Do, dine and sleep: touring the charming town of Clanwilliam

Posted by Taylah Strauss on 15 June 2022

It was a late Saturday night when it hit me – we’re already halfway through the year and my parents were right, time really does fly. Already down with a terrible case of wanderlust and enough annual leave days racked up, I knew what I had to do. I closed my eyes and threw a dart at my tattered map from PNA.

And that was that, we set off on 9 June at 4pm with the GPS programmed.

Destination: Clanwilliam.

Things to do

Ou Tronk museum

First on the agenda was a visit to the Ou Tronk museum. Here, we met Herschel who is somewhat of a celebrity in this town. He is known for his expressive storytelling abilities, without which a visit to the museum would simply not be complete.

Herschel retold the history of Clanwilliam, including why it earned its moniker as the ‘Rooibos Capital of South Africa’, as well as the story of the critically endangered cedar tree that is found only in the Cederberg area.

We also learned about the late comedian Tolla van der Merwe and the poet C Louis Leipoldt, who both grew up in Clanwilliam, as well as the history of the veldskoen.

Entry fee: R30

Address: Main Road, Clanwilliam

Contact details: 082 554 9303

Sevilla rock art trail

The Sevilla rock art trail is a five-kilometre stretch that takes in nine rock art sites and gives a striking glimpse into the lives of the San people who inhabited the area thousands of years ago. The trail to the first stop is the longest. After that, the distances are shorter but trickier to navigate because you have to scale or squeeze through complex rock formations.

Nonetheless, the trail was relatively easy and was definitely worth three hours under the scorching African sun. Luckily, we were able to find some solace in the shade of the rocks.

And so ended our first day in Clanwilliam, when I had quickly realised that there’s more to the charming town than rooibos.

Permit: R40

Address: R364, Clanwilliam

Contact details: 082 554 9303 or visit the Traveller’s Rest website.

Soldaatkop

On the agenda the next day was a trip to the Biedouw Valley, which comes alive in the spring with vibrant bursts of pink and blue flowers sprawling over the rolling hills. These wildflowers are one of Clanwilliam’s top attractions; there is even an annual flower show just for them.

On our way, we passed Soldaatkop, a rock formation that, when seen from the right angle, looks like a soldier wearing a hat, hence its name. It’s not a well-known attraction as it’s not easy to spot from the side of the road. But if you look carefully, there it is.

Address: enter the following code on Google maps: CWRP+C6 Citrusdal

The Hen House

Next stop was The Hen House, a quirky farm stall and restaurant on the Alpha Excelsior Guest Farm. The scenery was spectacular, with perfectly lined fields of olive trees and vineyards and a cool breeze to soothe the unseasonably hot June temperatures.

We enjoyed a steaming cup of freshly ground coffee while sitting in utter stillness and taking in the beautiful scenery of the Cederberg wilderness.

Address: Alpha Excelsior Farm, R364, Clanwilliam

Contact details: 063 315 6560

Biedouw Valley Wegbreek

We finally arrived at the Biedouw Valley, and first stopped at the local youth camp. Though called a youth camp, it’s suitable for all ages with self-catering accommodation and a serene, tranquil environment that offers a perfect break from bustling city life.

There is plenty of scope for exploring, but since we were pressed for time, we only took two hikes.

 

The first was short but steep and led to an ‘amphitheatre’, where those at the camp would gather in the evening for a good time.

The second was to a waterfall between the pothole-like rock formations.

 

 

 

Since it was not rainy season, the water levels were low, but it was still exciting to see.

This spot is also quite famous for its wide variety of bird sightings.

Address: 41.7″S 19°09’35.2″E, Clanwilliam

Contact details: 062 909 0436 (WhatsApp only) or visit the Biedouw Valley Wegbreek website.

Biedouw Boerbokstoet

Our last stop in the Biedouw Valley was a quaint farm off the beaten track. Here we met Joubert the farmer, and his wife for a splendid tour around the farm grounds.

