Our drive was via the Cedarberg Mountains.
We crossed Bain’s Kloof Pass and as we were heading down, a large group of girls were grinding up, all on high-end mountain bikes including a carbon Titus (Frankie spots these things). We did not crack the code, but they were all wearing long purple sox (dress code the day before around Table Mtn was long red sox). We thought the colour indicates the SPF of the sox – Snake Protection Factor, SA has lots of scary snakes.
The drive thru the Cedarberg mountains has many spectacular rocky formations. But where are the Cedars trees? Where are any trees?
The area looks ideal for camping in warmer weather (although it also looks snakey), with many walking, mtn bike tracks and creeks, however the many camping facilities made it look like it is very popular (= busy).
We nearly got trapped in the Cedarbergs during our 2nd night. At 3am it started to rain, and did not stop. Mountain runoff further upstream funnels into the river that cuts Algeria campground in half. By the morning, the river was roaring and raging. Still rising, it had cut us off from the track out of the campground.
We estimated we could be stuck for 5 days or more, that’s no problem except it was miserably cold. We were getting prepared to sit it out when a ranger appeared in the rain (over the high footbridge) and said he would open the back track gate to release us, and our co-trapped neighbours, Robbie and Nora.
Robbie is a retired military arms engineer working on and selling military helicopters in interesting countries. With cold wet weather now set in, we all decided to head to the Hot Spring Baths of Citrusdale.
Some roads were also closed by swollen rivers, so we had to go all the way to the highway and take a long route to Citrusdale. We passed the dam and one of the overflow gates was open, when we passed again a few days later, 3 gates were open releasing water with impressive power.
All the indoor spas of Citrusdale Baths were far too hot and unbearable for me, however I was in heaven soaking in their outdoor hot rock pools in the freezing cold rain.
2 days later, it was still chucking it down, but it was time to leave the baths and keep moving north.
The world’s supply of Rooibos comes from this area of South Africa and there is a Rooibos factory in Clanwilliam. The factory looks impressive from the outside, and the air around the factory smells nice, but it is not open to the public. The shop has an informative video of the process.
Next door we walked around the floor of a shoe factory and watched shoes and boots being made by hand, an amazing number of bits and pieces, being cut and glued and sewn and pressed together.
Still cold and raining, we left Clanwilliam.
More pictures in the Photos section of the site.