Overview-Cederberg Wilderness Cycling
Cederberg Wilderness Cycling is a 9 day Bikepacking tour exploring the Cederberg Wilderness area. It is a World heritage area renowned for its spectacular landscapes, rock formations, botanical diversity and ancient rock art.
|Location||From Citrusdal to Cederberg Wilderness|
|Group size||1+ people|
|Day Stages||Average 34 km|
|Distance||270 km (8 cycling days)|
|Cost||Available on request|
|Dates||Oct to April is “High season”|
The Cederberg is the wilderness at its best.
The Cederberg landscape
Distinctive Cederberg landscape. Magnificent views and sunsets
Flora and fauna
Cape fynbos, endangered Clanwilliam Cedar, Cape Mountain Leopard, Baboons, Klipspringers, etc and more tha 100 bird species
Red sandstone and unique rock formations
Variety of Bushmen rock art produced by the San
Hiking, swimming, wine- and beer tasting, etc
This is a bikepacking trip. It is self-guided with booking service, route directions and maps provided by Trails and Travel but without luggage transfer and support. You carry your belongings in bike packing bags.
An alternative option is to arrange for one or more friends to join the group in a support vehicle. This will take care of luggage and it can be arranged that the vehicle stays within easy reach of the cyclists.
CITRUSDAL TO CLANWILLIAM DAM AREA
Drive to Citrusdal 18km- park vehicles and final shopping.
Leaving Citrusdal you will cycle on the eastern bank of the Olifant’s River. It is easy and flat for a time, winding between the lush citrus orchards, the main industry in the area. At Hexrivier farm (after 20km) you pass by South Africa’s oldest orange tree. It is over 250 years old and a national monument. On a warm day you might consider a swim at the low-level bridge off to the left at 27km.
Distance: Driving- 18km and cycling 40 km
CLANWILLIAM DAM TO ALGERIA AREA
At the Clanwilliam dam you turn right to the Rondegat River Valley and into the heart of the Cederberg wilderness, famous for its remarkable sandstone and shale rock formations, rock art and fynbos. The wilderness encompasses about 71 000 hectares of rugged, mountainous terrain, making it a top spot in the Western Cape for hiking and rock-climbing enthusiasts. Report to the Cape Nature office when you reach Algeria, for check-in and to buy hiking permits.
Distance: 26-31km (Uphill)
ALGERIA TO SANDDRIF
Leaving Algeria the road surface turns to brick paving via the Uitkyk Pass which rises sharply and winds spectacularly up the side of the mountain. Views over the majestic mountain peaks to the north or down the Driehoek valley to the south.
The next section presents a fairly rough road surface to Dwarsrivier farm, home of Cederberg Private Cellar and Cederberg Brewery. Wine tasting is on offer and there is a small shop as well as MTB trails and various popular hiking trails such as the Wolfberg Cracks and Arch, Maltese cross and Lots wife and Window rocks. Cool off at the Maalgat pools, nearby. If you are visiting over a Saturday evening, with good weather conditions, take a 3 km night ride to the Cederberg Observatory. Its 16 inch telescope offers the most magnificent views into the wonders of the night sky.
SANDDRIF TO KROMRIVIER
Window Rocks hike- 4km (no permit required) and visit Stadsaal caves rock art, located 9km south of Sanddrif. Permits for the Stadsaal Caves can be obtained at the Dwarsrivier office. From the caves turn back towards Sanddrif and after 6km there is a left turn. The road rises sharply before dropping down a steep descent to Cederberg Park, Kromrivier, the oldest tourist destination in the heart of the Cederberg, Splash around in a crystal-clear mountain stream and order an ice-cold NieuwBrew from Cederberg’s first micro brewery. MTB trails and hiking trails such as Kromrivier cave and Disa pool. Small shop and restaurant facilities available.
KROMRIVIER TO MOUNT CEDER
Make sure that you leave with a permit for Truitjieskraal (7 km)- rock formations, cave rock art and interesting information about the Cederberg. From here there is a 5km climb before heading down to Mount Ceder Resort, nestled in a valley of the Grootrivier, surrounded by rugged and dramatic mountains. Rent a canoe and spend time on the clear river or enjoy a swim in one of the several swimming spots along the river
MOUNT CEDER TO OP-DIE-BERG AREA
From Mount Ceder, on the banks of the Grootrivier, there is a 5km descent and then you will be climbing 5km via the Blinkberg Pass, between the Skurweberge and the Swartruggens mountains. As the land flattens somewhat there are beautiful rock formations on the way to Houdenbek, a restored National Monument, in the Skurweberg mountains on a working fruit and vegetable farm.
OP-DIE-BERG AREA TO KOUE BOKKEVELD AREA
The road turns to tar. At the T-Junction (R303) the Op-Die-Berg village is to the left and the route continues to the right. Shop available at the village- Spar Belmont.
The first 40km is on tar and is relatively flat, but the Koue Bokkeveld is an area of extremes. It can be extremely hot or freezing cold, and if there is a headwind it can be tough. As the mountains close in from both sides, the road turns to gravel and winds down through a narrow valley.
KOUE BOKKEVELD AREA TO CITRUSDAL
Climb the Middelberg Pass. Enjoy the views across to Middelberg Peak, Meulenskop and the Elandkloof valley. Take care down the fast-paced tarred road pass, which is downhill all the way into Citrusdal and the finish point.
