options from Bed & Breakfast to Self-Catering.
Information courtesy of Gansbaai Info.
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