Cederberg at its best

GeelKameel's picture

Points: 12


Recently I had an unexpected call from a friend.

He and a friend of his wanted to ride through the Cederberg to Wupperthal and Clanwilliam. They are riding, am I going with?.

Initially I was a bit reluctant to join him because 
a) there are many patches of sand on the Jeep Track
  b) I do not like sand 
    c) I suffered a broken ankle in a patch of sand there two years ago
      d) since then I had two minor (yet unpleasant) incidents in sand
So, I had good reason to be reluctant because my confidence for riding in sand was very low.
After a day or two pondering the issue, I decided I should go do the ride to prove to myself that sand shall not be my master. Besides, each visit to the Cederberg and the Jeeptrack to Wupperthal is special, no matter how many times you have ridden it.

We met in Wellington, intending to ride through Bainskloof and refuel bike and tummy at Ceres.
Unfortunately, the Bainskloof road was closed due to a serious wash-away at a bridge along the pass. We had to take the long way round past Gouda through Nuwekloof pass to Ceres.


In Ceres we refueled at the first garage and had some coffee and a late breakfast at the Kole-en-Deeg Tremor Coffee bar opposite the road. Long name? Yes, I joined two names. It is a day-restaurant (Kole en Deeg) operating together with a coffee bar (Timor Bar) next door. By the way, this venue is worth a visit, rather than those deeper into town. The atmosphere is relaxed and pleasant, not crowded and the food and coffee is first class.

On the road again, we traveled straight to the Swaarmoed, hoping to see some snow. All along the way the white capped Matroosberg was inviting us closer and closer.

I stopped for a photo and fell behind to my friends. I had to take the tarred Swaarmoed pass at a very good speed to catch up to them angel.  

Near the well-known Klondyke cherry farm we came across beautiful snow.

Cherrie trees standing in the snow. 

And we gave our bikes a close-up taste of snow.

From the frosty snow we went down the Bo-Swaarmoed pass (gravel), still with snow everywhere.

At the end of the tar on the R355 we deflated tyres.

Soon after we took to the long and quite featureless R355 towards Tankwa Padstal

We reached the Tankwa Padstal just after noon and found it quite busy. 

While sitting around, I noticed this strange skeleton nailed to the pergola.

To me it looked quite pre-historic. Maybe a crocodile or lizard. My friends told me to ask Deon (the owner) about the skeleton because there actually is a story about it.
Deon told me the story.

One day they found a large circular object in the veld some distance from the present buildings. The shape was not natural so they assumed it was made with some intelligence and purpose. It was very hard and they could not penetrate it with any tools at hand. Eventually they managed to lift/move the object by using a tractor. Underneath they discovered three similar strange looking skeletons. They could not identify what creature the skeletons belonged to. One of the largest single pieces was nailed to the post that we were looking at.
One fine day, he explained, a lady visitor with some apparant knowledge of archeology and/or anthropology pointed to the skeleton and said it probably was an Annunaki. Since then it was referred to as the skeleton of an Annunaki.
I was quite happy with Deon’s explanation but was inquisitive to find out more about the Annunaki. Back home I did a search and was very surprised with what I found. 
Why don’t you search the internet for Annunaki, you will be surprised. And at the same time, search for images of the breast bone of an ostrich. 


From Tankwa Padstal we back-tracked 3km on the R355 and turned west towards Peerboom pass and Katbakkies pass. 

Entering the Peerboom pass.

A view down from the Peerboom pass.

We came across many bikes 

Beautiful rock formations

We found quite a gathering of bikes and vehicles at the Kliphuis.


Friends Nick and Francois inspecting a small patch of snow at the Kliphuis that survived a few days of sunny weather.

Riding over the plateau between Peerboom pass and Katbakkies pass.


Going down Katbakkies, we came across a strip of ice on the road.

A wonderful vista on the way down the Katbakkies pass.

Easy going from Katbakkies to the start of the dirt road into Sederberg

The first of many wonderful rocks and rock formations in the Sederberg valley.

Blou blou berge in die verte...

A view that touches the heart of anyone riding into this valley. It would be interesting to know how many times this view has been photographed.

At the summit of Blinkberg pass

We came across this rider who had a side-stand incident. He was turning around on the inclined road and lost his balance. Having tried on his own a number of times, he was visibly too tired to lift the bike on his own. We quickly helped him back right side up.

Mount Cedar, with the Grootrivier pass far ahead.

Near the summit of the Grootrivier pass is this steep section that becomes very slippery during rain. Today it is perfectly dry.

At the summit of the Grootrivier pass  

Looking back towards Blinkberg pass, from where we came.

Water in the dam at the summit after recent rains.  

From here a short distance to Oasis, our stop for the evening.

Excellent buffet dinner at Oasis.

The night was very cold, but we had a good night’s rest in the covered tents. We did however loose the first few hours of sleep because of a helluva noise from the bar. Fortunately the noise stopped abruptly somewhere close to midnight.

Early morning rise for the ride on the Jeeptrack to Wupperthal.


