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.)

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.

Hike/Walk severity

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

Estimated times

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

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.