Cederberg Mountains: Oldies seek advice

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Jan 6th, 2016, 11:06 AM
  #1
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Cederberg Mountains: Oldies seek advice

I'm wondering whether to include the Cederberg region in our 19-night (March 23- April 11) South Africa itinerary. It's my first SA visit.

Some background:

We are old (71, 63).

I'm extremely fit and energetic and enjoy the outdoors. My spouse, though perfectly mobile and motivated, has a heart condition, so strenuous activity is ruled out.

We both love cities ,dramatic scenery, history and good food. We have minimal interest in seeing big game but we do enjoy Nature. We avoid crowds, unless there's a good reason for putting up with them.

We have always traveled very, very comfortably but somewhat economically. (Another reason why we're not planning to visit any luxury game reserves.)

Driving has no terrors for us - in fact we quite enjoy it. We plan to rent a car for most of the holiday.

We fly into and out of Cape Town. I have budgeted 4 or 5 nights in CT and 2 nights in the Winelands,

With some of the remaining 12 nights, I would like to do a circuit that includes the Garden Route and vicinity. (My idea of a perfect day would be to crawl through the Swartberg Pass and/or visit the Cango caves -- the more demanding 1.5 hour tour for me, the 1 hour tour for my spouse).

I'm also drawn to the dramatic wilderness of the Cederberg Mountains. There's nice accommodation nearby for a couple of nights. It appears to be a place you can enjoy without excessive physical exertion -- eg driving the Pakhuis pass; visiting the Sevilla rock art site.

1. Does anyone here have a view on the overall desirability of visiting this region? Is there enough to engage a person with some physical limitations?

As I've indicated, we plan to visit parts of the Garden Route and the Klein Karoo. Is this sufficiently different and sufficiently inspiring to merit the allocation of a couple of days, plus travel time?

2. Can you recommend specific destinations or activities? I've read about the donkey tours to a Moravian settlement but I'm uncertain whether that would be the best use of our time.

3. Should we plan to travel along the coast as well eg to Paternoster? Or will we get our fill of marine landscape on the coastal portions of the Garden Route?

Thanks for any insights you can give me on this area.
tedgale is offline  
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Jan 7th, 2016, 04:44 AM
  #2
 
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Hi,

Your trip sounds great! The places that you mention are all really beautiful and I'm sure they won't disappoint.

I think that the regions you plan to visit are really different from each other. If you want to see even more varied landscapes you could consider visiting the Knysna forest as well (it's one of my favourite places in South Africa). There are easy hiking trails through the forest and the town itself is a nice place to visit. You could also consider a boat tour on the lagoon, a visit to Monkeyland and an oyster tour.

The West Coast of South Africa is a really beautiful region which is maybe not as well-known as the Garden Route, but definitely worth a visit. If you do decide to include the Cedarberg Mountains I would definitely recommend stopping or staying in some of these towns on the way. Places like Paternoster, Langebaan (and the West Coast National Park) or Yzerfontein next to the coast are laid-back towns with beautiful beaches. Here you can do bird-watching, sailing and hiking. These towns are mostly less crowded than the beach towns along the Garden Route and they have a different atmosphere. You can go to the Gaaitjie restaurant in Paternoster for great food right on the beach.

In the Karoo, you could drive through Meiringspoort, stop in Klaarstroom and visit Swellendam and Matjiesfontein - there are quite a few things to do here that you might enjoy, especially if you like history. You can also visit an ostrich farm near Oudtshoorn.

I hope this helps and enjoy your trip!
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Jan 7th, 2016, 05:24 AM
  #3
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Thanks very much. I'm glad to have Cederberg confirmed as a worthwhile destination for those who don't clamber or perform feats of parkour.

Definitely planning to do the circle route Oudtshoorn - Swartberg - Prince Albert - Meiringspoort - Oudtshoorn (or the reverse circuit) for the scenery. I'll check out the other towns you mention.
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Jan 7th, 2016, 07:28 PM
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Join Date: May 2005
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See if these are of any interest..I've not been there but have a longing to go someday..

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/30/tr...cing.html?_r=0

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/27/tr...th-africa.html

Best regards, ek
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Jan 7th, 2016, 07:56 PM
  #5
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Thanks ek. Good sense of place in both articles. I so regret missing the Namaqualand seasonal colours - photos I've seen are astonishing.
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Jan 10th, 2016, 02:45 AM
  #6
 
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When you are in Cape Town, do consider the +- 90 minute drive to Hermanus - to me it is one of the most beautiful places in the world! You will miss the whale season, which may be good ... you will also miss the 1000s of whale watchers!
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Jan 10th, 2016, 06:05 PM
  #7
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Thanks, kovsie. Hermanus is certainly on my radar screen.
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