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Extraordinary landscapes, rock formations and wild flowers


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I have to say, I tend to shy away from some of the self-driving TRs- just not something I think I'll ever do...but, this TR has been fascinating, beautiful, peaceful.....just lovely. Thank you @Ritsgaai  just wonderful. I have learned a lot and am fascinated by the incredible variety of flowers. Stunning.

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16 hours ago, lmonmm said:

I have to say, I tend to shy away from some of the self-driving TRs- just not something I think I'll ever do...but, this TR has been fascinating, beautiful, peaceful.....just lovely. Thank you @Ritsgaai  just wonderful. I have learned a lot and am fascinated by the incredible variety of flowers. Stunning.

Hi, thank you for your very kind comments.  I'm happy to hear that you are enjoying the TR and photos of this very unique area. :D

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An interesting and surprising find for those with an interest in geology, just about 8 km south of Nieuwoudtville, is the glacial pavement on the farm Oorlogskloof. It is one of only a few preserved in South Africa.


Here you can witness traces formed by glaciers when South Africa was part of Gondwanaland and covered under thick sheets of ice. Rocks and pebbles that were carried in the extremely heavy sheets of ice, scratched deep grooves into the relatively soft sandstone below. Infiltration of water seems to slow down and the damp patches that form are ideal habitats for many striking geophytes. 




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It was time to move on and we took the road less traveled all the way to Clanwilliam, following the gravel road via the Botterkloof Pass with a little detour into the Biedouw Valley. :D


Obviously with many "force" stops :rolleyes:  -  beautiful flowering landscapes everywhere!





The Botterkloof Pass on the R364 from Calvinia to Clanwilliam. 







The origins of the name for Botterkloof Pass are probably due to the large number of Botterbome that grow in the kloof. Tylecodon Paniculatus can reach heights of 2 meters, making it the largest of the tylecodons. The attractive plant featuring yellowish-green, papery bark has given the plant the common name of Botterboom, directly translated meaning - Butter Tree.


In the past, the smooth, slippery stems were sometimes used to slide or ski at great speed down smooth rock faces or dam walls. :o:blink: 

I guess that was before the days of bungy jumping! ;)




There are sections close to the summit with a near vertical, unguarded drop-off.




Just about 32 km before Clanwilliam we took a sharp left to take us down into the Biedouw Valley.


There is a very beautiful little pass called Hoek-se-Berg Pass (translated as 'Corner's Mountain') which was covered in an abundance of beautiful peach-coloured lilies. It is a short, but steep pass on a minor gravel road which took us down into the Biedouw Valley.





Before the trip there were reports of a good flower show, but at this point in time we were not sure what the status of the flowering season was in the valley. The essence of the spring flowers that capture the imagination of  visitors to the Biedouw Valley is to visit shortly after the rains. We were to late! :( and made a u-turn to continue to Clanwilliam.


There was one more pass of over 26 km long to traverse before reaching Clanwilliam - the Pakhuis Pass (roughly translated meaning 'packing shed') and another one of Thomas Bain's creations. The very good tarred road winds deep into the mountains and offers spectacular views of weathered rock piles, typical to the Cederberg region's landscape. 





Edited by Ritsgaai
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For those of you who are interested - a short (20 sec) video clip of Botterkloof Pass. (Sorry for the poor quality.)


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More beautiful scenery, and that glacial pavement is spectacular!

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It was good to be back in the Cederberg Mountains. :wub:



The vast rugged, mountainous terrain of the 71 000 ha Cederberg Wilderness region, received World Heritage Site status in 1973. It is renowned for its spectacular landscapes and extraordinary weathered sandstone rock formations. The Cederberg received its name from the rare Clanwilliam cedar tree, Widdringtonia cedarbergensis.


With over 300 kilometers of well maintained hiking trails, it has become a hiking and rock climbing paradise. One tends to find Wolfberg Arch, Wolfberg Cracks and Maltese Cross regularly on serious rock climber's bucket lists.



In 2013 we reached the Wolfberg Arch after a strenuous half day's walk.









