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Cederberg

Cederberg Ridge

Experiences

WRITTEN BY

Simbavati Lodge Collection

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Nestled along the Garden Route, Sedgefield is a hidden gem in the Western Cape that offers an unparalleled blend of natural beauty, tranquil environments, and a vibrant community.

Here are eight reasons why Sedgefield is a must-visit destination in the Western Cape

1. Scenic Natural Landscapes

Sedgefield is renowned for its diverse and picturesque landscapes. The town is surrounded by lush forests, serene lakes, and pristine beaches. The Goukamma Nature Reserve and Marine Protected Area, with its rich biodiversity, offers a haven for nature lovers and bird watchers. The expansive sandy shores of Myoli and Cola beaches are perfect for sunbathing, swimming, and beachcombing, while the tranquil Swartvlei Lagoon provides opportunities for kayaking, fishing, and boating.

2. The Heart of the Garden Route

Strategically located between Knysna and George, Sedgefield is often referred to as the “heart” of the Garden Route. This central location makes it an ideal base for exploring the region’s many attractions, including the Knysna Heads, Wilderness National Park, and the Outeniqua Mountains.

Garden Route - Gerrickes Point

The scenic drives around Sedgefield, such as the Seven Passes Road, offer breathtaking views and the chance to discover hidden waterfalls, forests, and quaint villages.

3. Outdoor Activities and Adventure

For adventure enthusiasts, Sedgefield offers a variety of outdoor activities. The town is famous for its paragliding, with several launch sites that provide stunning aerial views of the coastline and inland areas. Mountain biking and hiking trails wind through indigenous forests and along rugged coastlines, catering to all levels of fitness and experience.

The town also hosts the popular weekly Sedgefield Market, where visitors can enjoy local crafts, fresh produce, and live entertainment.

4. Rich Biodiversity and Birdwatching

Sedgefield is a paradise for birdwatchers, with its diverse habitats supporting a wide range of bird species. The surrounding wetlands, lakes, and forests attract birds such as the African Fish Eagle, Knysna Turaco, and Malachite Kingfisher. The area’s commitment to conservation ensures that these natural habitats remain protected, offering bird enthusiasts a unique and rewarding experience.

5. Tranquil and Community-Oriented Lifestyle

One of Sedgefield’s most appealing aspects is its tranquil and laid-back lifestyle. The town’s community-oriented atmosphere is reflected in its friendly locals, charming cafes, and artisanal shops. Sedgefield’s slow town status, as part of the international Cittaslow movement, emphasizes quality of life and sustainability. This ethos is evident in the town’s emphasis on local produce, eco-friendly practices, and a relaxed pace of life.

6. Unique Local Attractions

Sedgefield boasts several unique attractions that add to its charm. The Scarab Village is a creative hub featuring local arts and crafts, while the Mosaic Village and Outdoor Market is a vibrant space showcasing handmade goods and organic produce. For those interested in wellness, the area offers yoga retreats, wellness centers, and holistic healing practices.

7. A Gateway to Marine Wonders

The coastal waters around Sedgefield are teeming with marine life. Dolphins are a common sight, and during the migration season, visitors can witness the majestic Southern Right and Humpback whales.

The town’s commitment to marine conservation is evident in its protected areas, ensuring that the marine ecosystem remains healthy and vibrant.

8. Culinary Delights

Sedgefield’s culinary scene is a delightful mix of local flavors and international cuisine. The town’s restaurants and eateries often source ingredients from local farmers and producers, ensuring fresh and flavorful meals. From seafood specialties to traditional South African dishes, there’s something to satisfy every palate.

9. Breathtaking Accomodation

For those seeking a luxurious stay in Sedgefield, we recommend our Fynbos on Sea property. This lodge has nine rooms its self-contained cottages are perched high on the dunes, offering breathtaking views of the Indian Ocean. Nestled within a pristine 600-hectare fynbos reserve, the estate is teeming with wildlife, including eland, zebra, bushbuck, and waterbuck, providing plenty to see in every direction.

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Beach experience & beach visits from Simbavati Fynbos on Sea

Fynbos on Sea

Eight Reasons Why You Should Travel to Sedgefield

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We compare the Cederberg to the rest of the Western Cape during winter, sharing the top reasons to visit this wilderness in the cooler months of the year.

Cederberg mountains

IT'S WARMER

Daytime temperatures are typically 5°C warmer than Cape Town with a sunny Cederberg winter’s day averaging at around 21°C-23°C.
Cederberg's winter is much shorter than elsewhere in the Cape, typically spanning from mid/late May and ending in early August.

IT'S DRIER

Cederberg rains do fall in the winter but its classified as a semi-arid area, with only 180mm of rain per year. The region gets only one third of the amount of rain Cape does Town, at most.

Simbavati Cederberg Ridge - romantic dining

IT'S GORGEOUSLY GREEN

Winter in the Cederberg is beautiful and green. It's described as a rejuvenating time of the year, where the landscapes seems to flourish. Colours change from browns to vibrant greens, the flowers bloom, and crisp air adds to the refreshing sense that winter brings.

Simbavati Cederberg Ridge owner, Kate Bergh says, "The jagged sandstone rock formations of the Cederberg, with their burnt orange colour, are even more striking at this time of the year surrounded by the vibrant veld. It is quite simply, a beautiful place to visit."

STARGAZING

The Cederberg is renowned for its clear night skies, making it a perfect destination for stargazing. Winter nights are particularly crisp and clear, offering spectacular views of the Milky Way and constellations.

ACTIVE DAYS

During a Cederberg winter your days are not ruled by the hot African sun and its limitations on your schedule. The milder, temperate climate means time can be spent comfortably exploring the great outdoors.

Savour a lie in followed by a leisurely breakfast and then head out for a long walk. Alternatively, you can enjoy an excursion in the morning and a bike ride in the afternoon sun.

You may also opt to explore the rich cultural heritage of the Cederberg, with its numerous San rock art sites. The cooler temperatures make it an ideal time to visit these ancient paintings, offering a glimpse into the lives of the region's earliest inhabitants.

Simbavati Cederberg Ridge - rock art

KEEPING COSY

Early mornings are cold, but Simbavati Cederberg Ridge is a lodge built to withstand both the summer heat and the winter morning cold. Underfloor heating and log-burning fireplaces make the suites very cosy. The main lodge also has a fireplace in the library, dining room and sitting room, for when it is a little chilly.

Simbavati Cederberg Ridge - exterior

FLOWERS & FYNBOS

Cederberg celebrates an early spring, compared to the rest of the Cape. Depending on the rains, the spring flowers bloom from late July to September, along with the early flowering fynbos.

Winter in the Cederberg is a time of blooming for many endemic plant species. The fynbos comes alive with vibrant colors, and the cooler temperatures provide an excellent opportunity for spotting wildlife, including the elusive Cape leopard. There is a magic in experiencing the spring flower spectacle while the rest of the country is still in winter-mode.

Simbavati Cederberg Ridge overlooks the natural fynbos area of our 3,000h farm with the Cederberg Wilderness Reserve beyond. There’s a range of walking and mountain bike trails right from the lodge.

Wild spring flowers in Biedouw valley, Cederberg mountains

An escape to Simbavati Cederberg Ridge and the rugged splendour of Cederberg's wilderness is always a good idea, but is especially appealing in wintertime.

Explore more about Simbavati Cederberg Ridge and contact us to book your stay.

Find further reasons why the Cederberg winter is idyllic, here.

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Cederberg

Cederberg Ridge

Experiences

The Joys of the Cederberg inWinter

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The Garden Route is a scenic stretch of coastline in South Africa, extending from Mossel Bay in the Western Cape to Storms River in the Eastern Cape. Renowned for its breathtaking natural beauty, the Garden Route encompasses lush forests, pristine beaches, and picturesque towns, making it a popular destination for travelers seeking outdoor adventures and coastal charm.

The region's name is derived from its verdant landscapes and rich biodiversity, which includes the unique Fynbos vegetation found nowhere else on Earth. Fynbos is a diverse biome dominated by shrubland vegetation, characterized by its remarkable array of plant species, many of which are endemic to the Cape Floral Kingdom.

