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Friday, September 14, 2018

Travellers Rest (Vol 2 of 5)

We grabbed our mountain bikes and cycled up the jeep track to explore our new surroundings.   With great excitement and peddling through the field in search for flowers, we were suddenly approached by one of the farm vehicles.  It was the farmer himself, who requested that we rather cycle a different route, as they were about to hunt an eland.  

This came as a huge surprise, especially since we spent most of the day discussing the eland and its importance and symbolism to the San People a few thousand years ago.

Instead we headed back down the hill and admired the setting sun over this beautiful rocky landscape and appreciated the silence that it offered.
The weir adds to a lovely ambiance next to the Restaurant and Cafe.

Where is Travelers Rest?

Travelers Rest is such an appropriate name for this oasis in the heart of the Northern Cederberg, 34 km north of the Clan William via the breathtaking Pakhuis pass. 

The Vygie Cottage was our home for the weekend.

Top 4 Rock Art Destinations in Southern Africa

This is a unique location to view some of the finest San Rock Art paintings in the Cederberg, and being one of the top 4 destinations in Southern Africa for ancient rock art.

Twenty Four Fully equipped Self-catering Cottages

9 Years Ago

We first visited this area 9 years ago as an opportunity to see the spring flowers and enjoy the natural heritage.  It is nice to see how Travelers Rest has developed into a well established and now world renowned rock bouldering destination.

Our cottage accommodated 5 people with comfort.

World Famous Bouldering Destination

Over the years, we were pleasantly surprised to learn that the area, known as Rocklands is one of the best locations for bouldering.  During our visit we were joined by a full house of international visitors for the sport bouldering in the area.

Wonderful view of the Pakhuis Pass in the distance. Image taken from Travelers Rest Farm.

Many international sportsmen and woman flock here are during the bouldering season (which is from  July to October every year).

Star Gazing

The Cederberg has always been admired for it's clear open skies to enjoy stargazing and photography.  This venue lives up to this reputation and we experienced two wonderful nights of some of the best star gazing.

Nine Rock Art Sites (plus one)

The Sevilla Rock Art trail offers a unique experience to visit nine rock art sites.  Here you can also find a tenth site, but because of the river which needs to be crossed, it has been excluded from the route.  To get to the tenth site, one has to either cross the Brandewyn river and trek about 1 kilometer further, or you can drive on the Sevilla Cottage Drive to the location. 

San Rock Art Location: Salmaanslaagte

Sevilla has a second San rock art location at Salmaanslaagte, but this can only be visited if one is accompanied by a certified guide.  There are other sites on the farm, but these are all off limits to the public. 

In addition to the San rock art they have two wonderful short hikes through the mountain.  The Olive Tree Hiking Trail starts at the Sevilla Cottages in the image below.

Mountain Biking

We chose to cycle to the tenth Sevilla Rock Art site to experience and enjoy our surroundings.  It was a very short and easy 2.5 kilometers ride to the site.

Travelers Rest Restaurant

The Travelers Rest Restaurant offers a superb menu for the hungry hiker, sporting enthusiast and explorer.  The local cafe also offers everything you might have forgotten or run out of.

Brandewyn River

Die Brandewyn River

We would love to know where this river got it's name from, and if you know, please send us an email, because it surely makes for an interesting story to be told!

Friday, September 7, 2018

Cederberg San Rock Art and Spring Flower Trip - Vol 1 of 5

Getting there

For our family 'Getting There' is part of the journey.

From the moment we start to pack the car, our trip has already begun.  It would be out of character if we did not enjoy the drive to our destination as much as the destination itself.

Alex spent many hours researching this special location.  So by the time we arrived in the Cederberg, he got his hands on all the reading materials one needs.  Many of these books were on sale at the Travelers Rest Roadside Cafe.

I can not remember just how many times I have driven past the canola fields along this route and admired their beauty - which they grace many horizons with-, yet we never stop to capture the moment.  

Well, this time, nobody is rushing to an appointment of some sort, so we had all the time in the world to turn off onto a farmer's field and take a quick stroll to get a family selfie.

Ramskop Wild Flower Garden

Yes, the above picture is not the greatest, but it is the entrance and it looks awful, but do not judge a book by it's cover.

Flower selfies 'to burn' hehe!

This is by far the best view of Clanwilliam dam and comes highly recommended to stop in this flower garden before you head up into the hills.

The Clanwilliam dam was 100% full - overflowing actually - and a welcome sight after many years of drought in the area.

It has been communicated that this dams' wall will be raised by eleven meters, starting October 2018, which will probably change this view dramatically in the future.

Time for Tea

After a long road and some flower spotting, we were advised by the Clanwilliam Tourist Information Centre about the local Tea Tasting Room Rooibos Teahouse

After a delicious round of tea tasting and snacks we were ready to move on into the heart of the Cederberg, far away from any major town.

