Please use this link to view the story Jo Goddard did for iafrica.com: http://travel.iafrica.com/searchsa/996692.html
To: Michelle Truter, Cedarberg Travel, Clanwilliam.
From: Jane Barenblatt, Bantry Bay, Cape Town.
Date: 1st June 2015.
It was wonderful meeting you on the Wednesday evening before our hike, and as I said to you that evening, you did a wonderful job, of once I had started the enquiry of hiking in the area, to never “let me off the hook.” You are obviously passionate about your job, and the professionalism with which you presented the information to us that evening, was excellent, as well as the envelope including all information, from the predicted weather, through to the story behind the CHR community initiative.
We, as a group, were very impressed with this trail and the people we met along the way, and I will, as briefly as possible, set out a few pointers that could certainly enhance the trail even further.
The transfer to Driehoek for 5 persons should have been done in a bigger vehicle, as the space was not really enough on the back seats for a 90+ km transfer. Rodney is a superb driver and was kind enough to take responsibility to get our cars parked and washed at Living Landscape. What a pleasure to arrive back to spotless cars on Sunday afternoon!
Our first day’s hike was magnificent, and the detour to the Wolfberg Arch a highlight. The Aloe Lodge made the most amazing chicken salad, but a suggestion to them for the future, is to put the dressing separately in a small disposable container, as this can get messy in a backpack. The paper bag should also be replaced with a plastic one (we realise this is not environmentally responsible), but for practical reasons, it contains the rubbish more efficiently. We enjoyed the company of Marlin who was a concerned guide and showed us plants and their uses along the way.The arrival at Langkloof was a highlight. Tea and scones with Oom Koosie on the stoep. This was a fantastic welcome, followed by an amazing dinner by his grand-daughters.
The second day’s hike, Harry was our guide, who was also tremendous. In your instructions, I think you need to note to all future hikers, that they should consider wearing long pants, as the grasses and fynbos can scratch and cut one once one reaches the “non-path white marker section” We were warned by Oom Koosie, but you could consider including this in your pre-presentation brief for packing. The lunch pack that the ladies did was superb with salad and tasty meatballs.
We arrived at Eselbank at Ina’s guest house, welcomed by Ina and her son, Cardo. Here we felt we missed the tea and scones that we had so enjoyed the previous day, and we have made the suggestion to them, that Ina’s delicious cappuccino muffins that she served us at breakfast, could be used at tea time on arrival. It is always nice to come into a warm comfortable space at the end of a long hiking day, to be welcomed with a pot of Rooibos and something to eat. The dinner that evening around the fire was superb and the Groenboontjiebredie was a hit!.
The following day we were met by Avril and the donkeys for our 3rd day’s trail to Kleinvlei. The information sheet reads as a 13km hike. This is if one does the waterfall in the morning, and then an extra 6km up a trail and return by the same route. As hikers, we feel that you need to create a trail 10-13Km long, not lengthen the experience by walking up a mountain, only to walk down again. It would be different, if one is going to see a very special rock formation, bushman paintings or a waterfall. Also once you see a village that you are going to stay in for the evening, you don’t want to veer off the path just to lengthen the day. The welcome again in this village, was with warm pots of tea and special ladies to make sure we were comfortable.
After 3 wonderful “home-stays” and much discussion with the group, we came up with some ideas that we feel could also provide the villagers with extra income from hikers such as us. We saw so many abundant lemon, orange and naartjie trees in the villages. We felt that if someone started an initiative, where jams, marmalade or lemon juices are made for sale, people would buy them. Also we saw the most amazing colours of Chrysanthemums growing in the gardens. If the seeds were collected at the end of the season, and put into envelopes, these could be sold in the guest houses.
Aubrey Mac Callum was such a special person to meet, and was generous of spirit to allow us to watch the Stormers rugby game in his home.
Bridgette, Avril’s wife, was making bread in the outdoor oven as we passed by on our evening stroll, and we got involved and enjoyed this experience. This should be included in the days activities, and then the hot Sourdough bread could be served with the dinner. The dinner that evening was delicious.
Our last day’s hike through the kloof to Wupperthal was beautiful – Avril offered to take us all the way, and we were collected by Rodney (this time in a larger vehicle) and John Mountain. They did accurate calculations of how much time we required to see the bushman paintings at Sevilla, and to arrange an early lunch, which is highly recommended for the quality and service. John Mountain’s presentation on the paintings was excellent.
We all arrived back to Living Landscapes feeling thoroughly satisfied with having walked in one of the most dramatic areas on earth, but more importantly, that we had engaged with a community of wonderful people. They made this trip extra special.
One of the last items that we discussed, and one that we feel that you have made the correct decision on, is the gratuities. We were so happy that, as explained by yourself during our initial briefing, that gratuities have been added into the costs – it would have been so difficult to have equitably tipped the guides, donkey drivers, cooks and cleaners. We wish that this would extend into other types of holidays, where one is continually getting the feeling that there is an expectation of a gratuity.
