Batis and Bass is nestled along the upper reaches of the Breede River, between Worcester and Ceres, just over an hour from the mother city.
Take the N1 out of Cape Town, and after the tunnel turn right at the Rawsonville turnoff (R101). About 7km further on, turn left onto the Slanghoek Road and follow it for 22km until you get to the R43 (the road between Worcester and Ceres). Turn left onto the R43 and within a kilometer you will see “Die Vet Spens” padstal on the left side; immediately thereafter turn left onto the dirt track flanked by gum trees, past a farm dam and over a narrow concrete bridge; the campsite is a short distance down the gravel road.
Bookings and contact details are on the Batis and Bass website.
There is only one (massive) campsite at Batis and Bass, which can easily handle 4 trailers, plus a couple of tents. The owner charges a fixed fee for the first 8 people, and thereafter it’s an amount per person, so it makes sense to do Batis and Bass in a group.
The campsite is fully grassed and there is plenty of shade.
The rustic ablution facility is accessed via a suspension bridge over a shallow gully. Everything is in the one facility (gas-fired shower, sink and toilet) and there is no door, so you need to work out a method to indicate whether the bathrooms are occupied. There is a second toilet next to the main campsite, again no door, but instead you get an unrivaled river view when occupying the throne room.
Shade is provided by a stand of wattles and a solitary gumtree, but the owner has gone to great lengths to control the alien tree issue that plagues most of the riverine landscape along the Breede River. Over 150 indigenous trees were planted, some of which are getting to a reasonable size already.
The campsite is flanked by an aesthetically pleasing wall (river stones in wire retainer cages), which serves as a windbreak against southerly breezes. Next to it is another wall made from chopped pieces of wood, which serves as your firewood!
Another nice touch is the paved platform, where your trailer gets a clean and level stand. The rest of the site is reasonably level, sloping gently towards the river.
There is another grassed section on the other side of the wooded gully, where more trailers (or the tents for the kids…) can be set up, to enjoy some privacy. However, this section does not have river access.
There is a central electricity point and the tap water is drinkable. Even so, we used the tap water for coffee and tea (so any impurities get boiled away), but we prefer bottled water for direct consumption. While we were there, the water tank next to the campsite was continuously overflowing, but eventually the sound becomes reminiscent of a babbling brook, adding to the relaxed feeling of the place.
The check-in time must be arranged with the owner before-hand, but there is no access gate, so you could arrive late into the night. Check-out is at 10h00, but the owner is relaxed about when you leave, especially on Sundays out of high season.
Important Additional Info For Your Stay
- There is no shop on site and the nearest facilities are in Ceres (21km away) or Worcester (30km away). The nearby padstal sells the usual novelties, like jams and stuff.
- There is limited cell phone reception at Batis and Bass; but WhatsApp messages eventually come through.
- Batis and Bass is pet-friendly, but arrangements need to be made with management before-hand.
Activities at Batis and Bass
As the name suggests, Batis and Bass is about the abundant bird and fish life. 160 species of birds have been recorded, and we saw plenty, including Pied, Malachite and Giant Kingfisher, Jackal Buzzard and Fish Eagle (oh, and Cape Batis).
Although there is carp in the river, the substrate is rocky, which makes it unlikely that you will get lucky with that bottom feeder. We also had no joy with barbel. However, small-mouth bass is very abundant, and we caught 6 over the long weekend in December. The river is shallow for the most part, so you just walk and cast your line, but just remember to wear your water shoes because the rocks are slippery.
The water at Batis and Bass is incredibly clear, partly because it’s near the origin of the river and has consequently not been polluted by inappropriate agricultural practices or human waste. We always have a pair of goggles packed, and they came in handy here; we even observed a pair of Banded Tilapia guarding their recently hatched fry.
Two kayaks are available for visitors to explore the river, which is navigable for about 200m upstream and 400m downstream, before you need to carry the kayak over shallow sections to continue your paddling adventure further afield.
The water is slow flowing, making it ideal for lazing away the day on a lilo.
In the Cape wine tasting is always on the agenda, and there are 22 wineries in the Breedekloof Wine region.
When you get tired of making your own food, there are a couple of options close by, such as the Bergsig Bistro, which is a mere kilometer from the campsite, in the direction towards Ceres. Bosjes is less than 10km away, on your way to Worcester, and is another great spot to grab a bite.
The area is also perfect for mountain biking and hiking.
Batis and Bass is most definitely a favorite and we will return for more relaxing days spent recharging.