The last 3 nights of our trip was booked at Algeria in the Cederberg Wilderness along the Rondegat river. Algeria was named by a French nobleman, Count de Regne, who was in charge of state forests in the Cape Colony. The mountainous environment and the cedar trees reminded him of the Atlas Mountains in Algeria. 


Camping under huge Blue Gum trees at AlgeriaIMG_3035.JPG.d7fde7d4144e2322371ec64016e72ed6.JPGIMG_2616.JPG.3fcd6c1f60dc04ba139bb2d7d4341699.JPG




Edited by Ritsgaai
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It was not part of our original plan to visit the West Coast National Park, but we received news from relatives that the flower show was spectacular down there. Even though it was an approximate 2 hour drive, the decision was taken unanimously to leave early the next morning.




All the pinks and purples mixed with white, orange and yellow made for a spectacular show!



We were treated with beautiful views from the many lookout points overlooking a sapphire blue ocean and lagoon.





It was a long day and we turned back towards camp after enjoying a sun-downer and pizza at a small restaurant situated right on the beach at Langebaan. 




Edited by Ritsgaai
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The last day off the trip broke with a thick mist hanging over the mountain tops.


Early morning view from Uitkyk Pass situated more or less in the central part of the Cederberg Wilderness.




We headed south to visit two specific places (which became an unplanned three :)). Along the way we passed a few well known points of interest.


Lot-se-Vrou / Lot's Wife



Wolfberg Cracks and Valley of the Red Gods



The unplanned stop was here.




An unexpected surprise - a new modern complex were constructed since our previous visit - the Kromrivier Cederberg Park -  where delicious cakes and coffees are served.:rolleyes:




After the indulgence a hike in the park was just the right and sensible thing to do. ;)



Truitjieskraal Interpretive Trail is located in the Matjiesrivier Nature Reserve. The reserve has been listed as a World Heritage Site. Truitjie is an abbreviation of the girl's name Gertruida. It is believed the place was an overnight stop along the route named after a shepherd's wife or girlfriend.



Here one is overwhelmed by extraordinary sandstone formations.



Rock art is to be found in some of the cave areas.





There was one more stop before the end of the day and the end of our lovely trip.

Edited by Ritsgaai
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Wow! Spectacular landscapes indeed!


Baie dankie dat jy dit alles met ons gedeel het!

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My plesier, Peter.


Nice to refresh the memories of our trip. :wub:

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Beautiful, stunning photos taken with great flair that have been a pleasure to view especially on a cold wet sundany morning @Ritsgaai    we have been lucky enouth to visit the Springbok area twice staying at Naries, and iit is one of Jane's favourite areas.Would love to visit the Neiuwoudtville area-your report has given us even more ideas! Thank you very much

Edited by Towlersonsafari
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Cederberg, what a landscape! Those rock formations, I understand whoever carved out an elephant, but the dromedar :unsure: .. And no words can describe the flower power colours. 

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I have been trying to make it to Namaqualand and Lambert's Bay for 3 years. Something always comes up!! I think your pics have really given me and my fiancee the impetus to make it happen next year. If you can share some practical info about accommodation that would be greatly appreciated. I am not a camper. Never done it. And it seems that Namaqualand is for seasoned campers not people wet behind the ears. Ha!

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Thank you for your very kind comments, @Towlersonsafari, @xelas and @lensgonewild!

I'm am happy to hear that the report and photos inspire some of you to visit the area. :D


@lensgonewild, there are a lot of accommodation options available for that area. The best way is to google "accommodation" with the name of the town you would like to visit. 

You will find a lot of options for farm accommodation on nieuwoudtville.com 

For the Cederberg region visit capenature.co.za

Visit sanparks.org for accommodation in the Namaqua and West Coast National Park.

I also like to use lekkeslaap.co.za (Afrikaans version) or travelground.com and safarinow.com where you can search for accommodation by  town or area.

I hope you will be able to visit the area soon. :)




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  • wilddog changed the title to Extraordinary landscapes, rock formations and wild flowers

Final destination - Stadsaal Caves.




Weird and wonderful shapes to tease the imagination. :)



At times one might imagine oneself walking in Jurassic Park :blink:





Permanent residents soaking up the sun. B)



More flowers to follow...



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