Come and enjoy enjoy some of the best slackpacking hiking trails in South Africa.
Hiking Trail Prices
The prices of the trails per person vary, depending on the particular trail chosen, the number of nights involved, whether you choose to include a guided rock art walk and the number of persons in the group. The maximum group size varies from trail to trail, depending on accommodation and transport limitations. The maximum group sizes are shown below for each trail. Smaller groups are accepted, but the cost per person then increases. Contact the Reservation Office for special offers which are often available on the our trails. For our trails the price per person per trail for the maximum group sizes from 1 March 2017 to 28 February 2018 are as follows:
- Klein Krakadouw Trail (18 persons max, 2 nights) – 18 persons = ZAR2 625 per person sharing
- Groot Krakadouw Trail (10 persons max, 3 nights) – 10 persons = ZAR3 275 per person sharing
- Pakhuis Trail (18 persons max, 3 nights) – 18 persons = ZAR3 950 per person sharing
- Wupperthal Trail (10 persons max, 3 nights) – 10 persons = ZAR2 775 per person sharing
- Gabriel Trail (6 persons max, 4 nights) – 6 persons = ZAR4 650 per person sharing
- Cederberg 100 Trail (6 persons max, 8 nights) – 6 persons = ZAR8 475 per person sharing
Price ranges per person per trail for groups of only two persons up to 28 February 2017, for example, are as follows:
- Klein Krakadouw Trail – 2 persons = ZAR3 950 per person sharing.
- Groot Krakadouw Trail – 2 persons = ZAR4 950 per person sharing.
- Pakhuis Trail – 2 persons = ZAR6 175 per person sharing.
- Wupperthal Trail – 2 persons = ZAR4 625 per person sharing.
- Gabriel Trail – 2 persons = ZAR8 200 per person sharing.
- Cederberg 100 Trail – 2 persons = ZAR12 350 per person sharing.
Should you wish to explore opportunities for arranging your own hiking trip at a lower cost than these full-service slackpacking trails we suggest that you consult the “Do-it-Yourself” section of the “Other Activities” page in this website. There you will find information on the accommodation available in various Moravian mission villages and the interesting hiking opportunities in the vicinity of each village.
Accommodation and catering on the Trails
Accommodation on the Cederberg Heritage Route Trails is either in comfortable guest houses or in community-based homestays in the mission villages. Please note that although the homestays are well kept they do not have the bathroom facilities or perhaps the level of comfort that you may be used to. Bathrooms will usually have to be shared by the group and the bedroom configuration may require three persons to share a room, given the traditional nature of the cottages in the mission villages. Also please note that the catering menus in the mission villages are not able to cope with special diet requirements because of their distance from Clanwilliam and the nearest food shops.
Community Trail Escorts/Guides
Please note that the members of the local communities who escort you on the hikes from one night stop to the next are not necessarily trained and accredited tourist guides. Some of them are, but others are just local community members who know the local paths and will guide you to your next night stop and introduce you to your host. They have local knowledge that they should try to impart to you, but generally their home language is Afrikaans and they may have difficulty expressing themselves in English. We provide training for the escorts as and when we are able.
Hiking Safety and Emergency Procedures
Please note that the members of the local communities who escort you on the hikes are not necessarily trained in first aid procedures. Please ensure that you have at least one simple first aid kit in your group. Note also that some of the paths used on our trails take you into remote areas of the mountains. There is generally no cell phone contact in the area and no quick way to get help. The weather in the Cederberg area can be very hot in summer and very cold and wet in winter (even snow and sleet). It can also change very quickly from warm and dry to cold and wet, so go prepared with suitable clothing. (See the Suggested Packing List below re the first aid kit and clothing.)
The following Hiking Safety and Emergency Procedures are provided for the benefit of our hiking guests and their Escorts.
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SERIOUS INJURY OR ILLNESS OF A HIKER
In the case of serious injury, protect the person concerned against further injury.