Fynbos plays a vital role in the ecosystem, providing habitat for numerous animal species, regulating water flow, and contributing to soil fertility. The Garden Route's Fynbos habitats are of global significance, recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and attracting nature enthusiasts from around the world eager to explore its natural wonders and ecological treasures.

Location

The Garden Route is located along the southern coast of South Africa, stretching from Mossel Bay in the Western Cape to Storms River in the Eastern Cape. It encompasses a scenic stretch of coastline that spans approximately 300 kilometers (186 miles) between these two points.

The Garden Route is easily accessible from major cities such as Cape Town and Port Elizabeth, making it a popular destination for both domestic and international travelers seeking to explore the region's natural beauty and attractions.

Top Attractions Along the Garden Route

The Garden Route is renowned for its stunning natural beauty and diverse array of attractions, offering something for every traveler to enjoy. Here are some of the must-visit attractions along the Garden Route:

1. Tsitsikamma National Park:

  • Storms River Mouth: Explore dramatic coastal scenery, ancient forests, and the famous Suspension Bridge overlooking the Storms River Mouth.
  • Otter Trail: Embark on one of South Africa's most iconic hiking trails, offering breathtaking views of the coastline and opportunities for wildlife sightings.

2. Knysna:

  • Knysna Heads: Marvel at the imposing sandstone cliffs of the Knysna Heads, where the Knysna Lagoon meets the Indian Ocean, offering panoramic views and photo opportunities.
  • Knysna Forest: Discover the enchanting indigenous forests of Knysna, home to towering yellowwood trees, ferns, and a variety of bird species.

3. Plettenberg Bay:

  • Robberg Nature Reserve: Hike along rugged coastal trails in this pristine nature reserve, known for its stunning landscapes, seal colonies, and marine birdlife.
  • Beaches: Relax on the sandy shores of Plettenberg Bay's beautiful beaches, including Lookout Beach, Keurboomstrand, and Nature's Valley.

4. Wilderness:

  • Wilderness National Park: Explore this scenic paradise of lakes, rivers, and indigenous forests, offering opportunities for hiking, canoeing, birdwatching, and picnicking.
  • Map of Africa: Take in panoramic views of the Kaaimans River Valley and the Outeniqua Mountains from this lookout point, which offers a unique view resembling the shape of the African continent.

5. Mossel Bay:

  • Diaz Beach and Point: Visit the site where Portuguese explorer Bartolomeu Dias landed in 1488, and explore the historic Cape St. Blaize Lighthouse and the Dias Museum Complex.
  • Great White Shark Cage Diving: Experience the thrill of cage diving with great white sharks in the waters off Mossel Bay, one of the best places in the world to encounter these majestic predators.

6. Oudtshoorn:

  • Cango Caves: Descend into the underground chambers of the Cango Caves, marveling at their intricate limestone formations and vast caverns on guided tours.
  • Ostrich Farms: Learn about the ostrich farming industry and interact with these fascinating birds at one of the many ostrich farms in Oudtshoorn.

7. George:

  • Outeniqua Transport Museum: Explore a fascinating collection of vintage trains, cars, and locomotives at this museum, offering insight into South Africa's transportation history.
  • George Golf Club: Tee off at one of South Africa's top golf courses, surrounded by scenic landscapes and challenging fairways.

8. Nature's Valley:

  • Nature's Valley Beach: Relax on the pristine sands of Nature's Valley Beach, nestled between towering cliffs and the tranquil waters of the Groot River Lagoon.

9. Sedgefield Beaches:

  • Myoli Beach: Known for its long sandy stretches and excellent kite-surfing conditions, Myoli Beach is a popular spot for beach lovers and water sports enthusiasts.
  • Swartvlei Beach: Enjoy serene walks and birdwatching along the shores of Swartvlei Beach, a quieter alternative to the bustling Myoli Beach

From stunning natural landmarks and outdoor adventures to cultural attractions and historic sites, the Garden Route offers an unforgettable journey through some of South Africa's most captivating landscapes.

Accomodation in the Garden Route

Accommodation options along the Garden Route cater to a wide range of preferences and budgets, from luxury resorts and boutique hotels to cozy guesthouses and budget-friendly backpacker lodges.

However, we suggesr our Fynbos on Sea lodge for the ultimate Garden Route experience.

Advantages of Staying at Our Fynbos on Sea Lodge

Fynbos On Sea Lodge offers a unique and unforgettable experience amidst the pristine beauty of the Garden Route. Here are some highlights of what makes Fynbos On Sea Lodge great:

1. Spectacular Location:

  • Oceanfront Setting: Situated along the scenic Garden Route coastline, Fynbos On Sea Lodge boasts stunning views of the Indian Ocean and direct access to secluded beaches, providing guests with a tranquil and picturesque retreat.

2. Luxury Accommodations:

  • Elegant Suites: The lodge offers luxurious suites adorned with stylish decor and modern amenities, providing a comfortable and inviting space for guests to relax and unwind.

3. Personalized Service:

  • Warm Hospitality: Guests at Fynbos On Sea Lodge can expect personalized service and attention to detail from the friendly and attentive staff, ensuring a memorable and enjoyable stay.

4. Nature and Wildlife:

  • Abundant Fynbos: Surrounded by indigenous fynbos vegetation, the lodge offers guests the opportunity to immerse themselves in the unique flora and fauna of the region, with guided walks and birdwatching excursions available.

5. Outdoor Activities:

  • Exploration Opportunities: Fynbos On Sea Lodge serves as a gateway to outdoor adventures along the Garden Route, including hiking, mountain biking, whale watching (seasonal), and exploring nearby nature reserves and coastal towns.

6. Peace and Tranquility:

  • Secluded Retreat: With its remote location and serene atmosphere, Fynbos On Sea Lodge provides a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, allowing guests to reconnect with nature and rejuvenate their senses.

7. Sustainable Practices:

  • Environmental Stewardship: Fynbos On Sea Lodge is committed to sustainable tourism practices, minimizing its ecological footprint and supporting conservation efforts to protect the delicate ecosystems of the Garden Route.

8. Culinary Delights:

  • Farm-to-Table Cuisine: Guests can savor delicious meals prepared with fresh, locally sourced ingredients, showcasing the flavors of the Garden Route and South African cuisine.

9. Romantic Getaway:

  • Intimate Setting: Whether celebrating a honeymoon, anniversary, or special occasion, Fynbos On Sea Lodge offers a romantic and intimate setting for couples seeking a memorable escape.

10. Relaxation and Wellness:

  • Spa Treatments: Indulge in pampering spa treatments and wellness therapies, designed to promote relaxation, rejuvenation, and holistic well-being.

Visit Fynbos on Sea Today

Book now

Tips for Travelling to the Garden Route

When planning your journey to the Garden Route, here are some travel tips to help you get there smoothly:

  1. Choose Your Mode of Transportation: Decide whether you'll be driving, flying, or taking public transportation to the Garden Route. Driving offers flexibility and the opportunity to explore the region at your own pace, while flying to nearby airports like George or Port Elizabeth can save time if you're coming from farther away.
  2. Book Transportation in Advance: If you're renting a car or booking flights, it's advisable to do so in advance, especially during peak travel seasons. This ensures availability and may even save you money.
  3. Consider a Road Trip: Driving to the Garden Route is a popular option, offering scenic views and the chance to stop at charming towns and attractions along the way. The route from Cape Town to Mossel Bay is particularly picturesque, passing through towns like Hermanus and Swellendam.
  4. Check Weather Conditions: Before you travel, check the weather forecast for the Garden Route region to pack appropriate clothing and plan for any potential weather-related delays.
  5. Pack Essentials: Whether you're driving or flying, be sure to pack essentials such as sunscreen, a hat, comfortable walking shoes, insect repellent, and any necessary medications. If you're planning outdoor activities like hiking or beach outings, don't forget to bring appropriate gear.
  6. Plan Your Route: If you're driving, plan your route in advance and consider any stops or detours you'd like to make along the way. This could include visits to nearby attractions like the Cape Winelands, Cape Agulhas (the southernmost tip of Africa), or the Klein Karoo region.
  7. Stay Informed: Keep yourself informed about road conditions, traffic updates, and any travel advisories or restrictions that may affect your journey, especially if you're driving long distances.
  8. Be Flexible: While it's good to have a plan, be flexible and open to unexpected detours or discoveries along the way. The Garden Route is full of hidden gems and surprises waiting to be explored.

