We recently hosted avid cyclist and journalist, David Moseley, on the launch of our new Multi-Adventure in the Cederberg. See his words of wisdom in BicyclingSA https://www.bicycling.co.za/blogs/slowly-round-the-cederberg-explorers-welcome/
Exploring Leopard Country – Cederberg
The Cederberg region of the Western Cape is well known for its unique rock formations, dramatic scenery, and treasure trove of ancient rock art. A true wilderness area and popular getaway for city slickers from all over the world craving fresh air and clear night skies. B&H has mapped an unforgettable route and combined with their usual detailed luxury care, incredible stopovers, guided activity and seamless fun in the great outdoors.
Words by David Moseley…
Rushing is for asking directions in Moscow
Our tour was to be a portion of the Cederberg Circuit, organised by the tour outfit Bike & Hike. They promise a refined and relaxed cycle experience and that’s just what we got. The company also specialises in luxury day cycles around the Western Cape’s wine farms, Karoo, Garden Route and Vic Falls. They spotted a gap in the market for stress-free multi-day tours and applied their winning recipe of 5* “safari lodge” service where every need is considered and delivered. Bike & Hike put together magical packages that cater for avid cyclists to the weekend rider, aimed at international and locals alike.
An outstanding tour in all respects, B&H has taken the best sections from my summary below, added and subtracted other “must-do” rides and activities in the area and produced something remarkable. I can’t wait to share this experience with friends again…and again.
Day 1, Citrusdal to CapeNature Algeria
The Bike & Hike Best of Cederberg Tour started with a filter coffee at the Citrusdal Country Lodge and a short briefing. The route ahead was 70km, ending at CapeNature Algeria explained tour leader Matt. And that was that. At 30km we stopped alongside the Olifantsrivier for a quick picnic lunch before making our way towards Clanwilliam and eventually turning towards Algeria.
Overall, the route was pleasant, an amiable amble, with a slight sting in the tail as the bulk of the climbing takes place in the final 15km – all easily manageable. The Algeria resort has recently been refurbished after a major fire, so it was rather pleasing to finish the day’s ride at what looked like a brand new chalet.
A highlight of the day was the bizarre sight of mango trees in the middle of nowhere (there was some debate amongst riders as to what they actually were until we happened across the rather descriptive name of the farm – “Mango Farm”). Another highlight was the 10km of fresh singletrack recently cut at CapeNature. Even though we’d ridden 70km, riding the new trail was too tempting, and after a few cooldown drinks we duly sampled the new trails. A-plus.
Day 2, CapeNature Algeria to Mount Ceder
After a festive braai and a peaceful night’s sleep day two dawned – a 60km ride from Algeria to Mount Ceder. Overnight, a storm had blown in, but while the riders were damp, enthusiasm for the adventure was far from dampened. The ride started with a tremendous 7km heave up and over Uitkyk Pass (all tar), made slightly more interesting by the heavy rain. From the top of the pass, though, it was flat or slightly downhill for at least 40km until the final climb of the day, the Wolfberg Skeure climb.
Around halfway into the day, soaked to our bones, we stopped at Cederberg Park at Kromrivier and, in true country hospitality form, were welcomed in for a locally produced NieuwBrew beer. Just as well it was raining, because if the sun was shining it certainly wouldn’t have been one beer.
The ride from Cederberg Park to the Wolfberg Skeure climb was excellent, with some gentle rolling hills and perfect Cederberg scenery. The climb up Wolfberg Skeure was less excellent, but the final 5km downhill past large olive groves more than made up for it, as did finishing at the tranquil Mount Ceder on the Grootrivier.
Day 3, Secret Cederberg
Day three of the tour was a rest day from riding, which is exactly what you want at a place like Mount Ceder. There are walking trails, kayaks and a new mountain bike singletrack to explore. Mount Ceder also offers a “Secret Cederberg” rock art tour, where visitors are taken to incredible examples of ancient rock art, some dating back 7000 years. We opted for the new singletrack adventure in the morning, some riverside lazing at the chalet and then took up the offer of the must-see Secret Cederberg hike. It’s something you have to see for yourself to fully appreciate.
Day 4, Mount Ceder to Op-die-Berg
On our final day of riding the weather was perfect for tackling the first climb, the fittingly named Mount Ceder Never Ender. It’s not a tough climb by any stretch, but at 10km long it does have a Lord of the Rings movie trilogy finale feel to it. Eventually, after a few twists and turns, much like Frodo finally getting back to the shire, you reach the top and here it’s recommended to turn around and look back at where you’ve come from – the view looks too good to be true.
Once at the top you’re actually out of the Cederberg and technically into the Koue Bokkeveld, but the Cederberg rock formations don’t know that and for 30km it’s hard to keep your eyes on the road thanks to the sights to your left and right. The ride itself is a very gentle 50km overall and feels almost downhill all the way to Op-die-Berg. The final stretch is tar road, where you pass apple and pear farms that stretch to eternity. Our tour ended at the Wonderlik Koffiewinkel, where the proprietor welcomes you in with a caramel chocolate cheesecake so decadent that you’d have been guillotined during the French Revolution for looking at it. It’s reason enough to cycle for three days.
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