In the case of serious injury or illness, make the person as comfortable as possible.
(In hot weather get the person into the shade. In cold weather make sure that they are kept warm.) However, moving persons with suspected serious neck or back injuries is generally not advisable, unless absolutely necessary.
Apply first aid:
The first concern is for the maintenance of vital functions. A clear airway must be established in an unconscious patient. Active bleeding must be stopped by direct pressure. If there is respiratory and cardiac arrest, artificial respiration and external cardiac massage must be started without delay. Apply further first aid as seems appropriate.
Take 10 or 15 minutes to assess the situation and to agree on what action should be taken. It may be that the injury or illness is less severe than it first appeared and that the hiker can walk to the nearest habitation with help from the rest of the party.
If the hiker cannot be moved and needs urgent medical attention, then the Escort and one or two of the party (preferably those who can walk fastest) should go for help to the nearest telephone. At least two persons should stay with the injured or ill hiker, preferably those who are most skilled in first aid.
If the incident took place in the Cape Nature Wilderness Area:
Telephone the Cape Nature Reserve Manager at 027 482 2403 and The Reserve Manager will call the Business Unit Manager and Search and Rescue (telephone 10177), who will decide on the emergency action to be taken. Stay at the phone for instructions.
If the incident took place in the Moravian Church Area:
Telephone the Emergency Services at 10177. Stay at the phone for instructions.
In both cases provide the following information: full names, sex and age of the casualty; the type and severity of the injury or illness; the location of the casualty (landmarks) and the shortest route to get there; the time when the incident happened and details of the persons who have stayed with the casualty. Try to send a message back to the persons at the incident site that help is on the way.
HYPOTHERMIA (cold exposure)
Wet, wind and cold can cause hypothermia. It can happen very quickly. Symptoms include exhaustion, stumbling, uncontrolled shivering, slurred speech, loss of memory and drowsiness. Hypothermia can be fatal. The following can help avoid hypothermia:
Make sure that you have your cold and wet weather clothing with you.
Stay dry – put on rain-gear before you get wet.
Stay warm – put on warm clothing before you get cold.
Wear a warm cap or hat to minimize heat loss.
Maintain a steady intake of food. A thermos with a warm, sweet drink is helpful.
If the weather is really bad, seek shelter while you still have energy, but try to stay near the path. Mark your route from the path with small stone beacons.
HYPERTHERMIA (heat exhaustion)
Hot weather, insufficient liquid and heavy exertion can cause hyperthermia or heat exhaustion. Symptoms can include exhaustion, stumbling, dizziness, headaches and impaired vision. The following can help to avoid hyperthermia:
Start early to benefit from the cool of morning.
Rest regularly in the shade and take a longer break in the shade during the midday heat.
Wear a sun hat with a wide brim to protect the back of your neck
Wear cool, cotton-type clothing.
Drink at least 200 ml (one large cup) of water or energy drink every hour.
Mountain fires can be deadly. Follow these guidelines to avoid danger:
Stay calm and think in practical terms. Keep your group together, keep water bottles filled and, if possible, wet your equipment and clothes. Synthetic materials can melt.
Never try to out-run a fire, especially uphill. Take note of changes in wind direction.
Find water, rock slabs or cleared areas and stay there. Avoid thick bush, narrow valleys, ravines, gullies and rocky areas where you could be trapped.
Try to keep to jeep tracks, paths or open slopes.
Never try to start a back-burn; you can cause even more danger.
Keep a lookout for helicopters. Wave bright items to attract their attention.
Inform Cape Nature about the fire when you reach a telephone.
Try to avoid crossing a flooded mountain stream. Rather wait until the water level has dropped, then cross at a safe place.