By following these travel tips, you can ensure a smooth and enjoyable journey to the Garden Route, where you'll discover stunning scenery, diverse attractions, and warm hospitality awaiting you.

Frequently Asked Questions About the Gardne Route

1.How long is the Garden Route?

  • The Garden Route spans approximately 300 kilometers (186 miles) along the southern coast of South Africa, from Mossel Bay in the west to Storms River in the east. The route follows the N2 highway and can be traveled in a few days, although many visitors choose to spend longer exploring the region's attractions.

3. What are the top attractions along the Garden Route?

  • Some of the top attractions along the Garden Route include Tsitsikamma National Park, Knysna Lagoon and Heads, Plettenberg Bay beaches, Wilderness National Park, and the Cango Caves in Oudtshoorn. Other highlights include nature reserves, hiking trails, scenic viewpoints, and cultural attractions.

4. When is the best time to visit the Garden Route?

  • The Garden Route can be visited year-round, but the best time to visit is during the spring and autumn months (September to November and March to May), when temperatures are mild, wildflowers are in bloom, and rainfall is minimal. The summer months (December to February) are also popular for beach activities, but accommodation may be more crowded.

5. What outdoor activities can I do along the Garden Route?

  • The Garden Route offers a wide range of outdoor activities, including hiking, mountain biking, surfing, kayaking, whale watching (in season), and zip-lining. Nature lovers can explore indigenous forests, birdwatching hotspots, and wildlife reserves, while adventure seekers can enjoy adrenaline-pumping experiences like bungee jumping and canopy tours.

6. Is it safe to travel along the Garden Route?

  • Yes, the Garden Route is generally considered a safe destination for travelers. However, it's important to exercise caution and adhere to safety guidelines, especially when engaging in outdoor activities like hiking or water sports. Be aware of your surroundings, follow local regulations, and take necessary precautions to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip.

7. How long does it take to drive the Garden Route?

  • The driving time along the Garden Route depends on your starting point and how many stops you make along the way. The route can be driven in a day, but most travelers choose to spend several days to a week exploring the attractions and towns along the route at a leisurely pace.

8. Are there accommodation options along the Garden Route?

  • Yes, there are plenty of accommodation options along the Garden Route, ranging from luxury resorts and boutique hotels to guesthouses, backpacker lodges, and campsites. It's advisable to book accommodation in advance, especially during peak tourist seasons, to ensure availability.

9. What should I pack for a trip to the Garden Route?

  • When packing for a trip to the Garden Route, consider bringing lightweight clothing suitable for warm weather, as well as layers for cooler evenings. Don't forget essentials like sunscreen, a hat, insect repellent, comfortable walking shoes, and any necessary medications or personal items. If you plan to engage in outdoor activities, pack appropriate gear such as hiking boots, swimsuits, and waterproof jackets.

10. Are there guided tours available along the Garden Route?

  • Yes, there are guided tours and excursions available along the Garden Route, ranging from day trips to multi-day adventures. These tours offer opportunities to explore the region's attractions with knowledgeable guides, providing insights into the area's history, culture, and natural wonders.
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Fynbos on Sea

The Ultimate Guide to the Garden Route

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Welcome to our Ultimate Guide to the Cederberg!

Nestled in the rugged beauty of South Africa's Western Cape, the Cederberg is a destination like no other. We have first hand experience on this rich cultural, and historic destination, from our luxurious Cederberg Ridge lodge overlooking the natural fynbos area of our 3,000h farm with the Cederberg Wilderness Reserve beyond.

This comprehensive guide will take you on a journey through this ancient land, from its towering sandstone cliffs to its hidden rock art sites, offering everything you need to know to plan your perfect adventure with us. Whether you're a nature lover, a history buff, or simply seeking a luxurious retreat into the wild, the Cederberg has something for everyone. So, pack your bags and get ready to explore this enchanting region with us!

Location

The Cederberg is located in the Western Cape province of South Africa, approximately 300 kilometers north of Cape Town. It is a vast wilderness area that forms part of the Cape Floral Region, a World Heritage Site renowned for its biodiversity and stunning landscapes. The Cederberg mountains stretch for about 50 kilometers north-south and 20 kilometers east-west, offering visitors a rugged and scenic destination to explore.

Geographical features and landscapes of the Cederberg

The Cederberg region is renowned for its diverse and captivating geographical features and landscapes, which make it a paradise for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. Here are some of the key geographical features and landscapes of the Cederberg:

1. Sandstone Formations

The Cederberg is characterized by its towering sandstone cliffs, which have been sculpted over millions of years by wind and water erosion. These formations create a dramatic and picturesque backdrop throughout the region.

2. Mountain Ranges

The Cederberg Mountains themselves are a prominent feature of the landscape, stretching for about 50 kilometers north-south and 20 kilometers east-west. These rugged mountains offer stunning panoramic views and countless opportunities for hiking and exploration.

3. Rock Formations and Outcrops

The area is dotted with fascinating rock formations and outcrops, including iconic landmarks like the Maltese Cross and the Wolfberg Arch. These natural wonders are popular attractions for visitors and provide excellent opportunities for photography.

4. Gorges and Valleys

Deep gorges and valleys carve their way through the Cederberg landscape, offering secluded havens of tranquility and beauty. Some notable examples include the Maalgat and the Middelberg Waterfall.

5. Rivers and Waterfalls

The Cederberg is crisscrossed by rivers and streams, which flow through verdant valleys and rocky gorges. These waterways are home to picturesque waterfalls, such as the Sevilla Rock Art Trail waterfall and the Middelberg Waterfall, providing refreshing spots to cool off during hikes.

6. Fynbos and Flora

The Cederberg is part of the Cape Floral Region, a biodiversity hotspot known for its unique flora and fauna. The region is covered in a blanket of fynbos vegetation, which includes a wide variety of plant species, many of which are endemic to the area.

7. Wildlife

While exploring the Cederberg, visitors may encounter a range of wildlife, including small mammals like rock hyraxes and dassies, as well as bird species such as the Cape sugarbird and the Verreaux's eagle.

8. Caves and Overhangs

The Cederberg is home to numerous caves and overhangs, some of which contain ancient rock art painted by the San and Khoi peoples thousands of years ago. These rock art sites provide a fascinating glimpse into the region's rich cultural heritage.

From its towering cliffs and rugged mountains to its hidden valleys and ancient rock art sites, the Cederberg offers a wealth of geographical features and landscapes just waiting to be explored.

Climate & Weather Patterns

The climate of the Cederberg region is characterized by its semi-arid conditions, with hot summers and cold winters. Here's a breakdown of the climate and weather patterns you can expect in the Cederberg:

Summer (December to February):

  • Temperature: Summer temperatures in the Cederberg can soar, with daytime highs often reaching into the mid-30s Celsius (mid-90s Fahrenheit).
  • Rainfall: This season typically experiences very little rainfall, with occasional thunderstorms bringing short bursts of precipitation. However, these storms are usually isolated and do not significantly affect overall rainfall levels.

Autumn (March to May):

  • Temperature: Autumn brings cooler temperatures compared to summer, with daytime highs ranging from the mid-teens to mid-20s Celsius (high 50s to mid-70s Fahrenheit).
  • Rainfall: Rainfall increases slightly during autumn, although it remains relatively low overall. This season may see some light showers, particularly towards the end of May.

Winter (June to August):

  • Temperature: Winters in the Cederberg are cold, with daytime temperatures averaging between 10 to 20 degrees Celsius (50 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit). Nighttime temperatures can drop below freezing, especially at higher elevations.
  • Rainfall: Winter is the rainy season in the Cederberg, with the majority of the region's annual rainfall occurring during this time. However, rainfall amounts can vary greatly from year to year, and some winters may be drier than others.