We wish you well with CHR and hope that you have linked this wonderful hike on to TripAdvisor to get extra coverage by people looking to do exciting trails.
This email sets out Henry and my sentiments. Our hiking family has been copied in on this email, and they may have additional information and suggestions to share with you – go well.
It all began in October 2006 when a group of senior citizen hikers from Cape Town spent a few days in the Cederberg at the Krakadouw guest cottages in Boskloof near Clanwilliam. We had heard that there was a guest cottage called Nossie’s Place, owned by Mrs Maria Solomon, in the Moravian village of Heuningvlei that could sleep six or seven persons. So we devised our own slackpacking hiking route that involved spending the first night at Krakadouw, then hiking up Krakadouwpoort to Heuningvlei, where we spent the second night at Nossie’s Place, on a dinner, bed and breakfast basis. The next day we hiked from Heuningvlei to the Pakhuis Pass
This trip left two of our hiking group, Denis Le Jeune and Peter Hart, wondering why there were no slackpacking trails in the Cederberg area, such as the Whale Trail in the De Hoop Nature Reserve, the Tsitsikamma Trail and the Wild Coast Meander. The main way of experiencing the wonders of the Cederberg mountains, apart from day hikes from one of the holiday resorts in the area, was by serious back packing and sleeping rough in caves or tents. Noting that the very succesful Whale Trail was the brainchild of Cape Nature, and since the Cederberg Wilderness is under their control, Denis and Peter went to talk to Cape Nature at their headquarters in Cape Town about the concept of creating slackpacking trails in the Cederberg.
Cape Nature were supportive of the idea and it was suggested that the way to go might be to set up a public/private partnership in the form of a non-profit organisation. Jaco Rheeder, Business Unit Manager for the Cederberg Mega Park, arranged a meeting of interested parties in Wupperthal on 8th March 2007. At this meeting Peter outlined the concept of slackpacking trails in the Cederberg and Denis discussed the need to establish a Not-for-Profit organization. Their ideas received support and it was agreed to set up a Planning Committee to progress the matter further.
Some of the people deeply involved in the planning were Charl du Plessis and Rika du Plessis from Cape Nature, the Rev FA Hans of the Wupperthal Moravian Church, Inga Valentyn of Wupperthal Tourism, Abraham Ockhuis from the Heuningvlei Donkey Cart Trail, Ewert Manuel of Brugkraal and Terence Winberg representing Prof John Parkington and the Clanwilliam Living Landscape Project (CLLP) which specialised in guided rock art tours. Progress was rapid and by October 2007 we were ready to establish the new organisation and then complete the planning for the initial slackpacking hiking trails.
At this time Cape Nature and the Heuningvlei/Wupperthal community had just established the Donkey Cart Trail from the top of the Pakhuis Pass to Heuningvlei, so this was incorporated into the first three hiking trails, as were guided rock art walks presented by trained CLLP personnel. A major breakthrough in the planning process was made when Kate Bergh of Cedarberg African Travel (CAT) agreed to provide a central reservation service in her office near Clanwilliam for the proposed hiking trails. CAT is a well-established tour operator that designs tailormade tours, exclusive safaris, family holidays & flexible self-drive tours to Africa and the Indian Ocean Islands. Our central booking office is run very effectively by Michelle Truter, supported by other CAT staff.
The Cederberg Heritage Route (CHR) was established at our first Annual General Meeting on 17th October 2007 as a Voluntary Association Not For Gain with a written Constitution and in accordance with the relevant South African legislation. Founding member organisations were the Moravian Church at Wupperthal, the Wupperthal Tourism Association, Cape Nature, the Clanwilliam Tourism Association, Cedarberg African Travel and CLLP. In addition, membership of the organisation is open to individuals, being persons who have a keen interest in the Cederberg area and who subscribe to the objectives of the organization.
The principal objectives of the organisation are:
# to promote sustainable eco-tourism in the Cederberg region of the Western Cape of South Africa, incorporating fields of interest such as flora and fauna, geology, botany, rock art, history, culture, heritage and archaeology;
# to promote multi-day hiking trails (commonly known as slackpacking trails) in the Cederberg region, with overnight accommodation, catering and porterage of hikers luggage provided by the local communities;
# to promote and facilitate the training of suitable local escorts to guide the hikers from one night stop to the next;
# to involve and benefit the local communities.
The first project, implemented in 2008, was the establishment of three community-based, multi-day hiking trails. A fourth trail was added in 2009 and two more in 2012.
The five shorter trails can range from two to five nights duration, depending on optional extra days that may be chosen. The Cederberg 100 Trail is an eight night-seven day trail of about 100km in length, starting at the top of the Pakhuis Pass near Clanwilliam and ending at Driehoek Farm in the central Cederberg. There are options for guided rock art walks on most of the trails.
