The Gamkaskloof is a narrow isolated valley about 20 miles long with a maximum of 600 feet wide located in the Swartberg mountain range.
The Gamkaskloof was presumably discovered in the early 19th century by farmers, but the first permanent settler was Peter Swanepoel, who settled in the valley during the 1830s. After him the Marais, Cordier and the Joubert Nel Mostert families also settled in the valley, growing to a community of a maximum size of around 160 individuals. The residents used horses to cross the Swartberg mountains to reach Prince Albert or Calitzdorp. Later a school was formed, with the teacher also leading the Sunday church.
Nobody is sure where the 'Die Hel' name came from. One popular story is that a Piet Botha (an animal inspector) visited the valley in the 1940s and used a particularly difficult route known as the 'die leer' into the valley. He described the experience as "hell".The residents have never liked the name and prefer to refer to themselves as 'Kloovers'.
Gamkaskloof's desolation makes it popular among sports enthusiasts. Apart from hiking there is the popular To Hell & Back mountain bike race and the trailrun known as the MadScientists' Midnight Hell Run (formerly the Moonlight Hell Run). A number of adventure races also used Gamkaskloof as part of their route.