July 2014 Cederberg

So, after our rather wet and muddy trip to Botwsana, Central kalahari, in February this year we had planned other trips into drier areas, further North, but things didn’t turn out as expected.Life took a different turn.

Lin was called away on family matters to Australia for three months from May so this rather put all our other plans on hold. Returning at the beginning of July, having been away for the full three months, I knew that if I brought her straight home from the airport…………..Yawellnofine; so instead I loaded up the Cruiser, picked her up
and off we went straight into the Cederberg. Of course this turned out to be the coldest weekend of the year, following an extremely wet period in the Cape and all the Mountains surrounding Cape Town were topped with snow. Temperatures were at a low and the further we progressed up into the mountains the colder and more snowier it all became.

Route Map
Cederberg

We travelled via Ceres and up the steep gydo pass incline to Op Die Berg and the R303 to Blinkberg Pass past Nuwerus to the Matjies River, fortunately not in flood, before turning and crossing the Dwars River, up the Uitkyk Pass and down to the Cape Nature Centre at Algeria. It was freezing cold with light rain and snow on all the Mountains around us.

On Gydo Pass above Ceres
On Gydo Pass over Ceres

Op Die Berg
Op Die Berg

Op Die Berg

Op Die Berg

Favourite Coffee Stop
Favourite Coffee Stop

Road to Matjies River
Road to Matjies River

Not a long trip, which I didn’t want as Lin would have been sitting on a plane for hours but again not a great hurry either. Lin kept on remarking on how glad she was to be back surrounded by “her” mountains – Perth did not thrill !

Alterations are taking place at Algeria with a new office block and various improvements to the camping facilities being built. Given the state of the weather I was glad that we had booked the Sas Se Werf chalet, having stayed there before I knew that it would all be good and we purchased quality braai wood from the offices to suppliment the wood that we had brought back from the Botswana trip. The individual Cottages are a few Kms away, back towards the Uitkyk Pass from the offices, they are all secluded from each other, but it soon became apparant that we were the only booking, which given that it was school holidays too surprised me. Sas Se Werf is situated right on the river bank, the river was flowing very strongly but it was no threat. We unpacked and settled in to the sounds of rushing water and the starting of a good cottage fire.

From Sas Se Werf
From Sas Se Werf

At Sas Se Werf
At Sas Se Werf

Uitkyk River at sas Se Werf
Uitkyk River Sas Se Werf

🙂 to be home
Happy to be home

I had made some pre-cooked food – having become a dab hand in the kitchen for three months catering for myself 🙂 and supper was soon served around the roaring fire with good Cape Wine firmly at hand. A lovely welcome home for Lin.

Due to the cold we dragged the mattresses off the bed from the cold bedroom and lay them in front of the fire for a warm good nights rest.

Waking late to the sounds of the water outside and after a hearty cooked breakfest – these cottages are fully equipped but the lighting is solar power and it has to be said not great – we set off for a round trip drive heading for Clanwilliam Dam and thence back next to the Olifants River to the bridge before Groot Valley and then towards Rooiberg and up and over the Niewoudt Pass and back down towards Algeria again. The weather was better, no rain, but bitterly cold, the farm workers were out picking the Oranges. That night we had a really good braai and again settled down in front of the fire. We had seen little signs of life during the day. Lekker !

Clanwilliam Dam
Clanwilliam Dam

Misguided ! Early Spring Flowers
Early Spring Flowers

Next to the dam

Cloudy Water…..
Cloudy Water

The Next day we decided to travel in the opposite direction up over the Uitkyk Pass and along and back to Matjies River where we swung a left on the poor gravel road that runs next to the Keurbosfontein River towards Eselbank or Wuppertal depending on which road you take at the split. Travelling on this road we were surprised to encounter relatively newly erected pillars and gates on the road and a new house, these had not been here the last time we were here. We thought nothing of it and kept on, we saw people but no one ventured to tell us anything. Imagine our surprise, having, at the split in the road and deciding to take the lower road towards Wuppertal, with the intention of returning via Esselbank; that a few kilos further on we would come to a farm gate, most firmly locked.S32.43979 E19.29562. Well thanks everyone for the warning signs. Thinking that this was an illusion and looking for the usual gap in the link but finding none we had no choice other than to retrace our steps and given the time of day head back to Matjiesfontein and then the way we had come, back to Algeria. We came across a labourer near Majtiesfontein who confirmed that this route was now locked due to quad bikers who travel into the area enmasse and tear around with their dogs hunting – well you can quite see that would annoy people can’t you ! Its always the same people who ruin it for others.

In any event we had enjoyed our outing and arrived back at the cottage for another roaring fire and lovely dinner. It was still freezing cold.

Cederberg
cederberg

cederberg

protea

Uitkyk Pass
Uitkyk Pass

Sas Se Werf tucked away below the pass
Sas Se Werf tucked away below the pass

near cottage

Happy to be back in a place with Mountains 🙂
Happy in the Mountains

The next day it was time to head back to Cape Town and reality for Lin – three months of business books to catch up on 🙁 but we were in no hurry and again went via Clanwilliam and the dirt road through the lovely Groot Valley route to Citrusdal and then staying on the R303 back into the farmlands over the Middleberg Pass before coming out again at Op Die Berg. The scenary was stunning and the snow still very much in evidence in spite of bright sunshine. Down the Gydo pass again and into Ceres and then the long route home via Tulbach, Wellington, Agter Paarl and finally to the N1 at Klapmuts. Home early afternoon to miss the traffic and we were glad that I had left the heaters on in the house whilst we were away.

Road home !
Road home

Nice little get-a-way for me having done nothing for three months but a great home-coming for Lin who really missed home.

Brief get-away – to be recommended. Well done Cape Nature. Contact Candice 021-483-0190

More trip photos at:- Google+: Trip Photo Albums