Spring (September to November):

  • Temperature: Spring brings gradually warming temperatures, with daytime highs increasing from the low to mid-20s Celsius (mid-70s to low 80s Fahrenheit).
  • Rainfall: Rainfall begins to decrease in spring as the region transitions into the dry season. Showers become less frequent, although the occasional spring rainstorm is still possible.

Other Considerations:

  • Wind: The Cederberg region can be windy, particularly during the summer months. Strong south-easterly winds, known locally as the Cape Doctor, are common in summer and can bring relief from the heat but may also make outdoor activities challenging.
  • Altitude: The Cederberg's varied topography results in temperature variations depending on altitude. Higher elevations tend to be cooler than lower-lying areas, especially at night.

Overall, the Cederberg's climate is characterized by its dryness, with rainfall being relatively low throughout the year. Visitors should be prepared for hot summers, cold winters, and the possibility of sudden changes in weather, particularly during the transition seasons of autumn and spring.

Must-see Attractions & Recommended Experiences

The Cederberg region is brimming with natural wonders, cultural treasures, and outdoor adventures. Here are some must-see attractions that should be on every visitor's itinerary:

1. Rock Art Sites:

  • Stadsaal Caves: Explore this remarkable cave complex adorned with ancient San rock art, depicting scenes of daily life, spiritual rituals, and the region's wildlife.
  • Truitjieskraal: Discover the fascinating rock art panels at Truitjieskraal, showcasing intricate depictions of animals, hunters, and geometric patterns.

2. Rock Formations and Hiking Trails:

  • Maltese Cross: Hike to this iconic sandstone formation, resembling its namesake, for panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.
  • Wolfberg Arch: Embark on a challenging hike to witness the awe-inspiring natural arch, carved by millennia of wind and water erosion.
  • Dwarsrivier Valley Trails: Explore a network of hiking trails offering breathtaking vistas, pristine wilderness, and opportunities for wildlife sightings.

3. Waterfalls and Swimming Holes:

  • Middelberg Waterfall: Take a scenic hike to this picturesque waterfall, cascading into a crystal-clear pool ideal for a refreshing dip.
  • Maalgat: Relax at this tranquil swimming hole nestled in a rocky gorge, surrounded by rugged cliffs and lush vegetation.

4. Outdoor Adventures:

  • Rock Climbing: Test your skills on the challenging sandstone cliffs and boulders scattered throughout the Cederberg, with routes suitable for climbers of all levels.
  • Mountain Biking: Traverse rugged terrain and scenic trails on a mountain biking adventure, immersing yourself in the natural beauty of the region.
  • Wildflower Viewing: Visit in spring to witness the spectacular display of wildflowers carpeting the landscape, including numerous endemic species found only in the Cape Floral Kingdom.

5. Rooibos Tea Farms:

Rooibos Route: Discover the origins of South Africa's beloved herbal tea by touring Rooibos farms and learning about the cultivation and processing of this indigenous plant.

6. Cederberg Observatory:

Cederberg Observatory: Explore the night sky at this remote observatory, where clear, dark skies offer unparalleled views of stars, planets, and celestial phenomena.

7. Wine Tasting:

Cederberg Wine Estates: Sample award-winning wines amidst breathtaking mountain scenery, visiting boutique wineries known for producing exceptional cool-climate varietals.

8. Camping and Stargazing:

Kromrivier Campsite: Pitch your tent or book a chalet at this rustic campsite, offering access to scenic hiking trails and pristine night skies perfect for stargazing.

9. Cedarberg Wilderness Area:

Cedarberg Wilderness Area: Immerse yourself in the unspoiled beauty of this protected wilderness area, home to diverse flora and fauna, ancient rock formations, and secluded hiking trails.

Planning Your Trip to the Cederberg

Getting to the Cederberg from Cape Town is relatively straightforward, whether you're driving yourself or using public transportation. Here are the most common methods:

1. Self-Driving:

  • Route: From Cape Town, take the N1 highway north towards Paarl.
  • Continue on the N7: Follow the N1 until it merges with the N7 highway. Stay on the N7, heading north towards Citrusdal.
  • Drive to Clanwilliam: Continue on the N7 past Citrusdal until you reach Clanwilliam, a charming town at the gateway to the Cederberg.
  • Follow Signs: In Clanwilliam, follow signs directing you to the Cederberg Wilderness Area or your specific destination within the region.

2. Public Transportation:

  • Bus: Several bus companies operate routes from Cape Town to Clanwilliam, the main town near the Cederberg. You can check schedules and book tickets online or at the bus terminals in Cape Town.
  • Train: While there isn't a direct train route to the Cederberg, you can take a train from Cape Town to stations closer to Clanwilliam, such as Piketberg or Klawer. From there, you can arrange for a taxi or shuttle service to take you the rest of the way.
  • Shuttle Services: Some companies offer shuttle services from Cape Town to the Cederberg. These services may be more convenient if you prefer not to drive yourself.

Tips for Travel:

  • Distance: The distance from Cape Town to Clanwilliam is approximately 230 to 250 kilometers, depending on your exact destination within the Cederberg.
  • Travel Time: The drive from Cape Town to Clanwilliam typically takes around 2.5 to 3 hours by car, depending on traffic and road conditions.
  • Road Conditions: Most of the route is on well-maintained highways, but some sections may have narrower roads or sharp bends, especially as you get closer to the Cederberg.
  • Supplies: It's a good idea to stock up on supplies, including food, water, and fuel, before heading into the Cederberg, as amenities may be limited once you're in the more remote areas.
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Whether you choose to drive yourself or use public transportation, the journey to the Cederberg is part of the adventure, offering stunning scenery and the promise of unforgettable experiences awaiting you in this ruggedly beautiful region.

Accomodation: The Benefits of Staying at Cederberg Ridge

Staying at Cederberg Ridge offers a harmonious blend of luxury, adventure, and serenity, making it an ideal retreat for travelers seeking an immersive experience in the rugged beauty of the Cederberg region. From the moment guests arrive, they are greeted with warm hospitality and breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains, setting the stage for a truly unforgettable stay.

The lodge's stylish and comfortable accommodations provide a tranquil haven where guests can relax and rejuvenate after a day of exploration, while gourmet dining experiences showcase the flavors of the region. Expert-led excursions and activities offer opportunities for adventure and discovery, whether hiking through pristine wilderness, immersing in local culture, or indulging in wellness treatments at the spa.

Join us for the Cederberg Wine Weekend!

Read more here

With a commitment to sustainability and environmental conservation, Cederberg Ridge ensures that guests can enjoy their stay while minimizing their ecological footprint. Ultimately, staying at Cederberg Ridge promises an enriching and memorable experience, where guests can create cherished moments amidst the natural splendor of the Cederberg.

Recommended length of stay at our Cederberg Ridge Lodge

We recommend a minimum stay of 2-3 nights at our Cederberg Ridge lodge for the full experience. Cederberg Ridge embodies the genuine charm of a contemporary African farmhouse.

Its welcoming interiors feature vaulted ceilings, wooden beams, and natural textures, creating a sense of spaciousness and lightness. Expansive French windows lead out to a spacious covered stoep and dining deck, offering picturesque views of the garden and the majestic mountains stretching beyond.

Packing Essentials for Your Trip to the Cederberg

When preparing for your trip to the Cederberg, it's essential to pack thoughtfully to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable experience in this ruggedly beautiful region. Here are some packing essentials to consider:

Clothing:

  • Layered Clothing: Temperatures in the Cederberg can vary widely, especially between day and night. Pack lightweight, breathable layers that you can easily add or remove as needed.
  • Comfortable Walking Shoes: Whether you're hiking the trails or exploring the rock formations, sturdy and comfortable walking shoes are a must.
  • Hat and Sunglasses: Protect yourself from the sun's rays with a wide-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses.
  • Rain Gear: While rainfall in the Cederberg is relatively low, it's always a good idea to pack a waterproof jacket or poncho, especially if you're visiting during the winter months.

