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.
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 Guide 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
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.
CHECKLIST – ITEMS TO TAKE WITH YOU
-Please try to limit your luggage to 12kg in soft bags (preferably not more than 650mm x
300mm x 250mm) as space (particularly on the donkey carts) is limited.
-Bathing costume and small towel (if traveling between October and March)
-Camera, preferably small (& spare film, batteries, memory card) and small binoculars
-Comfortable, proper walking boots.
-Day pack (for carrying water, camera, sun block and packed lunch on the walks)
-Evening – comfortable change of clothes for the evening including running shoes (also
useful if your boots cause blisters)
-First Aid Kit – Each group of hikers should carry at least one simple First Aid kit for dealing
with minor emergencies.
-Glasses / Lenses (Spare)
-Hand sanitiser, disinfectant and mask/s (optional)
-Hiking sticks (optional)
-Wide brimmed sun hat (or warm hat in winter months)
-Insurance cover note (if applicable)
-Long trousers (2 pairs) and long-sleeved shirts (2) (for evenings and also sun protection)
- You may like to bring the zipped trousers which convert into shorts if walking in the
Personal toiletries and personal medications, throat lozenges, lip salve, etc.
Snacks – though a packed lunch of rolls, eggs and tomatoes (or similar) is provided each
day, you may want to bring your own snacks such as dried fruit, nuts, biltong or energy
Sun protection – sunglasses, high factor sunscreen and lip protection.
Sweater and/or jacket
Water bottle – at least one litre per person (and thermos for tea/coffee if required)
Reading Book or Guide books on the areas to be visited (can be purchased in Clanwilliam)
Alcohol – as wine/spirits is not available in the Mission villages, a modest quantity can be
brought with you. Please don’t bring glass bottles but decant into plastic bottles or use
boxed wine. Glasses can be provided by the guesthouses.
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:
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.