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Cameron Ewart-Smith: Wine shopping in the Cederberg

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Despite considerable personal evidence to the contrary, I’ve always thought it strange that people buy wine from convenience stores or worse online from the comfort of their own homes, when they can just as easily take three or four days and do the job properly.

Take the Driehoek Shiraz from a valley high in the Cederberg Mountains as a perfect example. Order online and for little more than R200, you can enjoy a bottle with minimum hassle (and I can absolutely recommend it). But deep down you’re sure to feel a little cheated. Cheap even. Way better is to step away from your device and to make the trek out to the mountains themselves in search of ground zero.

Cederberg night sky.

 

The entire Cederberg is a picturesque mountain range a little over three hours north of Cape Town. There are campsites, cabins, chalets, cottages and one of my favourite deluxe hotels anywhere in Africa Bushmanskloof. There’s a small spa where personalised treatments will help ease any tensions your shopping excursion may have caused. Alternatively, there’s wilderness camping amongst the stars if you’re adventurous enough to hike up into the crags and peaks of the surroundings. No matter whether you’re wallowing it in the lap of luxury or roughing it in the wilderness, every pot’ll find a lid in the Cederberg.

Most importantly, there’s no rush to get the shopping done. Seeing you’re in the mountains, procrastination has certain advantages. Ruminate over your purchase while you engage in all sorts of anti-shopping-centre behaviour – a number of day walks and overnight hikes criss-cross these mountains. There are also a number of mountain bike trails that thread through the kloofs. If you’re not 100% confident on single track, there are ‘flatish’ dirt roads all over.

There are also a number of excellent rock art sites all over these mountains such as Elephant Rock Art Paintings & Stadsaal Cave. And on moonless evenings there’s a small observatory allowing you to explore the real beauty of the heavens.

Recently, a couple of craft breweries  – Cederberg Brewery and NieuwBrew  – opened their doors offering a range of artisanal style beers. And there’s a restaurant serving country food on Kromrivier farm, home of Cederberg Park.

Oh yes I almost forgot …  we were here for the wine. Cederberg Private Cellar  deservedly has a very high reputation while you should also be sure to visit to the boutique Driehoek Wines.

Stay Here
The following spots have a range of camping cottages and chalets to suit all tastes:

Algeria – self catering cottages run by Cape Nature

Sanddrif Holiday Resort – situated on the farm Dwarsrivier, home of Cederberg Private Cellar
Kromrivier Cederberg Park – the oldest and one of the area’s most popular tourist destinations
Driehoek – self-catering chalets
Mount Ceder – self-catering cottages

Mountain Biking
For information on mountain bike routes round Clanwilliam, click here.

Other trails can be found on Sanddrif, Kromrivier, Nuwerus and Mount Ceder.

Hiking in the Cederberg.Hiking
A wide range of day walks ranging from two to 10 hours can be found across the area. My favourites are the Wolfberg Arch and Cracks or the walk to the Maltese Cross. Overnight options are also multiple … the more intrepid shouldn’t miss climbing Sneeuberg over two days. Reservations can be made at most accommodation providers and farms or from the Cape Nature Office.

  • Cameron Ewart-Smith is a freelance film and television producer/director, writer and photographer and describes himself as “platform agnostic”. A conservationist, he is a former editor of Getaway magazine. He loves good food and wine that doesn’t cost the earth.

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