The world famous Rooibos Teahouse is a must-visit destination when you are in Clanwilliam.  Most of their tees are exported to Japan, but you have the pleasure of picking them off the shelf to enjoy at home.

Pakhuis Pass

To get to Travelers Rest resort, one has to travel over the spectacular Pakhuis Pass.
The drive takes you 36 km over the Cederberg Mountain range into another breathtaking valley.

Once you get to the peak of the pass, heading down into the valley, Travelers Rest can be seen in the distance.

Driving from Cape Town, it took us 3 hours to get to Clanwilliam, but the whole day to reach our final destination.  It was agreed amongst us all to make a day-trip of this, and to enjoy the journey.

This is the heart of the Northern Cederberg.  Please follow our blog posts for updates on our San Rock Art and 2018 Spring Flower excursions.

We were now following in the footsteps of the San people.

Below is a video of Rocklands, a world famous destination for bouldering, right in the midst of this venue.  A growing sport and one can see just by the caliber athletes who come here, it is not your average Jo who can achieve this.  Check it out

Rocklands from Carlos Lastra Barros on Vimeo.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Video Cederberg San Rock Art

Have you ever hiked in the Cederberg and seen ancient San Rock Art en route?  These paintings are dated over thousands of years old.  Do we really know and appreciate their value to the time in which they were painted?

We decided to engage in a Rock Art specialist, Mr David van der Westhuizen, from the Living Landscape Project in Clanwilliam to help us understand more about these special paintings.

Please see the video below for the 
Introduction to San Rock Art in the Cederberg.

Thank you for watching.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Maps and Information of Cape Agulhas

There is a lot of history when it comes to maritime affairs at the Southern most tip of Africa.  More than one hundred and fifty ships have perished along this rugged coast line.  Another main point of attraction is the quaint fishing village named Struisbaai.  No visit to this part of South Africa should exclude a stop at picturesque harbour, hoping to catch a glimpse of the famous stingrays who loved to eat out of your hand, should you dare. 

We have visited most of the light houses on this map and can not wait to tick more off our list.  To date, the lighthouse that we have enjoyed the most is however Cape Recife in Port Elizabeth.

Interesting history about the southern most tip of Africa and how the name Cape Agulhas came about.

As photographers it is very difficult to pass up the opportunity of an awesome setting and the lighthouse in the back ground, this visit to this lovely area was no different, and we enjoyed every minute.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Agulhas National Park and Cape Agulhas Lighthouse

The Meeting Point of Two Great Oceans

Originally named Cabo das Agulhas (Cape of Needles) by the Portuguese owing to the treacherous reef that has claimed many ships over the years.  It was later (because of the French influence) renamed L'Agulhas.

The Cape Agulhas lighthouse was built in 1849 and is the second oldest working lighthouse in South Africa.  

Visit the Lighthouse Museum
We ventured into the lighthouse to find a lovely museum (opened in 1994) of historical local artifacts and we dared to take the rather steep climb to the top. This day was extremely windy, so the visit was short and sweet at the top.

Agulhas National Park

This windswept rocky coastal area was declared a national park in 1999.   There are various accommodation options for visitors to explore in the link above.

Address214 Main Rd, Agulhas, Bredasdorp, 7287
Area209,6 km²
Closed ⋅ Opens 9AM Sun
Established14 September 1998

It is precisely 71 wooden steps to get you to the top of this beauty.

Spookdraai is a well known circular hiking trail (which means ghost spot) takes you along the coast and back to the entrance at Agulhas National Park.  

There are a few legends to explain the reasons for its name, one being of a beautiful woman who survived a shipwreck and constantly comes to visit the local guest house.  The other is related to a man who what decapitated in a gruesome accident at this point.  Whichever soul has still not found its peace, it is rather exciting venue for any ghost chaser to date.

Tip of Africa

Visit the southern most tip of Africa and grab a selfie at the monument.

It was a pleasure to visit this location to see the remarkable improvements that they are busy with to encourage more visitors to this destination.  There is a lovely 1km coastal board walk from the lighthouse all the way to this point.  A very large and stunning artistic replica of South Africa and Namibia can be seen and enjoyed by the tourists.

This monument indicating the Southern most tip of Africa was the main attraction.

A view across the rocky bay toward the lighthouse shows the rugged limestone coastline which has claimed more than hundred and fifty ships known to date.

The Shipwreck at Cape L'Agulhas

On 16 November 1982 a small Japanese fishing vessel, Meisho Maru No 38, did not survive the stormy conditions and ran aground.  Fortunately all the crew managed to swim to shore and survive the ordeal.