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City Clanwilliam

Clanwilliam is a village in the Western Cape Province, located in the beautiful Olifants River Valley, 230 km north of Cape Town. On the west side of the village there are the rock formations of the Cederberg Mountains which is a very popular area for hikers.

Clanwilliam is one of the 10 oldest towns in South Africa. To the west is the coastal village of Lamberts Bay and in the north, following the N7, you will arrive in Namibia. Beautiful strategically located for those just passing through, but also for those who love a diversity of nature. Peace, endless silence and space, and adventure are the key words for this particular environment.

And what about a trip through Namaqualand (between August and September) to see lots of wild flowers bloom, it is quite a delight. Be sure to visit the Biedouw Valley or the Ramskop Nature Garden if you are a lover of all that is flourishing. Take, after good rain, the Lutzville, Vredendal, Vanrhynsdorp and Klawer route and combine it to contemplate an exuberant splendor of Wild Flowers! If have on a rainy, foggy or cold day, you will be disappointed if you are only interested in the flowers, as they need sunshine and warmth to open.

The Ramskop Nature Garden is located on the edge of the Clanwilliam dam, an area where you can water ski, but there are also many other water activities like fishing.

Clanwilliam is a quiet village, where you will find a museum that tells the history of the village. There is also an old prison; both are closed on weekends and holidays. In the village you will find seven ancient buildings (now monuments) including the old farm house of Jan Disselsvalleij, once the namesake of the village before it was called Clanwilliam. There are also some art galleries where local artists often exhibit their work, but you can also find paintings by many other South African artists. A long time ago the Khoi and San people were the artists here and their work is spread across numerous rock formations in the area. Book a tour with a guide if you do not want to miss it because in this area you will find the best preserved and most San rock art paintings.

Sometimes we go for a coffee (as we are accustomed to), but today we go for tea; Rooibos tea, something that is native here and is grown in large numbers. And it's certainly worth it to visit a Rooibos factory or farm to see the many products available that are made from Rooibos.

Just outside Clanwilliam via a scenic route through the tea bush fields you reach Wupperthal. Here the Rhenish missionaries founded a shoe factory in 1834 and the back-to-basic walker should really have a look at the "veld skoene" (shoes) and possibly order a pair to pick up later. Along the way, you could stop at the tomb of Louis Leipoldt a famous botanist, poet and cook.

And with those soft shoes you might want to take a wonderful hike or hiking tour and there are plenty. We would say start slowly, because it is quite different from the sturdy boots which you are used to! You can go past waterfalls and nature reserves, and wonder at the unique Fynbos which grows here. Tired of walking but you want to see some more of the area, then go horseback riding or mountain biking (with your own) from here on out. Or choose the adventurous way of boating and go river rafting.

If you chose to explore this environment with a 4x4 then there are plenty of different trails in various difficulties and distance. Through the rough area it is possible if you spot it, to hire a quad bike.

From Clanwilliam is easy to travel to the Cederberg Wilderness Area, where you have views on, or into, unusual rock formations. Where rock climbing, hiking and walking photographs deliver beautiful pictures. Look out for the special and endangered Clanwilliam Cedar Tree. Who knows, it is no longer being saved and you might see one of the last ones. Take one of the many beautiful mountain passes to get a helicopter view over the breathtaking landscape where silence is still quite common. Make sure to stop at a Padstal for local delicacies.

Your vacation begins at the South Africa Specialist.