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A brief trip to Cederberg in the Western Cape


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pomkiwi

After leaving Kambaku River Sands we flew down to Cape Town where we stayed just out of the city at the Steenberg Wine Estate. The extent of the drought was clear from the level of the dam.

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Table mountain looked reasonably green and mist and cloud rolled in and out at both ends of the day - unfortunately no usefiul amounts of rain have fallen for months now.

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The following day we drove up the main highway through the Western Cape towards Clanwilliam. The extent of the drought was even more evident.

 

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From Clanwilliam we went over the pass into the Cederberg wilderness reserve and arrived at our very comfortable destination of Bushmans Kloof which is now a luxury hotel but was originally a farming estate.  It sits in an artificial oasis in the midst of a very baren landscape - they rely on water pumped from boreholes.

 

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pomkiwi

Bushmans offers drives twice daily. In the morning guests are taken out to one of many rock art sites and in the evening a drive usually involves a large artificial waterhole where various antelope and cape mountain zebra gather. The wilderness area is free of large predators with the largest being the cape leopard. This is rarely seen and altough I did accompany a guide to set a camera trap our only contact was through fresh prints seen when hiking on both sides of the hotel.

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We didn't go on any organised drives as we both love hiking - Mrs PK felt (reasonably) that we had spent enough time sitting down at Kambaku and since it was only really cool enough to walk morning and evening that was what we would do!

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The terrain is rugged but the hotel have marked some trails across the plateau and up and down ravines using small stone cairns. We walked an 8km loop in the mornings and a 5km loop in the evenings.

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Wildlife was sparse but we did see male and female klipspringer on separate days

 

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Edited by pomkiwi
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pomkiwi

On one morning walk we saw some typical antlers a little way away

 

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Surprisingly they allowed us a reasonably close approach

 

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On our way back from the evening hilke we saw another pair

 

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pomkiwi

During the day we saw a variety of wildlife that came through the grounds - mainly seeking food.

 

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Towlersonsafari

Another lovely part of South Africa @pomkiwi we stayed at a place called Oudrif in the Cederburg it is a fascinating area looking forward to the rest of your report

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pomkiwi

The property has over 100 recorded rock art sites some of which are felt to be over 10000 years old. They are generally under natural rock overhangs and protected from the occasional rainfall. Humidity is so low that this also protects them.  It was incredible to us that we could walk up to some of these completely unsupervised and without restriction - also encouraging that they have remained free of any interference from any visitors for all of this time.

 

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pomkiwi

One other unique aspect of the area is the Clanwilliam cedar which is close to extinction. The estate is carrying out a planting programme but the one we saw predated this:

 

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After a relaxing few days we returned to Cape Town and the following day up to Johannesburg. Unfortunately Mrs PK picked up a stomacjh bug from the water in Cape Town (there were press reports of an outbreak with identical symptoms that week). That didn't really detract from a great trip and it was lovely to get a send off from a flight of geese as we headed for Johannesburg airport.

 

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Marks

This looks like a really wonderful area.

The third example of rock art is particularly striking in its elegant simplicity (and great condition).

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pomkiwi

@Marks It was a lovely place to visit. The rock art is impressive but quite difficult to photograph. We were told that many of the images are incomplete as the dark red pigment is more durable and areas painted in lighter pigment have faded over time. A number of images show picture of fauna (such as elephant) that are not in the area now implying that things were much different when the images were created or that the painters travelled quite long distances.

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lmSA84

@pomkiwi - thanks for the update. We stayed in the Cederberg last year and had hoped to get into Bushmans Kloff but they had no availability. We instead stayed in Clanwilliam and visited the Sevilla Trial which has nine sites of rock paintings on a short loop.

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