Outdoor Gear:

  • Daypack: Carry a lightweight daypack to hold essentials such as water, snacks, sunscreen, and a camera while exploring the outdoors.
  • Hiking Gear: If you plan to hike, pack a map, compass or GPS device, first aid kit, and any necessary hiking gear such as trekking poles or a hydration system.

Personal Items:

  • Sunscreen and Insect Repellent: Protect your skin from the sun's UV rays and ward off pesky insects with high-quality sunscreen and insect repellent.
  • Reusable Water Bottle: Stay hydrated during your adventures by bringing along a reusable water bottle that you can refill at the lodge or from natural water sources.
  • Personal Medications: Don't forget to pack any prescription medications or personal medical supplies you may need during your stay.

Miscellaneous:

  • Camera or Binoculars: Capture the stunning scenery and wildlife of the Cederberg with a camera or binoculars.
  • Travel Guidebook or Map: Bring along a guidebook or map of the Cederberg to help you navigate the region and discover its hidden gems.
  • Cash and Credit Cards: While some establishments may accept card payments, it's always a good idea to carry some cash for small purchases or in case of emergencies.

Optional Items:

  • Swimwear: If you plan to visit waterfalls or swimming holes, pack swimwear and a towel for a refreshing dip.

Sustainability Tip:

  • Reusable Eco-Friendly Products: Consider bringing reusable items such as a travel mug, utensils, and eco-friendly toiletries to minimize waste and reduce your environmental impact during your trip.

By packing these essentials and considering the unique characteristics of the Cederberg region, you'll be well-prepared to embark on an unforgettable adventure amidst the breathtaking landscapes and natural wonders of this South African gem.

Frequently Asked Questions About the Cederberg

What is the best time to visit the Cederberg?

The best time to visit the Cederberg is during the spring and autumn months (September to November and March to May), when temperatures are mild, wildflowers are in bloom, and rainfall is minimal. However, the region can be visited year-round, with each season offering its own unique attractions and experiences.

Are there hiking trails suitable for beginners in the Cederberg?

Yes, there are hiking trails in the Cederberg that cater to hikers of all levels, including beginners. Trails like the Algeria and Dwarsrivier Valley Trails offer relatively easy walks with scenic views and opportunities to explore the natural beauty of the region without requiring advanced hiking skills.

Is it possible to see rock art in the Cederberg?

Yes, the Cederberg is home to numerous rock art sites dating back thousands of years, created by the indigenous San and Khoi peoples. Visitors can explore these ancient artworks at sites such as the Stadsaal Caves, Truitjieskraal, and Sevilla Rock Art Trail, which offer glimpses into the rich cultural heritage of the region.

What wildlife can be found in the Cederberg?

The Cederberg is home to a variety of wildlife, including small mammals like rock hyraxes, dassies, and mongoose, as well as bird species such as the Cape sugarbird, Verreaux's eagle, and various species of raptors. While wildlife sightings are common, it's important to remember that the Cederberg is a wilderness area, and encounters with larger animals like leopards are rare.

Are there accommodation options available in the Cederberg?

Yes, there are several accommodation options available in the Cederberg, ranging from luxury lodges and boutique guesthouses to campsites and self-catering cottages. Popular choices include Cederberg Ridge Lodge

What activities can I do in the Cederberg besides hiking?

In addition to hiking, visitors to the Cederberg can enjoy a variety of outdoor activities, including mountain biking, rock climbing, birdwatching, stargazing, swimming in natural pools, and exploring local towns and cultural sites. Guided tours and excursions are also available for those seeking immersive experiences in the region.

Is it safe to visit the Cederberg?

Yes, the Cederberg is generally considered a safe destination for travelers. However, it's always important to exercise caution and adhere to safety guidelines, especially when hiking or participating in outdoor activities. Be sure to stay on marked trails, carry plenty of water, and let someone know your itinerary if venturing into remote areas.

Can I visit the Cederberg as a day trip from Cape Town?

While it's possible to visit the Cederberg as a day trip from Cape Town, it's recommended to spend at least one night in the region to fully experience all that it has to offer. With its scenic beauty, outdoor adventures, and cultural attractions, the Cederberg is best explored at a leisurely pace over multiple days.

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Cederberg Ridge

The Ultimate Guide to the Cederberg

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Fondly known as "Umfundisi" by the Simbavati Camp George family, Innocent epitomises the understated and assured professionalism that guests relish during their time at Simbavati Camp George.

He is a master mixologist and the soul of the Simbavati Camp George bar, where his humble grin touches everyone he serves.

Being a longstanding resident of the surrounding area and having spent a lifetime in the bush, he also has an incredible understanding of animals which he shares, in his gentle manner, with everyone who connects with him during their stay.

Charles Hudson, shares a poignant and perfect description of him in this character tribute:

“Nostalgia is a funny thing. It evokes a strong attachment to a memory, however distant, of a place, person or experience that touched us and remains embedded in our minds.  Often, we reminisce about these encounters and it is almost as though we can see the person or place conjured to life before our very eyes. They, or it, become lasting apparitions of those things which left a beautiful impression. We think, we smile, we remember. 

During the dappled light of midday, when there is a peaceful lull in activity at Simbavati Camp George and the cicadas hum their November hum, you may see such a person sitting quietly in the shade of a sausage tree, the swing bench rocking slowly and forth as if in tune to the calmness of the person gazing out over the bushveld.  

Affectionately referred to as “ Umfundisi “ by the rest of the Camp George family, Innocent is the very embodiment of the quiet and confident professionalism that guests have come to savour here. He is the soul of the Simbavati Camp George bar and his humble grin has touched all those who have been fortunate enough to have him remember – down to the last ice cube – what you had to drink when you were here last. A week, a month, a year. He remembers. Painstaking and immaculate in both approach and execution, there is pride in every sweeping movement of the cloth across the silvery sheen of the espresso machine and he is a master mixologist. 

His talents do not only extend to the bar, however. Being a longstanding resident of the surrounding area and having spent a lifetime in the bush, he has an understanding of animals that comes only with countless hours of quiet observation. Should you be lucky enough to see Umfundisi sitting in his swing chair, you may well walk up to him and ask him what he is thinking about. He probably won’t make eye contact or respond immediately, but he will eventually tell you that he has been pondering the movement of a bull elephant that is on its way to the waterhole. You look at the surrounding landscape, your eyes straining to see the animal. There is no elephant in sight. You ask Umfundisi “ what elephant, Innocent ? "And when you lift your gaze, there, as if it had appeared out of nowhere, stands a bull elephant on the bank of the river. The animal sees you, and Innocent, still not making eye contact, nods and softly murmurs “that elephant“. "

Discover more about Simbavati Camp George:

https://www.simbavati.com/lodges/camp-george/

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Camp George

Kruger Klaserie

Meet Innocent, the Soul of the Bar at Simbavati Camp George

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When it comes to experiencing the untamed beauty of Africa’s wilderness, the Klaserie Private Nature Reserve stands out as an incredible safari destination. Nestled in the heart of South Africa's Limpopo Province, this pristine wilderness offers an unparalleled safari experience that embodies the essence of adventure, luxury, and wildlife conservation.

Abundant Wildlife Encounters

One of the primary reasons why the Klaserie Private Nature Reserve is the ultimate safari destination is its abundant wildlife. The reserve shares unfenced borders with the renowned Kruger National Park, allowing animals to roam freely across vast expanses of wilderness. As a result, visitors can expect to encounter the Big Five (lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo, and rhinoceros) in their natural habitat, as well as a plethora of other fascinating species, from cheetahs and hippos to crocodiles and diverse birdlife.

Exclusive Safari Experiences

Unlike crowded national parks, the Klaserie offers a more exclusive and intimate safari experience. The reserve limits the number of visitors, ensuring that you can enjoy safari drives in relative seclusion. This intimacy allows for personalised and authentic encounters with the wildlife and the environment, making your safari a unique and unforgettable journey.

Diverse Ecosystems and Landscapes

The Klaserie boasts a diverse range of ecosystems and landscapes, from open savannahs and dense woodlands to meandering rivers and rocky outcrops. This diversity not only provides breathtaking scenery but also supports a rich variety of wildlife. Whether you're gazing across a sweeping grassland or navigating the winding riverbeds, every moment promises a new and exciting discovery.