While learning about the boerbok meat market and the role of Anatolian shepherd dogs on the farm, we also were fortunate to witness a lamb being born and taking its first steps.

To conclude a day well spent, Joubert gave us a braai and told us the story of one of his dogs who thinks it is a goat.

But I can’t tell you, you’ll have to go and hear it for yourself.

Address: Biedouwfarm, Biedouw Valley, Clanwilliam

Contact details: 072 231 4858 or visit the Biedouw Boerbokstoet website.

Hebron Guesthouse and Restaurant

The last stop was not in Clanwilliam really, but was much outside of it. With our travel boots satisfied for the time being, this was on our way home. We were welcomed with open arms by the owner Steve, who showed us around the organic farm stall and farm-to-table restaurant.

We sat down for a hot cup of coffee and a tasty slice of chocolate cake.

Address: Hebron, N7, Piekenierskloof Pass, Citrusdal

Contact details: 022 921 2595 or visit the Hebron Guesthouse and Restaurant website.

Places to eat

Badger’s Grill

On the menu: burgers, steaks, chops, ribs, chicken and salads.

Where: 22 Main Road ,Clanwilliam

Contact details: 027 482 2888

Yellow Aloe

On the menu: a fine selection of teas and coffees

Where: 1 Park Street, Clanwilliam

Contact details: 076 687 4360

Michael’s On Park

On the menu: a wide variety of homecooked meals including pastas, steaks, fish cakes and so much more.

Where: 30 Park Street, Clanwilliam

Contact details: 083 627 5709

De Kelder Pub & Grill

On the menu: pizzas, burgers, seafood and desserts.

Where: Graafwaterweg, Clanwilliam

Contact details: 022 125 0443

Where to stay

Ndedema Lodge

The Ndedema Lodge is a guesthouse with luxury bedrooms with spacious bathrooms with a shower and a bath. The lodge prides itself on its stellar attention to detail, warm atmosphere created by individually decorated bedrooms and a killer breakfast included in the package.

In addition to secure parking and Wi-Fi access, there is a secluded tea garden, a koi pond next to a couple of citrus trees, bird-watching spots and a braai area as well as a swimming pool.

 

Bedrooms come with a TV equipped with DStv, electric blankets, heaters, coffee and tea facilities, candles, adjustable lighting and bathrooms have scented soaps and washes, and soft, plush bathrobes.

Rates: from R600 pp

Address: 48 Park Street, Clanwilliam

Contact details: 082 559 6489 or visit the Ndedema Lodge website.

Clanwilliam Hotel

The Clanwilliam Hotel has spacious luxury rooms, each equipped with an air conditioner, en suite bathroom and TV equipped with DStv. This cosy bed and breakfast also has rooms with a fireplace, perfect for toasty fireside conversations and a night cap.

There is an on-site restaurant and bar for those who don’t wish to stray too far from their landing base, as well as a swimming pool to combat the summer heat. Additionally, there is on-site secure parking, Wi-Fi access, braai areas and 24-hour reception.

The hotel also has a number one rating on TripAdvisor, so rest assured, you’ll be getting your money’s worth down to the last cent.

Rates: from R1 095 pp.

Address: 22 Main Street, Clanwilliam

Contact details: 027 482 2888 or visit the Clanwilliam Hotel website.

Special thanks to

Linda Steel for compiling the itinerary for the trip, the complimentary stay and meals at the Clanwilliam Hotel.

Michael Coetzee for the complimentary dinner and for spending the day taking us through the Biedouw Valley.

Edin for the complimentary stay and breakfast at the Ndedema Lodge.

De Kelder Pub & Grill for the complimentary dinner.

Herschel for the spectacular tour of the Ou Tronk Museum.

Joubert van der Merwe for the farm tour and memorable braai.

Steve Oldroyd for the complimentary coffee and cake at the Heron Guesthouse and Restaurants.

Hannelie from Biedouw Valley Wegbreek for refreshments and accompanying us on the hikes.

Picture: Alpha Excelsior Farm

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