King of the Kasteel

Riebeek-Kasteel Travel Blog

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Setting off from Clanwilliam, we stopped on the way at Algeria for a quick walk.

That sentence sounds deceptively easy, and anyone familiar with the Cederberg will be rolling around in paroxysms of laughter at the thought.

For a start, "stopping at Algeria" involves getting to Algeria from the N7. Over miles and miles of dusty, hot gravel road which really needs a 4X4, and ideally Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, to traverse. The drive is scenic enough, if you can risk taking your eyes off the potholes and ruts for long enough to take it in. There are places over the Nieuwoudt Pass which are breathtaking in their beauty, but visible only to passengers who don't have to concentrate on their driving - assuming the wind is blowing the right way to dispell the clouds of gravel dust.

Algeria is the start of many of the walks in the Cederberg. The Cederberg itself is a splendid place to spend concerted time, either based at the campsite at Algeria or staying at a succession of mountain huts while traversing the area. There are many wonderful walks taking in many amazing  features, but given our time constraints, we opted to do the waterfall walk.

Foolishly, we thought "water" when we heard "waterfall", so didn't carry any with us. Bad mistake. When we did finally reach the waterfall, we'd turned into sticks of biltong, and fell face first into the icy water. The walk back down was far easier, far lighter, far more hydrated, and we cooled off afterward in the swimming spot in the river that flows through the campsite.

We returned via the same sad road to the N7, and resumed our journey southward, stopping for a cold beer in Citrusdal. Being a Saturday afternoon, the whole town had closed up and gone home to sleep for the weekend, as still tends to happen in South African country towns, but we sat outside in the garden of a pleasant hotel and savoured the stillness before climbing back into the car. Shortly before Malmesbury, a turn-off to the left leads through Riebeek West to Riebeek Kasteel.

Farming in the area is more mixed these days - previously grain dominated, but now grain alternates with sheep or cattle, and the lush green of vineyards. Leaving Riebeek Kasteel, we ascended a dinky little pass and took another dirt road to our accommodation for the night - Yellowwood Lodge.
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photo by: smk23us