The Cederberg Heritage Route is deeply involved with community development in that our trails make extensive use of services provided by the small, remote communities in the Moravian Church area of the eastern Cederberg, centered on the mission village of Wupperthal. These services, for which we have provided detailed guidelines, include accommodation, catering, luggage transport, rides in the traditional donkey carts of the area and guiding, which provide some much needed cash income for these rural communities. We have also helped four of the Moravian villages to establish their own Tourism Committees with formal constitutions and have provided interest free loans for upgrading two of the village guest cottages and for making pack donkey harnesses for luggage transport on routes that wheeled vehicles are not able to negotiate.
Dear Peter and Michelle
This is just to thank you for organising our holiday in South Africa. It really was a fantastic experience!
We enjoyed everything, but the Cederberg 100 hike was an absolute highlight, probably the best walk we’ve ever done. We learned such a lot, and have come home with very happy memories of the stunningly beautiful landscape and the people who welcomed us and looked after us so well. And we were impressed to see how this sort of tourism can work so positively with communities.
Thanks very much,
Judith and Paul Wilson.
The Triple Hiking Holiday is a special package of three different hiking experiences specially put together for visitors to the Western Cape area of South Africa who enjoy hiking. The tour starts and finishes at Cape Town International Airport. The hikes are fully guided on good trails. All transfers, accommodation and meals are included, except that the Cape Town section is on a Bed & Breakfast basis. The three hiking experiences are described below:
CEDERBERG MOUNTAINS – After a three hour drive from Cape Town Airport and a light lunch in Clanwilliam, the afternoon’s walk leads you among element-sculpted rose-red rocks to a charming hamlet, where the villagers will provide meals and a comfortable night in their thatched roof guest house. The next day’s hike is longer, but donkey carts are available for those preferring a lighter day; the night is spent in the smallest village – 4 houses! – in the area. On the the third day’s hike you pass waterfalls & mountain pools before reaching Kleinvlei, the remotest village of the Moravian community. On the fourth morning a short hike through a spectacular gorge brings you to Wupperthal, a Mission village dating to 19th Century, and where your transport will be waiting to take you to the winelands of the Cape.
ELGIN WINELANDS – Only a few hours drive from the Cederberg, you will discover the lovely tapestry of fynbos and fruit farms surrounding the “Green Mountain”, whose trails are gentle and interspersed with opportunities for wine-tastings. The cherry on the top? Three nights in a beautifully refurbished four star country house more than two centuries old, serving gourmet dinners & local wines. The historic homestead is set against the majestic mountains and is home to an extensive contemporary South African art collection.
CAPE TOWN & CAPE of GOOD HOPE – From the comfort of a 4-star hotel in the iconic Waterfront (4 nights), you will enjoy two days of hiking and one day to visit some of the area’s famed sites: ascend Table Mountain (1 052m) by cableway, then hike towards the lush Constantia Valley; drive down the Cape Peninsula to Cape Point Nature Reserve and after admiring the penguin colony at Seaforth, hike along the False Bay coast to Cape Point; visit the District Six Museum and/or the Castle and/or Nelson Mandela’s Robben Island prison and end up by exploring the extensive (& expanding!) Waterfront for some last- minute shopping!
Booking details for the Triple Hiking Holiday are provided in the Hiking Trails section of this website.
“Stap Saam” in celebrating Clanwilliam’s 200th anniversary (one of the 10 oldest towns in South Africa) by taking part in the iconic
Cederberg 100 km Walk
Eleven teams of 4 to 6 hikers per team will spend 7 days walking from Pakhuis Pass to Driehoek, with the first team starting on Thursday 21st August and the last on Sunday 31st Aug.
The arrival of the 1st team will coincide with the opening of the famous Clanwilliam Wild Flower Show at 18h00 on 28th August at the “Historical Flower Church” in the Main Street of Clanwilliam, which will be closed for the length of the proceedings.
This is a “slackpacking” hike, with accommodation, meals, guides to show you the route & baggage transfers provided by the Moravian villages in the Wupperthal area.
By taking part in this hike, you will not only experience the wonderful hospitality of the Cederberg folk, but also help them in a community tourism venture.
BOOK EARLY TO AVOID DISAPPOINTMENT!
Earlier this year Slingsby Maps published a new hiking map for the Cederberg called “Hike the Cederberg”. It is to a scale of 1:40 000, is printed on two double sided sheets and is available online and from book stores and outdoor shops.
Please note that Cape Nature has now (from 3 September 2013) re-opened the paths in the northern section of the Cederberg Wilderness for our Cederberg Heritage Route Trails. The huge veld fire at the end of January 2013 caused extensive damage in this northern area and as a result the paths were closed for about seven months. Now that the paths are open again we can accept reservations for all six of our trails.
In order to re-open the Cederberg 100 Trail we have made some temporary modifications to the routes used on the first three days, to avoid the areas seriously damaged in the large veld fires earlier this year. We believe that hikers will find that the modified routing is still very interesting and challenging. The total distance is still close to 100km. Please contact our Reservation Office for details of the route. (Michelle at email@example.com or tel: 027 482 2444)
Trail price discounts of 10% are now available for the summer months of January and February and for the winter months of June and July.