Conservation Commitment

The Klaserie Private Nature Reserve is more than just a tourist destination; it's a dedicated conservation area. The reserve works tirelessly to protect its wildlife and natural habitats, ensuring their preservation for generations to come. By choosing Klaserie for your safari adventure, you're contributing to the ongoing conservation efforts and helping secure the future of African wildlife.

Luxury Accommodation with Simbavati Lodge Collection

After a day of thrilling wildlife encounters, you can relax and unwind in style at one of our luxurious lodges and villas. These accommodations offer elegant amenities, gourmet dining, and stunning settings inside the reseve, providing the perfect blend of comfort and adventure for every type of guest.

Camp George - suite deck

Simbavati’s  Klaserie Lodges:

Simbavati Camp George offers an elegant safari escape in eight suites and boasting tranquil gardens.

Simbavati Amani is a charming, intimate safari lodge with four luxurious suites, which can be booked as exclusive use or per suite.

Simbavati Homestead is an exclusive, self-catering safari home with five en suite bedrooms sleeping ten guests.

Simbavati Waterside is a beautiful safari lodge set on an active waterhole, with eight gorgeous suites. 

Simbavati Amani - deck
Simbavati Homestead - Hyena seen from the deck

Discover more about the Klaserie and our lodges within it.

https://www.simbavati.com/region/kruger-klaserie
[post_title] => Discover Why the Klaserie Private Nature Reserve is the Ultimate Safari Destination  [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => why-the-klaserie-private-nature-reserve-is-the-ultimate-safari-destination [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2024-04-26 10:23:59 [post_modified_gmt] => 2024-04-26 08:23:59 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.simbavati.com/copy-a-safari-for-every-taste-in-the-timbavati/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )

Kruger Klaserie

Discover Why the Klaserie Private Nature Reserve is the Ultimate Safari Destination 

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 The Timbavati Private Nature Reserve and its  alluring wilderness calls to wildlife enthusiasts, nature lovers and visitors from all over the world seeking out the perfect safari. Within this private reserve, Simbavati Lodge Collection offers a variety of luxurious lodges, villas, cottages and camps, each appealing to different tastes and preferences. 

Simbavati River Lodge: Where Luxury Meets Wilderness

Simbavati River Lodge is a welcoming luxury safari lodge, nestled in the heart of Timbavati. Here, you'll find spacious suites with private decks overlooking the Nhlaralumi River, ensuring that you are always close to the wildlife and wonders of the African bush. The lodge offers a blend of modern comfort and traditional safari charm, making it ideal for families, couples and friends seeking a memorable safari escape

Simbavati River Sands: An Exclusive and Oppulent Safari

Ideal for two couples travelling together or a family of four seeking a private safari experience, Simbavati River Sands is an intimate choice. This luxurious safari villa boasts just four suites, providing an exclusive and private atmosphere. The setting offering breathtaking views of the surrounding wilderness and meals are privately catered at the lodge. Exclusive safari drives and a tranquil ambience make for a wonderful and personal experience. 

Simbavati Hilltop Lodge: Panoramic Views in the Heart of Nature

A romance-inspired lodge, Simbavati Hilltop Lodge offers a unique vantage point from which to appreciate the Timbavati's beauty. Perched up high, it provides panoramic views of the reserve's sprawling landscape and wildlife below. Romance and exclusivity is at the foundation of the experience and it is an idyllic lodge for couples, honeymooners and those seeking a sophisticated, tranquil safari. Recently softly refurbished, the suites are elegantly designed, with private decks featuring a daybed for true relaxation. Hilltop is a fantastic choice for those who wish to immerse themselves in the serenity of the Greater Kruger.

Simbavati Mvubu Cottage: The Epitome of Privacy and Comfort 

Families or couples travelling together can find their perfect safari getaway at Simbavati Mvubu Cottage. This quaint and charismatic safari cottage offers an exclusive-use experience with a comfortable living area, impressive deck and private  pool. The daybed on the upper level is so inviting and the perfect spot to game view or star gaze from.  The name "Mvubu" means "hippo" in Zulu, hinting at the potential wildlife encounters right outside your doorstep. 

Simbavati Trails Camp: An Immersive Wilderness Experience

For the adventurous souls, Simbavati Trails Camp promises an authentic, immersive wilderness experience. Here, you'll embark on guided walking safaris, getting up close and personal with the flora and fauna of Timbavati. This luxury-yet-back-to-basics camp provides a unique opportunity to connect with nature and each other while enjoying wonderful fire-to-plate style food and in-camp relaxation too. 

The Timbavati Private Nature Reserve and Simbavati's diverse lodges offer something for everyone. Whether you're seeking luxury, romance, family-friendly accommodation, or an adventurous experience, you'll find it here. Each lodge provides exceptional service, guided safaris, and a chance to witness Africa's magnificent wildlife in their natural habitat.

Discover more about the Timbavati and our lodges within it.

https://www.simbavati.com/region/kruger-timbavati/

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Kruger Timbavati

A Safari for Every Taste in the Timbavati

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At Simbavati Fynbos on Sea, our dedicated guide portrays passion and personalised professionalism which transforms each guest's experience into an extraordinary journey. Meet Keith, a  true maestro of his craft, with a knack to intertwine knowledge with exploration in nature to create a memorable adventure.

Radiating a genuine enthusiasm for showcasing the wonders of the Garden Route and the setting at Simbavati Fynbos on Sea, Keith ensures that every guest departs with cherished memories and a profound appreciation for the natural world.

Nature Enthusiast

Beyond his role as a guide, Keith is a nature enthusiast, avid bird watcher, and an expert in plant knowledge. A warm,  open-minded, accepting, and patient individual, Keith is a treasured member for the Simbavati family.

His journey into guiding began with a discovered appreciation for Fynbos, and led to a deeper exploration of nature's wonders. One of Keith's focus areas lies in revealing the healing power of plants. As a guide, he sees this role as an opportunity to help others understand themselves and nature.

Adventures and Activities

Join Keith on an exploration of Simbavati Fynbos on Sea, where his passion and knowledge converge to create an immersive experience. 

Experiences available range from guided nature walks to kayaking, beach explorations, guided mountain biking excursions, 4x4 eco drives and rejuvenating sunset barge cruises. The protea farm tour is also a favourite activity and a must-do during a stay at Simbavati Fynbos on Sea.

Unlock the secrets of Simbavati Fynbos on Sea’s enchanting environment, with Keith as your guide.

Discover more about Simbavati Fynbos on Sea:

https://www.simbavati.com/lodges/fynbos-on-sea/

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Fynbos on Sea

Meet Keith: Guide at Simbavati Fynbos on Sea

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Simbavati Waterside is a quintessential, beautiful and enticing safari lodge set in the Klaserie Private Nature Reserve. Those in search of romance will enjoy the lodge’s many intimate spaces, imaginative private dining settings and the joy in knowing that no two meals are ever quite the same. Surprise special touches are added to the experience for those celebrating honeymoons and anniversaries too or for those simply enjoying the disconnection from a busy life to reconnect with each other on safari. 

Dining Variety and Flair

At Simbavati Waterside, we believe that an extraordinary safari experience extends far beyond thrilling game drives and breathtaking wildlife encounters. A vital aspect of this experience is the opportunity to indulge your palate in a remarkable setting, surrounded by the untamed beauty of the African wilderness. Our dining settings and options are designed to enhance your safari adventure and create unforgettable memories. 

Bush Boma: An Authentic Safari Feast

During a safari stay at Waterside, one of your evenings will involve dining under a star-studded African sky in our Bush Boma, with the sounds of the wilderness as your soundtrack. The traditional boma experience offers you an authentic safari feast like no other. Gather around the crackling fire as you savour a delectable blend of traditional and contemporary African cuisine. The atmosphere is both enchanting and communal, as you share stories of the day's adventures with fellow travelers and the Waterside team, creating lasting connections and enjoying some traditional African song and dance too.

