Adventure is calling. The WILD AIR crew saddle up to take on another gravel tour in the Western Cape, The Cape Cycle Routes’ Cederberg Circuit.
Gravel riding tours are a great way to see and experience some of the most beautiful parts of our country and with much to see and do in the Western Cape, the WILD AIR crew are heading off on another one. Our 3rd proper gravel adventure. Seems it’s becoming an annual thing, haha!
This time, it is the Cederberg that beckons, and answer the call we shall! Situated just over 2 hours drive north of the City of Cape Town, it is within easy reach for a weekend mission and packed with spectacular scenery, quaint towns, hiking trails, interesting people, heritage sites, and of course… gravel roads!
When it comes to figuring out where the best roads, routes, and towns to visit are, Cape Cycle Routes has put together a bunch of fantastic options that cover a variety of distances and areas (and will keep you on the gravel as much as possible). We’re going to be taking on their “Cederberg Circuit” and boy does it look like a goodie!
What is Cape Cycle Routes
The Cape Cycle Routes initiative exists to promote tourism in the Western Cape through providing people with the information needed to get out and enjoy what the Western Cape has to offer for bike touring. Select a route on their site and you practically have all the information at your fingertips required to get going. You, of course, can choose to do it in whatever style you want, be it self supported or with vehicle support.
You can camp your way along the route or stay in lovely accommodation options from their recommended accommodation lists, or any other secret sports you may know about! Make adjustments to the route, pick how much ground you’d like to cover each day or just choose a segment you’d like to ride and leave the rest for another time. They exist as a guideline and resource for you to build your own adventure!
Details on the Cederberg Circuit
Of the 5 routes that Cape Cycle Routes have mapped out on their site, we are going to be embarking on the “Cederberg Circuit”, having already completed the “Karoo Crossing” and “Cross Cape” to date. The Cederberg Circuit is a 247km long route that takes in 3500m of elevation gain. Pretty stout! Cape Cycle Routes recommends you do it in 3-6 days and we are opting for a 3 day version, the legs might feel this one a bit!
The ride begins in Citrusdal and heads north towards Clanwilliam Dam where it will turn back South East into the heart of the Cederberg mountains. Highlights include hikes at Algeria, seeing the stunning Wolfberg Cracks, sipping at Cederberg Wines, summiting some enormous passes (we’ll call them highlights for now..), visiting Stadsaal rock paintings, munching at The Old Mill House, and endless ranges of rugged mountains. Beauty!
We’ll carry on South through the valleys and rises to the town of Op Die Berg where we hook a right back to Citrusdal with one more massive pass to negotiate, it does promise a spectacular descent though! The route is locked in and we are hitting the road in the coming week!
Our Ride Plan For The Cederberg Circuit
Our first day will take us from Wolfkop Nature Reserve just outside of Citrudal to Sanddrif in the heart of the Cederberg, with a stop at Algeria for a short waterfall excursion on the way! Day 2 of 3 will hopefully hold a hike to the Wolfberg Cracks and Stadsaal rock paintings, as well as A LOT of climbing. A lunch stop at Mount Cedar will hopefully get us home to Houdenbek for a plunge in the dam our second night.
On day 3 we may dabble in some MTB trails if the legs and J-Dogg’s Cannondale Topstone are up for it! A quick stop in for brekkie at Op Die Berg before we set sail for Citrusdal and revel in the long and winding Middelburg Pass, dropping (thankfully not climbing..) 900 meters to town. Doesn’t sound like a bad way to spend 3 days on a bike!
We have also partnered up with Cannondale Bicycles, CIOVITA, and Giro to make sure we have all the right kit for the big mountains and long roads so be sure to stay tuned to see what we’ll be wearing on which bikes and how we get along with the gear out in the field!
Previous Cape Cycle Routes Rides
As mentioned we have previously ridden the exquisite “Karoo Crossing” and vast “Cross Cape”. We found hidden gems and lovely accommodation options. We fed elephants(!), crunched miles crunched, soaked in views, drifted corners, slurped milkshakes, and so much more. We are eager for what the Cederberg Circuit may hold and what its unique character will reveal. For a taste of what is to come, you can check out those adventures below!
Where to Follow Our Cederberg Circuit Ride
If you are keen to follow along a bit as we go, tune in to the WILD AIR Bike instagram channel for daily updates and highlights from the trip starting Monday evening! Post trip we will be putting together a short-film on our adventure as well as recapping it in our podcast so keep an eye out!
Off we go to the Cederberg!