The Cederberg Circuit takes you on a 247km journey through winding historical mountain passes, past crystal clear rivers and unique nature reserves. This circular route starts and ends in the citrus haven of Citrusdal.
CITRUSDAL TO ALGERIA CAMPSITE: 70 KM
Leaving Citrusdal, the Ou Kaapse Pad takes you out on the eastern bank of the Olifant’s River. It’s easy and flat for a time, winding between the green orchards of the citrus farms that dominate the economy in this area. Just 20km out, you pass by the oldest orange tree in the southern hemisphere (1777). You might consider a swim at the low-level bridge off to the left at 27km, as the temperatures around here can soar upwards of 50˚C. At the Clanwilliam dam you turn right up the Rondegat River Valley and into the heart of the Cederberg mountainscape, famous for its other-worldly rock formations and fynbos floral kingdom. Soon, you’ll reach the hiking and rock climbing mecca of the area, Algeria. This brings you to the Cape Nature campsite, where you can buy hiking permits and check into comfortable accommodation or pitch your tent in a shady campsite next to the river.
ALGERIA VIA UITKYK PASS TO SANDDRIF: 30KM
Leaving Algeria look out for a change in the road surface as it unexpectedly turns to brick paving for the last few kms, to the base of Uitkyk Pass.From the end of the paved road, the Uitkyk Pass rises sharply and winds spectacularly up the side of the mountain. As you hit the top you can get your last cell phone signal. While you make that final call, you can gaze over the majestic mountain peaks to the north or down the Driehoek valley to the south.
The next section presents a fairly rough road surface all the way to Cederberg Cellars. There is a small shop and wine tasting is on offer – it’s well worth a visit. If you would like to break your journey here, we recommend staying over at the bike friendly Sanddrif Holiday Resort. Not only does Sanddrif offer a range of cottages and a lovely shady campsite is on the river, but it is also the base of the Dwarsrivier MTB trails and various hiking trails. You might be tempted to spend a few days here, off load your bikes and explore the various single track routes or cool off at the Maalgat pools, nearby. If you are visiting over the weekend, taking a night ride to the Cederberg Observatory (+-3km away) for their Saturday evening star show is great fun. Cycling under the star studded skies is just magical, especially when you happen across some nocturnal wildlife!
Another worth while detour is to Stadsaal caves and rock art, located just 6km south of Sanddrif. You will need a permit which can be collected at the campsite office.
SANDDRIF TO MOUNT CEDAR: 31 KM
Leaving Sanddrif, 3km farther there is a right turn, and the road rises sharply before dropping down a steep descent to Kromrivier resort where you can swim in the stream and order an ice-cold beverage. As you pass through the gates be sure not to end up in the same pen as the Anatolian sheep dog, as he is a little protective. Further on there are some cave paintings off to the right at Truitjieskraal, but you will need a permit, which is obtainable at the farm. From here there is still a 5km climb before heading down to Mount Ceder Resort.
MOUNT CEDAR TO OP DIE BERG: 52.4 KM
From Mount Ceder, on the banks of the Grootrivier, there is a 5km descent, which you zoomed down yesterday. Today, however, you will be climbing 5km to get out of the Blinkberg Pass, between the Skurweberge and the Swartruggens mountains. As the land flattens somewhat there are beautiful rock formations seemingly scattered about with innumerable ‘gargoyles’ keeping watch. The road now turns to tar and the pace picks up all the way to the T-Junction, where the Op Die Berg village is to the left and the route continues to the right.
OP DIE BERG TO CITRUSDAL: 70.2 KM
The first 40km is on tar and is relatively flat, but this is the Koue Bokkeveld and is not for the fainthearted. It can be hellishly hot or freezing cold, and if there is a headwind it can be really tough. As the mountains close in from both sides, the road turns to gravel and winds howl through a narrow valley before you climb the Middelberg Pass. The views across to Middelberg Peak, Meulenskop and the Elandkloof valley are something to behold. Take care down the fast-paced tarred road pass, which is a screamer all the way into Citrusdal and the finish point.
- Best time to go. The cooler months of Spring and Autumn are the best time to go.
- Accommodation. Use our directory to find bike friendly accommodation options in the region.
- Water & Food. Take lots of water, especially for the longer days, where distances between water sources are large. Food and supplies can be found at the start point in Citrusdal and Clan William with limited supplies at points on more remote parts of the route, so stock up for the longer sections of the route.
- Gear. Take warm clothes for the evenings and sun protection for the day. We found that cycling in a loose long sleeve cotton top is a good way to keep the sun off.
- Navigation. Take a good printed map showing the area in detail. There is not always mobile reception so you can’t rely on GPS navigation. Visit the Cross Cape Route to download a pdf route map.
- Road Conditions. You will be riding primarily on roads with no bike lanes and car and truck traffic. You should be comfortable riding in some amount of traffic. Please ride responsibly and stay alert. Most of the route is on gravel roads, so make sure that you have the appropriate bike for the terrain.
- Tours and Group Holidays. View tour operators in the region.
Cross Cape Route – for print version of the map and additional information.
Photographs © Cape Cycle Routes
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