The word Baviaanskloof, although derived from the Dutch "valley of baboons", is associated with pristine nature, narrow gorges with flowing streams, steep mountain pases, vast plains with waving grasslands and views of unspoilt wilderness. Nature has taken its course over thousands of years to create what is today universally recognised as the Baviaanskloof World Heritage Site. Few other places in the world hold evidence of the footprint of human history spanning over a million years.
The narrow valley of the Baviaanskloof is just under 200 kilometers in length and bounded by two mountain ranges: the Baviaanskloof Mountains on the north and the Kouga mountains on the south side. The valley lies at a lower altitude than the Karoo in the north.
The rainfall of the Karoo thus filters through the mountains to the Baviaanskloof river. For this reason the valley is surprisingly lush and supports a wider variety of plant species than would have been otherwise expected.