The road to the left takes you to Kromrivier and the Kromrivier pass - a route very much worth the effort to ride. Beyond the Kromrivier pass it joins the road from Uitkyk pass to Matjiesrivier. There you can turn right and ride 6 km to the entrance to the Jeeptrack at Matjiesrivier. 

The water level at the first low water crossing (concrete) through the Matjies river was low and slow flowing. Just fine for a well mannered warm-up splash.

Some pictures along the first section of the jeeptrack.

Lots of small puddles and trickles of water.

Some places were bit rough, yet easy to ride. No loose rocks or dried vehicle tracks.

Good road surface, mostly dry and virtually no dust. 

Small splashes aplenty. All in sandy areas. No dry sand up to here. laugh


This next splash gave me a bit of a fright! At the other end was an innocent looking patch of water, but it was quite deep. I had a huge dip and bounce going through there. 


Down there is the driffie where I broke my ankle two years ago.

Then it was a patch of deep sand, now a wonderful splash.

GrysKameel standing on the spot where it was lying down two years ago.

All loose sand was nicely compacted and slightly moist. 


More great riding followed...

What a great feeling to ride among such rock formations. Winding track, no deep dry sand, no dust, not very hot, leasurely pace....

We are blessed to have access to such beautiful places, and that we have the means to do it.

Sneeukop daar agter

Some parts of the road had these round pebbles. An otherwise green stretch had some light orange patches. Wake-up riding here!



Beyond Ezelbank we visited the waterfall. Lots of strong flowing water. 


A short distance downstream (along the top of the cliffs) you have amazing views.

Looking upstream, with Sneeukop at the back.


Some more pictures of the road beyond Ezelbank.

Around here you usually find long stretches of loose sand. Today it was all nicely compacted and really easy to ride. ​Sederberg op sy beste!

The sand monster is sleeping peacefully!

And a bit of action...

A short (50m?) and quite steep down-section with lots of loose pebbles ends where a cement surface begins.

I went down (not difficult, yet you need to be slow and careful of slipping).

At the end of the pebbles, as I approached the cement, I started to stop. Back brake was useless, engine idling in first gear. I thought the cement would be enough grip for the front brake --- not to be! In an instant the front slid out sideways on the pebbles that were strewn all over the sloping cement. 

GrysKameel and me came down with a huge thud!

Fortunately no injury or serious damage. The right hand engine cover had some extra scars added. Fortunately it was not cracked by the impact.

A lot of cement has been laid since my last visit. Last time the above section was very very rough with loose rocks and ruts. 

Still on cement, the decent to Wupperthal begins. 


Easy slow riding and a great vista down the valley. I always find this short section very attractive and feel I a sense of achievement because I know the Sederberg track could easily derail a ride. Wupperthal is behind the green hill visible down there. East of the hill is the Tra-tra river.

The final downhill and sharp turn before the road levels out towards Wupperthal. 

The bridge over the Biedouw (?) river.

Taking a rest in Wupperthal. The restaurant was closed. (I can understand that because it was midday on a Sunday. But, is Saturday and Sunday not the time that most visitors pass through here?)

Beautiful flowers in the Koueberg area of the Biedouw valley.

Riding up the Hoek-se-berg



Once back on tar, we stopped at the Travellers Rest restaurant. 

The male finches were frantically advertising their newly built nests to attract a lady finch. 

This guy below only started. Maybe a first-time home owner, or his last home was demolished by an angry lady. Who would know!


Looking back towards Tankwa from somewhere up along the Pakhuis pass.


And a most welcome sight: the Clanwilliam dam overflowing!

From here straight home on tarmac.

What a great trip!

Cederberg at its best - Great friends to ride with, Sand Monster was sleeping, Rock Monsters were tame, Rock Formations as beautiful as ever, Splashes galore, no dust . . . . wat meer kan jy vra! !




Geoff Russell's picture
Joined: 2007/09/25

Lekker......Thanks Danie.

Committee: Ride Captain

David ffoulkes's picture
Joined: 2015/02/19

Baie dankie Danie - n roete wat ek self binnekort gaan doen.

David ffoulkes

Committee: Treasurer / Clubs Africa / Ride Captain

Charles Oertel's picture
Joined: 2007/04/14

Very nice Danie!  Last time I was there we were racing the dark and I was separated from my group.  I ended up dropping Mr.Badger in your ankle-breaking sand, and was unable to pick him up on my own.  Eventually a local came to help me.

I rode the last 10km to Oasis in pitch darkness.  But what an adventure!

Committee: Webmaster / Ride Captain

Joined: 2008/05/13

Thanks for helping my friend.Was waiting for him at Mount Cedar.yes


Matewis's picture
Joined: 2013/08/03

Lekker!!! See a lot of 1150's! Busy planning the 1150 National Bash, This year in the Western Cape. Send me a PM if you are keen to join.

“Don’t go where the path my lead… Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail…” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson https://kettingsaag.wordpress.com/ https://witvosblog.wordpress.com/

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