My wife and I have just been to the Cederberg region for a bit of R&R, the trip lasting 4 days from Wed to Sat. We started out at Kagga Kamma on the east side of the Cederberg mountains in a pretty desolate valley. To get there, head north from Cape Town on the N1, turn left towards Ceres just before Worcester, take the Gydo pass north on the R303, turn right onto the gravel road just after Op-Die-Berg and follow the signs. Kagga Kamma’s claim to fame are its cave rooms, and very nice they are. They could do with some new beds ( we kept on rolling into the middle of the bed due to the depression ) and of course pillows are useless as usual. Why is it that most ( if not all ) hotels, B&Bs and guest houses insist on using high pillows that require an immediate visit to the chiropractor. Beside the poor beds/pillows, the restaurant was not up to par and no mention was made on the website of the really bad road leading to KK – an off-road capable vehicle is recommended. The stargazing tour was fantastic and if you’re looking to do some astro-photography, this is the place for you.
The rock formations at Kagga Kamma are wonderful.
Some of the cave rooms at KK.
We then moved on to the west side of the Cederberg range – back to the R303, carry on north-west to Citrusdal and through, then turn right/north once on the N7 and right at the Algeria turn-off about 25kms further along. The gravel road to Algeria ( Niewoudtspas ) is about 20kms and once again, an off-road capable vehicle is recommended. The vistas in this valley are breathtaking but one needs to keep concentration driving considering the steep drop-offs on the side of the road. Algeria itself is another wonderful Cape Nature location straddling the Rondegat River. There are camping spots, and old ( with gas only ) and new guest houses ( electricity ) for accommodation.
The valley itself has quite a few hiking trails, the best probably being the trail up to the Waterfall on the north side of the valley. It’s a medium grade trail but with no serious drop-offs, at least until you get to the waterfall. While one can continue all the way to the waterfall itself, care is needed as there is some rock scrambling and drop-offs to contend with. Baboons are fairly common and we saw them along this trail as well as near the houses. Algeria is also pretty good for star trails ( as long as your neighbours keep their lights off ). The waterfall itself is impressive and there was some wildlife up there in the form of frogs. Burp.
The river is beautiful but pretty cold at this time of year – it didn’t stop me from taking a dip though. Brrrrr.
The southern West Coast has seemingly had very good rains this winter and it shows in the vibrant and abundant flowers that are on show all over.
After 2 days at Algeria, we decided to leave early on Saturday morning and move on to Dwarsrivier/Sandrift for one of the hikes to Maltese Cross or Wolfberg Cracks/Arch – it’s another 20kms on from Algeria along the gravel road. After some deliberation, we decided on the Cracks based on the time we had. I would put this at a medium to hard trail with some serious drop-offs at locations along the trail – care needs to be taken. We had started about 9am and for most of the morning, that side of the valley was in shade which is a blessing – although this was not a particularly hot day, it could get unbearable in hotter months. Take sufficient liquid ( 1.5L per person at least )! Near the top, the gradient steepens significantly into the Cracks but once there, one can explore the different routes through the cracks.
Dwarsrivier itself is a working wine farm and a beautiful one too. One can purchase permits for the hiking trails as well as take in the local sites and some wine tasting. The people on the West Coast are as friendly as ever and there’s a distinct difference socialising with them compared to the city.
The drive back along the N7 from Clanwilliam, through Citrusdal, Piketberg and home, was absolutely beautiful, with abundant rains leaving the vistas and mountainous regions verdantly green, and the ever present canola fields out in full force. It’s been many years since I’ve been this far up the West Coast and I was pleasantly surprised at the views, vegetation and sights.
This was not specifically a tog holiday but I still got some decent snaps and there’s still a lot of unedited stuff ( including some star trails ) to come.There are a number of other camps, nature parks and towns to visit in the the area and you’d probably need a week or so to do more sightseeing but we both were very impressed with what we had seen and done. Definitely a place to visit again, well worth the effort and very economical. Kids and adults will both be at home here with the river-side camps, trails and accommodation. A heavenly slice of nature right in the Western Cape.