Beach Boma with a Wood-Fired Pizza Oven

Simbavati Waterside's beach boma is a unique gem, where you can bask in the serenity of a private beach setting alongside our active waterhole. Beside the tranquil waters of our private dam, delight in our unique wood-fired pizza oven. Sip on your favourite beverage as you dine with a view over the wilderness and a sense of tranquility. An option on the menu may well be one of our signature, freshly baked pizzas with a delightful array of toppings. This unique dining experience offers a perfect combination of relaxation and indulgence on safari. 

Al Fresco Dining Overlooking the Waterhole

The iconic and captivating dining setting at Simbavati Waterside is our al fresco dining deck, overlooking the waterhole. Take a seat on our open-air deck and witness the mesmerising theater of nature unfold before your eyes. While you enjoy gourmet dishes created by our talented chefs, watch as elephants, hippos, and various other wildlife come to quench their thirst at the waterhole. It's a dining experience that allows you to become one with the African wilderness.

Private Dining

For those seeking a more intimate and personalised experience, Simbavati Waterside offers private dining options. Whether it's a romantic dinner for two or a special celebration, we can arrange a private dining experience that suits your preferences. Some secluded locations include dinner in our private wine cellar, on your private deck or tucked away in one of our more secret locations. Under the guidance of our expert culinary team, you'll enjoy a meticulously crafted menu in a secluded location. Private dining at Simbavati Waterside is an exquisite way to celebrate life's special moments or simply relish a quiet evening in the wild.

Simbavati Waterside's unique dining settings and options are an integral part of our safari experience. We believe that indulging in exceptional cuisine amidst the awe-inspiring African wilderness adds an extra layer of enchantment to your adventure. We aim to make your culinary journey at Simbavati Waterside as unforgettable as the safari itself. 

Discover more about Simbavati Waterside:

www.simbavati.com/lodges/waterside/

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Waterside

Unique Safari Dining Experiences at Simbavati Waterside

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The Cederberg, a ruggedly beautiful region of South Africa with a remarkable history, tells a story that traverses through time. It spans from the original inhabitants, the San and Khoikhoi people, to colonial explorers, early settlers, and later conflicts and triumphs.

The Original Inhabitants 

Long before European settlers arrived, the Cederberg was home to the San, or Bushmen people, and the Khoikhoi people. The San were hunter-gatherers who roamed this vast land, leaving their legacy in the form of ancient rock art found in caves and overhangs throughout the region. Some of these rock art depictions date back over 2,000 years and portray herds of eland, elephants, leopards, and more.

Early Explorers

The first European contact with the Cederberg was made by the explorer Bartholomew Dias when he spotted these imposing mountains from the Atlantic Ocean. He named them the "Sierra dos Reis," which translates to the "mountains of the three wise men of the East." These three mighty peaks, including Sneeuberg, Sneeukop, and Tafelberg, are still visible from Cederberg Ridge today.

The name "Cederberg" itself originates from the Clanwilliam Cedar Tree (Widdringtonia cedarbergensis). This rare and endemic tree typically thrives at altitudes above 1,500 meters. It is revered for its fine-grained wood, but the arrival of European settlers nearly led to its complete extinction. The cedar tree was heavily utilized for furniture, housing, and even telegraph poles. Today, these trees are strictly protected, with only isolated, hard-to-reach specimens remaining.

Early Colonization 

Around 1670, one of the earliest colonists to the Cape, Marthinus Oloff Bergh, led an expedition north from Cape Town to explore the Cederberg. The owners of Simbavati Cederberg Ridge are proud 10th generation descendants of this visionary explorer. Bergh's scouting party encountered the river that flows through the valley, observing herds of elephants along its banks, leading to its apt naming as the Oliphants River. Regrettably, these elephants were eventually hunted to extinction in the region by later settlers.

Clanwilliam's Growth

The Cederberg area began to see population growth with the arrival of the 1820 settlers from England and Ireland. Although many of these settlers initially found the area challenging due to its mountainous terrain and Mediterranean climate, Clanwilliam, one of South Africa's oldest towns, steadily expanded. Clanwilliam's establishment as a municipality in 1808 marked an important milestone. In fact, it is the seventh oldest town in South Africa, a testament to its historical significance.

Impact of the Anglo-Boer War 

The Cederberg was the unexpected southernmost battleground of the Anglo-Boer War. Boer commandos traveled southward from their strongholds in northern South Africa, aiming to threaten the English Cape Colony. The town of Clanwilliam, the northernmost English stronghold, was a focal point of this conflict. The Boers sought to garner local support from Dutch-descendant farmers, but their efforts proved futile. These farmers, while harboring no love for English colonial governance, believed that the English would ultimately emerge victorious, and they feared repercussions. As a result, they chose to remain loyal to the English.

The Englishman's Grave 

A poignant episode from this era is that of Lieutenant Clowes, an Englishman leading a patrol from Clanwilliam. His patrol was ambushed by a Boer commando, resulting in his tragic death. He was buried on the spot, and his family later erected a headstone resembling a Celtic cross with the words "brave and true." This location became known as Englishman's Grave, and Lieutenant Clowes' mother made the arduous journey from England to visit her son's grave each year until 1936.

Clanwilliam Dam and Rooibos Tea 

The construction of Bulshoek Dam in 1914 marked an important turning point for the area's fortunes. The much larger Clanwilliam Dam was built in 1935 and later expanded in 1964. These developments allowed neighboring farms access to the vital resource of irrigation water. Today, the region's primary agricultural products are wine, table grapes, citrus, and renowned rooibos tea. Plans for further dam enlargement are in the works, offering potential for continued growth.

Cederberg Wilderness Reserve

The Cederberg Wilderness Reserve was officially established in 1973, serving as a protected area that now spans about 5,250 hectares. In 1987, an additional reserve was established with the primary goal of preventing the Clanwilliam cedar tree's extinction. These trees, remnants of a colder era, are now found on cooler mountain slopes in remote, inaccessible areas. All farming livestock was removed from the Cederberg Wilderness Reserve, and small quantities of indigenous fauna were reintroduced, allowing the mountain fynbos to recover. The reserve has become a cherished wilderness destination, providing solace for those seeking refuge from the demands of modern life.

Simbavati Cederberg Ridge - setting

Cederberg or Cedarberg? 

A curious historical note is that the English name for the region was initially the Cedarberg, while the Afrikaans name was Sederberg. About 15-20 years ago, it was decided to merge the two names into the new name, Cederberg. As a result, you may encounter both spellings: Cedarberg and Cederberg.

The Cederberg, with its rich tapestry of history and natural beauty, continues to enchant visitors, offering a captivating glimpse into the past while embracing the present.

Discover more about Simbavati Cederberg Ridge:

https://www.simbavati.com/lodges/cederberg-ridge/

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Cederberg

Cederberg Ridge

The History of the Cederberg

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The story of Kleinvlei Farm is a captivating journey through time, deeply intertwined with the region's history and Simbavati Cederberg Ridge’s owning family's heritage. 

A Legacy Born in 1807 

Kleinvlei Farm, nestled within the picturesque Cederberg Mountains, has a history dating back to the arrival of Irish settlers in Clanwilliam in 1807. Clanwilliam itself stands as the 7th oldest town in South Africa. One of our owner’s, Anton's ancestors, particularly Oloff Martinus Bergh, had explored this land in the late 17th century, marking the Bergh family's connection to the Cederberg.

Among these settlers was William Parker, the leader of the Irish Settlers. He was granted a portion of land to farm, known as Kleine Valley, which is today's Kleinvlei Farm. However, William Parker's longing for the lush, rainy landscapes of his Irish homeland prompted his return, leaving behind a unique Mediterranean climate that the Cederberg is known for today. The Shaw family, among the settlers, chose to make Kleine Valley their home instead.

One of our scenic farm walks offered at Simbavati Cederberg Ridge takes you through Shaw's Kloof, where the remains of their modest cottages can still be found. The settlers later relocated further down the valley, constructing a long, white-washed thatched house. It was in the 1840s that the Bergh descendants of Oloff Bergh returned to the area. They initially purchased a farm in the "Agter Pakhuis" area, on the other side of the Cederberg Mountains. Later, they moved to a farm atop Pakhuis Pass, where Cape Nature's headquarters now stand. In 1907, the Bergh Family acquired Kleinvlei Farm, which remains in the family to this day. Over time, the original 1820s house was extended to become a spacious four-bedroom home.