If a thunderstorm is brewing, immediately move away from high ground (summits, exposed necks /cols and ridges), prominent trees, power lines and similar lightning conductors. Seek shelter in low bush or inside a dry cave or overhang
Close above …
Hiking Trail Rating System
Most of the hiking and walking on the Cederberg Heritage Route trails is not very severe, though the paths are usually stony and uneven and occasionally the route goes through the veld with no path. However, some optional hikes are more challenging. There are also numerous streams and rivers to be crossed, which may involve taking off shoes and socks and wading. We use the following Rating System to describe each day’s hike/walk on our trails.
1 – Fairly easy walk on undulating terrain, up to 8km
2 – Relatively easy hiking on undulating terrain, between 8-12km
3 – Steeper hiking over a pass AND/OR a longer distance, up to about 18km
4 – Steep mountain hike with several hours of uphill walking
Hike/Walk exposure to heights and/or scrambling
A – no exposure to heights and no scrambling
B – some hiking up rocky steps
C – some steep rock scrambling and exposure to heights involved. People with a severe problem with heights may want to avoid this walk
The times estimated below include ‘tea’ and lunch stops and some time for photography, swimming and other activities i.e. a leisurely pace. If you are a keen hiker, you may complete the walk in a faster time. Hikers are provided with a packed picnic lunch at the start of each day. Hikers need only carry a daypack, containing items needed during the day, as their overnight luggage is transported from one overnight stop to the next.
Selecting a Hiking Trail
Generally the trails include the following features:
- Spectacular mountain scenery and interesting fynbos vegetation.
- A walk to interesting rock art sites (Note that this is an optional extra) with a knowledgeable guide (except on the Klein Krakadouw and Cederberg 100 Trails).These guided walks are highly recommended as “the images are not only aesthetically beautiful, not only technically very skilfully made but are also steeped in meaning.” (John Parkington, 2002) The guides provide interpretations based on modern research.
- A ride in a traditional Cederberg donkey cart on the 12km Donkey Cart Trail (except on the Gabriel and Cederberg 100 Trails).
- The opportunity to experience life in Moravian Church mission villages.
The Six Trails
The following summary of the six trails is intended to assist you in selecting the trail that is likely to suit you best with respect to the degree of exertion required. The trails are listed more or less in order of their degree of severity:
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The Klein Krakadouw Trail (2 nights) includes:
- the 12km Donkey Cart Trail which, if you choose to walk it all, takes about 3hr and involves 250m of uphill and 300m of downhill walking (rating 2A) and
- a 7-8hr hike of 12km involving 300m uphill and then 900m downhill (rating 3B).
The Wupperthal Trail (3 nights) includes:
- the 12km Donkey CartTrail which, if you choose to walk it all, takes about 3hr and involves 250m of uphill and 300m of downhill walking (rating 2A),
- a 7-8hr hike of about 16km involving 300m uphill and then 250m downhill (rating 3B),
- a 6-7hr hike of about 12km involving 400m gradual downhill, some of it through the veld without a path, to the historic mission village of Wupperthal (rating 3B) and
- a 2-3hr guided rock art walk (rating 1A and optional).
The Pakhuis Trail (3 nights) includes:
- a 7-8hr hike of about 16km, undulating but basically 700m downhill (rating 3B),
- a 7-8hr hike of 12km involving 900m uphill and then 300m downhill (rating 3B),
- the 12km Donkey CartTrail which, if you choose to walk it all, takes about 3hr and involves 300m of uphill and 250m of downhill walking (rating 2A), followed by a 2-3hr guided rock art walk (rating 1A and optional).
The Groot Krakadouw Trail (3 or 4 nights) includes:
- a 7-8hr hike of 12km involving 900m uphill and 300m downhill (rating 3B).
- a 7-8hr hike of about 16km involving 300m uphill and then 250m downhill (rating 3B) and
- a 2hr walk of 8km, fairly level but with small ups and downs (rating 1A), followed by the 12km Donkey Cart Trail which, if you choose to walk it all, takes about 3hr and involves 300m of uphill and 250m of downhill walking (rating 2A),
NOTE: All the above four hikes have an optional extra day/night for a strenuous mountain climb up the spectacular Krakadouw Peak (rating 4C) or an easy circular, scenic walk through the hills to a lovely pool for swimming (rating 2B). Both start and end in the village of Heuningvlei.
