Cederberg, Cederberg Wilderness Area, Algeria campsite, explore, adventure, West Coast, South Africa, travel, gypsified, road tripping, south african road trip, backroad adventures in south africa

Winter wandering along the West Coast: Cederberg Wilderness Area

The final leg of our West Coast trip was spent at CapeNature’s Algeria rest camp in the Cederberg Wilderness Area.

After stocking up on a few groceries, visiting Strassbergers leather shoe shop and popping in at the Rooibos Tea Factory in Clanwilliam, we headed on into the mountains.

Even though it was a couple of degrees colder here, the skies above were clear. So, we agreed to do the camping thing once again.

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Lamberts Bay, sunset, yo yos, camping, explore, adventure, West Coast, South Africa, travel, gypsified, road tripping, south african road trip, backroad adventures in south africa

Winter wandering along the West Coast: Lamberts Bay camping

On the short (and possibly illegal) drive from Elands to Lamberts Bay, we encountered several cars heavy-laden with surfboards and saw a few stoked-looking bodyboarders changing into and out of wetsuits at Doringbaai.

This spelled only good things for Lamberts, which made Guillaume step a little more firmly on the accelerator.

True as bob, popular surf spot Yo Yos was pumping: 3 – 4ft lines marched into the bay, with a stiff, yet gentle offshore wind combing the perfect a-frame peaks. Surfers whooped as they carved up the playful walls, the sun slowly setting behind them, leaving streaks of incandescent pink, orange, purple and blue in its wake. (This beautiful description courtesy of Guillaume).

We witnessed all of this from the neighbouring municipal camspite, where we were pitching our tent for the next two or three (we hadn’t quite decided yet) nights. Guillaume had gallantly sacrificed his surf to help set up the camp in the last bit of light.

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Grootvadersbosch camping

I’ve always been of the opinion that Easter weekend is the perfect time to go camping. Falling on the cusp of either summer and autumn, or autumn and winter, one would think that weather-wise this long weekend would be like the little bear’s bowl of porridge was to Goldilocks – neither too hot, nor too cold, just perfect.

However, after two consecutive years of braving the elements – huddling in the large stoep area of my parents’ tents as torrential drops and gale force winds play a game of tag outside, my family and I have realised that perhaps it may not always be the case.

Despite the terrible weather, and deciding to leave a day early, our Easter camping trip this year was rather magical. We headed to the Grootvadersbosch Nature reserve just outside Heidelberg in the Western Cape and discovered there, hidden amongst the flat farmlands and fynbos, a forest as lush and mysterious as the Tsitsikamma itself.

The reserve comprises 250ha of this Knysna-type forest and is the most noteworthy in the southwestern Cape. Among indigenous trees like red alder, stinkwood, yellow wood and the dominant iron wood, a few exotic species such as camphor, Australian blackwood, eucalyptus, ash, Californian redwood and oak can also be found. They were planted here between 1896 and 1913 to cover the areas denuded by woodcutters. Now, a century later, Cape Nature is working hard to reclaim these areas for indigenous trees.

What we didn’t know beforehand, was the fact that this area lies in the transitional zone between winter and all-year rainfall regions and that Grootvaderbosch has an average annual rainfall of about 1 050 mm. Drier periods are from May to July and December to January. Ooops…

I must say, however, that there’s something strangely charming about camping in the rain. It’s kind of cosy and when it does let up, energy levels seem to rise at an alarming rate, pushing one to explore the area while you can.

And that’s exactly what we did. Here are a few pics.