Reasons to visit Clanwilliam this year (and the next)

No one really needs a reason to visit the Cederberg town of Clanwilliam. Mountains, rivers, flowers and rooibos make up this little town. 15.27km² of beautiful scenery and just over a two-hour drive from the Mother City. It may be little, but it definitely isn’t short on things to do and experience.

For the drinks

Calling all beer, wine and tea drinkers.

Cederberg Brewery and Cederberg Wine Cellars can be found at the Cederberg Private Cellar and the farm falls within the Cederberg Wilderness Area. There is also the 1886, Sandveld-style farm, Tierhoek Wines in Piekernierkloof Mountain.

Now, when in the rooibos capital, be sure to experience the Rooibos Route. Learn about and experience the cultivation and history of Clanwilliam’s rooibos story and take part in activities, visit the restaurant for pairings of rooibos-based recipes. There is also the tea house where you can buy and taste more than 100 rooibos blends. You won’t find a rooibos experience like this anywhere else and as South Africans, we need to support the products that are unique to our beautiful country.

For the nature

Clanwilliam is surrounded by mountain, so it comes as no surprise that there are a series of hiking trails, nature walks and caves to be explored and enjoyed.

Set aside a few hours and go on a scenic nature walk that is perfect for the entire family. There is the Middelberg Waterfall Walk, Maltese Cross Walk and Maalgat Walk trails that each offer a different nature-filled experience. For the advanced, you can choose from the Pakhuis Trail, Klein Krakadouw Trail, Groot Krakadouw Trail, Wolfberg Arch Trail and the Cederberg Wilderness Trail for a few days of overnight hiking. It’s safe to say that you’ll need to bring your hiking shoes!

The Cederberg is also home to caves and rock art. The Sevilla Rock Art Trail offers nine different sites and stretches across 4km of the West Coast Rock Art Route. To experience open caves and the interesting Truitjieskraal rock formations, find the Stadsaal Caves. You will find rock art paintings here as well. If you want to see over 2 500 rock paintings, set aside a morning for Truitjieskraal Interpretive Trail in the Matjiesrivier Nature Reserve and it will take you on the routes of the original hunter-gatherer inhabitants.

If you prefer water to the land, try white-water rafting on the Doring River or freshwater fishing in the Clanwilliam Dam and along the 285km long Olifants River. There’s a type of nature for everyone in this little town.

Here, you are in the Cederberg Wilderness Area which is part of the World Heritage Site, Cape Floral Kingdom. If you visit Clanwilliam between the middle of August and mid-September, be sure to go to Ramskop Nature Garden and experience Spring as it should be experienced – among the flowers. Can’t make it this year? Well, then, it’s a good thing Clanwilliam isn’t going anywhere so that you can come back next year.

For the events

Clanwilliam hosts various annual events that you really don’t want to miss out on.

Cederberg Arts Festival or Leipoldt Festival is hosted in Clanwilliam and brings with it live music, local arts and cultural products, performing arts theatre and food (because no festival is complete without some local food). This three-day festival generally takes place in the month of April when the days average at a beautiful 26? and evenings cool to 14?, making it perfect festival weather.

There is also the annual Clanwilliam Wildflower Festival that happens during springtime and happens over a period of one week. This show has been running since 1972 and the flowers are accompanied by music, competitions for the kids and hiking activities through the Ramskop Garden.

Then, there is the Freshpak Fitness Festival for sports fanatics, professional and amateurs alike. The entire family can take part in any of the seven different sporting events, depending on their fitness level. This year sees the 31st Fitness Festival and takes place at the end of this month of September.

For the town

Book yourself a room at Country Hotels’ Clanwilliam Hotel and make the most of your stay. If you’ve had your fill of rooibos tea, hiking trails and festival fun, walk through the town and stop and recharge at the Velskoendraai Farmer’s Market & Restaurant for a taste of everything local and delicious.

And if you’re a history major and want to know more about the 7th oldest town in South Africa, visit the Ou Tronk Museum.

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