Water, the Lifeblood of Farming 

The success of Kleinvlei Farm, like many in the Cederberg, depends on its water supply rather than the size of the land. Our region receives less than 200mm of rain annually, classifying it as semi-arid. However, a river flows through Kleinvlei, making farming viable. Generations of Berghs have played a role in shaping the farm's irrigation channels, which diverted the river to sustain our fruit orchards. Anton's father, Dennis, built a substantial farm dam, enabling Dennis and Anton to expand the farm's operations.

Tragedy struck in 2013 when the original 1820s thatched Cape Dutch homestead, where Anton's widowed mother lived, was lost to a devastating fire. The thatched roof made the fire consume the house in just half an hour. While it was a heart-wrenching loss, we are thankful that no one was hurt in the fire. Anton's mother chose to move into a smaller home, and we made the decision to build Simbavati Cederberg Ridge in place of the old farmhouse. It had long been our dream to showcase this little-known region through a lodge.

Farming on Kleinvlei Today 

Our farm spans 3,000 hectares in the Cederberg area, and we primarily cultivate table grapes and citrus.

Table Grapes:

The harvest season runs from mid-December to the end of February. Speed is of the essence to pick, pack, and store the grapes once they ripen. Our grapes are exported to the northern hemisphere during their winter season when local production is limited. Producing high-quality table grapes involves meticulous care, including pruning the vines and shaping the bunches for a classic appearance. In peak season, we employ approximately 100 people to pick and pack the grapes.

Citrus:

The citrus harvest begins in April and continues through September. Our farm yields several types of oranges, each serving a distinct purpose, whether for consumption, juicing, or jam-making. The freshly squeezed orange juice at breakfast is sourced right from our farm.

A Modern Approach to Farming 

Today, farming is an industrial process, with cold stores and packing sheds taking the place of picturesque outbuildings. The original farmstead was not rebuilt in its initial location for this reason. Kleinvlei boasts four large cold stores, two packing sheds (one for citrus and one for grapes), and a makeshift air cooling system due to the sweltering heat. We also collaborate with overseas supermarkets, packing produce with their labels, or offer our own brand when dealing with wholesalers. Farm tours are a part of our offerings, and we extend support to Lemoenland pre-school, an infant school we established for the children of our farmworkers and neighboring farms. It is an ongoing testament to the sense of community and history that Kleinvlei Farm represents.

Discover more about Simbavati Cederberg Ridge: https://www.simbavati.com/lodges/cederberg-ridge/ 

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Cederberg mountains

Cederberg

Cederberg Ridge

Unearthing the Rich History of Kleinvlei Farm in the Cederberg

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In the heart of the Klaserie Private Nature Reserve, Simbavati Waterside is nestled within the tranquil wilderness. There you'll find a gem that radiates warmth and healing. Molly, one of our beloved spa therapists, is a beacon of positivity and genuine care. With the biggest smile and a heartwarming character, she touches the lives of every guest she meets.

Molly has been a cherished member of our lodge family since 2020, and she quickly became a favourite amongst our guests. Her healing hands work wonders during therapies and treatments, and her welcoming personality creates an atmosphere of comfort and serenity at our superb spa.

A Passion for Revitalisation

One of the things that sets Molly apart is her admiration for the Healing Earth products used at the spa. These eco-friendly, all-natural products align perfectly with Simbavati Waterside's commitment to nature and well-being. Molly's passion for these products shines through in the care and attention she brings to every spa experience.

Molly's journey as a spa therapist is fueled by her deep desire to make people feel good about their bodies and, equally important, to feel good in their bodies. Through her skillful massages and a range of other spa treatments, her mission is to soothe and rejuvenate the body, mind, and spirit.

She thrives on providing healing, relaxation, and comfort to our guests. It's a source of immense pride for Molly when she knows that a guest arrived at the spa feeling stressed, tense, or in discomfort, but after her treatment, they leave feeling light, refreshed, and completely soothed.

Molly's words are testament to her commitment: "Sometimes guests arrive at the spa with sad faces and leave with happy faces, all because of Molly."

A Bundle of Sunshine and Smiles

One guest's feedback perfectly encapsulates Molly's magic. They shared that from the moment Molly introduced herself until the moment they left Simbavati Waterside, Molly was a bundle of sunshine, always adorned with her infectious smile. Her unwavering positivity left an indelible impression on the guest, ensuring they felt a deep sense of warmth and calm throughout their stay.

Molly, with her healing touch and radiant personality, epitomises the spirit of Simbavati Waterside—a place where nature's beauty and incredible hospitality come together to create a memorable safari.

Discover more at www.simbavati.com/lodges/waterside/

https://www.simbavati.com/lodges/waterside/
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People

Waterside

Meet Molly: A Spa Therapist Who adds to the Tranquility at Simbavati Waterside

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When considering a journey into the untamed beauty of Simbavati Trails Camp, it's essential to be prepared. Here's a guide to the "need to know's" that will ensure your walking safari adventure at this immersive and unique safari camp is perfect and memorable.

1. The Length of a Walk

Guests are led by an experienced trails guide on twice daily safari walks through the alluring Big 5 wilderness of the Timbavati. On average, a walk spans between 5 to 10 kilometer, however, the pace is deliberately slow, with numerous stops to examine animal spores, delve into the world of flora and fauna, and for water breaks in the most wonderous of settings.

2. Fitness Level Required

You don't need to be an athlete to enjoy Simbavati Trails Camp, but a moderate level of fitness is beneficial. The terrain can be challenging, and walks can extend up to 10 kilometers. Remember, it's not a race; it's an opportunity to immerse yourself in the wilderness and take inn all the details.

3. Footwear Essentials

When it comes to footwear, comfort is key. Trails are not predefined, so expect to navigate through muddy patches and shallow riverbeds. Your shoes will get wet and dirty, so ankle-covering boots or gaiters are ideal. The long grass and dense bush are teeming with sticky seeds, broken branches, and sharp thorns to so make sure your shoes are tough enough.

4. Power Supply

Simbavati Trails Camp is powered by solar energy, ensuring that you can enjoy a comfortable stay in harmony with nature. Solar lights set the ambient scene in the evenings, food is prepared (mostly) on the open flame and outdoor showers are prepared for guests by filling the bucket-style showers with warm water before each use.

A backup generator is available when needed.

5. Connectivity (or Lack Thereof)

Prepare to bid farewell to Wi-Fi and phone signal during your stay. Simbavati Trails Camp is intentionally off the grid, offering a genuine digital detox experience. Should an emergency arise, rest assured that the staff can communicate with the outside world effectively.

6. Seasonal Operation

Simbavati Trails Camp follows a seasonal schedule, open from March to November. The camp closes during the hot and rainy summer months, ensuring the best possible experience for guests.

7. An unfenced Camp

Simbavati Trails Camp is unfenced, allowing wildlife, to roam freely. This creates an authentic and immersive safari experience.

8. Age Restriction

Keep in mind that Simbavati Trails Camp is an experience for adults and older teens. Only children aged 16 and above are permitted.

9. Ideal Length of Stay

While there's a minimum two-night stay requirement, we highly recommend extending your visit to at least three nights. It allows you to fully absorb the magic of the wilderness.

Top Tips for your Walking Safari

  • Keep your tent side flaps open. The netted canvas walls offer protection while letting you enjoy the breeze, views of the outside wilderness and moonlit bush at night.
  • Keep listening. Honey badgers and hyenas do visit the camp from time to time, during the night. You may hear them as well as other nocturnal creatures from the comfort of your bed.
  • Bring along a small backpack for your convenience on the walking safaris, especially for holding your water bottle.
  • Don't forget sunscreen to protect yourself from the African sun.

With this information in mind, prepare to embrace the wild, succumb to tranquility and create memories that will last a lifetime at Simbavati Trails Camp.

Discover more at www.simbavati.com/lodges/trails-camp/

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Trails Camp

What You Need to Know About Simbavati Trails Camp