END OF TOUR
The trip can be shortened by about 28 km to 7 days/6 nights or 8 days/7 nights. It depends on the fitness and preference of the group. Itinerary for alternative options available on request.
Accommodation will be comfortable self-catering cottages with restaurant facilities in some cases. Alternative options are available in some areas which will have an impact on the distances indicated in the description. The cottage-to-cottage total distance for the above selections is 271km vs the circle route distance of 249km.
How backpacking works ?
Overall rating of Cederberg Wilderness cycling is Moderate/challenging. You do not need to be ultra-fit but certainly able to cycle between 50 and 70 km per day and able to cope with undulating countryside and some hills. The route takes you along dirt roads, often with corrugations and occasionally with deep sand or gravel. See Cycling grades for more details about Moderate rating.
Day 1 - arrival: Day 2 - Moderate: Day 3 - Moderate/challenging: Day 4 - Moderate: Day 5 - Moderate: Day 6 - Moderate: Day 7 - Moderate: Day 8 - Moderate: Day 9 - Easy
When to book Cederberg Wilderness Cycling
The holiday can be booked any time of the year but the best time of the year to visit the area is the cooler months of Spring and Autumn .
Rainfall in the Cederberg ranges from an average of 800 mm per annum at Algeria to an average of less than 250mm/annum around Matjiesrivier, Cederberg Oasis, Nuwerust and Mount Cedar. The west of the Conservancy is mostly wet and cold during the winter while the eastern area is very cold with less rain. The most rain falls during winter between May and September. It often snows on the higher parts. Summers are very hot and dry and can reach temperatures as high as 40° Celcius.
The Cederberg is in the Western Cape Province, South Africa. Citrusdal is about 180 km, 2 hours drive from Cape Town.
For international visitors:
Fly to Cape Town International Airport and from Cape Town to the Cederberg by car.
Route from Cape Town:
Take the N7 (Cape Namibia road) Continue for 171 km to the Citrusdal turnoff
When we confirm your booking more details will be given as well as suggestions about places to visit along the way from Cape Town
What to take
Wearing a helmet while cycling is mandatory and bicycles need to be equipped with basic repair kit. These items can be provided with bicycles rented via us. Bring your own if you prefer so. If you decide to bring your own, a MTB is the best choice (not a road bike or hybrid). GPS and/or cellphone and maps for navigation.
Wear thin layers of clothing. Fast drying and hard-wearing synthetic fabrics are ideal as a base layer. A thin fleece or sweatshirt is ideal as the next layer. Also take a lightweight waterproof jacket (breathable and windproof material is best). Take warm clothes for the evenings. Sport shoes are fine for cycling and for when you stop off to visit places on foot. For your daily needs, you are advised to have a day-bag, a plastic bag to line your day-pack (to protect the contents from rain), sunglasses, sun block, a water bottle, plastic picnic box (for transporting lunches), first-aid kit, an extra plastic bag for litter.
Pack options for carrying your gear on your bike, such as some of the following: front and rear racks with panniers, saddle bags, frame bags, handlebar bags, top tube bags and a light trail backpack. Food and water, a small stove, fire starting supplies, a tent and sleeping bag (for emergency), lights on your bike and a torch for your tent, repair kit with at least a flat kit, inflation, chain tool, multi-tool and extra chain links, extra first aid supplies, cable ties, duct tape and straps. Make sure that you are aware of exactly where water can be found each day and note that mobile phone is not available in some areas. Consult your Route Manager.
Water & Food
Take lots of water, especially for the longer days, where distances between water sources are large. Food and supplies can be found at the starting point in Citrusdal, Clanwilliam and Op-Die-Berg village with limited supplies at points indicated in the route description.
You will be riding primarily on roads with no bike lanes and car and truck traffic. You should be comfortable riding in some amount of traffic. Please ride responsibly and stay alert. Most of the route is on gravel roads, so make sure that you have the appropriate MTB for the terrain.
We recommend that you arrange appropriate holiday insurance giving you cover against illness, injury, and loss or damage to luggage. This insurance should also cover the possibility of your having to cancel your holiday for any reason.
Our detailed route notes, maps and description allow you to ride self-guided and at your own pace amid splendid scenery. We provide a file which can be imported to a gps or cellphone for navigation. There is not always mobile reception. Make sure that you have downloaded an off-line map on your phone and have battery support. As soon as we have finalised your booking we will specify your accommodation schedule. Going self-guided is simple and convenient with our Route guide. It allows you to set out when you like, stop where you want and visit sites en route that are of interest to you. Our notes include information on places of interest along the way and suggested stops for lunch, wine tasting etc. The Route guide will be given to you on the date of your arrival.
Availability and Booking
To enquire or reserve a date, go to: Availability request
For general information: Contact us, or
email: firstname.lastname@example.org, or
Booking process and -conditions - Go to How to book
Map of Cederberg region
Pictures of Cederberg Wilderness Cycling can be viewed in Cederberg Cycling Gallery.
Comments by guests who have experienced a self-guided walking/cycling holiday offered by Trails and Travel in South Africa- "Overall, the holiday was invigorating- You certainly went out of your way to make the whole time memorable- We are recommending it to our walking community in the States- Fantastic walks, wines and accommodation" For details, go to Reviews
More about the Cederberg region
Cederberg Wilderness Cycling is a self-guided cycling holiday to explore the Cederberg Wilderness.
Cederberg Wilderness Cycling was structured to offer the best of the area. For more information about the area, go to Read more
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