The Gabriel Trail (4 nights) includes:
- a 6-7hr hike of about 12km involving 530m uphill and then 430m downhill (rating 3B),
- a 6-7hr hike of about 11km, mainly through the veld with just a route cleared of vegetation, involving 500m of uphill and then 500m of downhill (rating 3C or 3B for optional alternate route),
- a 4-6hr hike of about 10km (including a visit to interesting rock formations and the Eselbank Falls) involving a descent of 300m (rating 3B) and
- a 2hr hike of about 4km (rating 1B) followed by a 2hr guided rock art walk (rating 1A and optional).
The Cederberg 100 Trail (8 nights and 7 days) includes:
- a 7-8hr hike of about 16km, undulating but basically 700m downhill, from the top of the Pakhuis Pass down to the Boskloof valley (rating 3B),
- a 7-8hr hike of 12km involving 900m uphill and then 300m downhill, going up Krakadouwpoort to Krakadouwnek and then down to the village of Heuningvlei (rating 3B),
- a 7-8hr hike of about 16km involving 300m uphill and then 250m downhill, from Heuningvlei via the Boontjieskloof Hut and Grasvlei village to the village of Brugkraal (rating 3B),
- a 6-7hr hike of about 13km involving 200m gradual downhill with views of the two waterfalls on the Grasvlei River, then 200m up over the mountain and and 400m down to Wupperthal, and finally through the kloof of the Tra Tra River to the village of Kleinvlei (rating 3B),
- a 4-6hr hike of about 10km involving an ascent of 300m from Kleinvlei to the village of Eselbank, with detours to interesting rock formations and the Eselbank Falls(rating 3B),
- a 6-7hr hike of about 11km, mainly through the veld with a route cleared of vegetation, involving 500m of uphill and then 500m of downhill, from Eselbank over the mountain to the village of Langkloof (rating 3C or 3B for optional alternate route) and
- a 6-8hr hike of about 16km involving 430m uphill and then 530m downhill, from Langkloof over Gabriel’s Pass, with a detour to the Wolfberg Arch, and then down to the Driehoek farm (rating 3B),
Suggested Packing list
As space – particularly on the donkey carts – is limited, bags must be fairly compact eg: 650 x 300 x 300mm or 750 x250 x300mm, and must not weigh more than 12kg. Use soft bags please. No suitcases allowed. As wine/spirits are neither available nor provided, a (modest) quantity could probably be fitted in such bags. Avoid glass bottles. Take wine in cardboard cartons and/or spirits in plastic bottles. For the Gabriel Trail you will be required to use (borrow and return) the Cederberg Heritage Route bags which are suitable for use on the pack donkeys.
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- Each group of hikers should carry at least one simple First Aid kit for dealing with minor emergencies. (NOTE that there is generally no cell phone reception on the trail routes)
- Good hiking boots and socks/stockings
- Hat for protection against the sun
- 2 long-sleeved shirts
- 2 hiking trousers/slacks (NB protection of head/arms/legs from sun is recommended!)
- Day pack
- Bathing costume and small towel in summer. (There are nice pools in some of the streams)
- Raingear/anorak (Rain jacket and waterproof trousers recommended in winter)
- Jersey and/or jacket (Be prepared for very cold weather in winter)
- Water bottles (1.5 to 2 litres recommended in summer) & thermos (for tea or coffee)
- Favourite snacks. A packed lunch will be provided each day but you may want something to nibble along the way and to add a little variety to your packed lunch. (For example dried fruit, nuts, biltong and snack bars. Chocolate is not recommended in the hot summer weather)
- Change of clothes for the evening, including light running shoes (useful if boots cause blisters)
- Pyjamas/underwear/toilet necessities (lots of sunscreen!)
- Bath towel (Towels are generally not provided in the guest cottages)
- Small torch