Beyond the Cederberg, by Peter Slingsby and Ed Coombe
Beyond the Cederberg lies a little-known area of enormous interest and attraction. This is wild, semi-tamed country where the farms are widely scattered between countryside that has remained unchanged for centuries and is here described by Peter Slingsby and Ed Coombe.
Yet human beings have occupied this area since the dawn of time: San artists left a richer legacy of rock art here than any other hunter-gatherers have left anywhere else in the world. Houses constructed by the same methods used by the Khoekhoe people for many centuries are still found. European settlement dates from the early 1700's, and one of the largest and most important misson villages in the Western Cape is situated here. The well-preserved rock art is an obvious attraction; the spring flowers of the Biedouw Valley are internationally famous. The area is also famous for its often-extraordinary weather-sculpted rock formations, caves and shallow overhangs. There is a rich heritage of architecture, short walks and overnight trails, mountaineering, game viewing, fly-fishing, four-wheel drive trails, river rafting, horse riding ... and from Cape Town the area is but a three hour drive, almost all on tarred roads. Whether you plan a weekend visit or a longer stay, there are simple camp sites, fully-equipped self-catering cottages, and even luxury five-star chalets and international-standard cuisine. The first part of this book is a journey through the area, starting on the Pakhuis Pass and visiting all the places of interest. Interspersed stories of ghosts and strange characters will, we hope, enliven our tale. In the second section there are details of the early history, the rock art, the flora, fauna, geology and climate. The third section is a Directory of the facilities offered in the area, with contact names and telephone numbers. Finally, there is an index which is also a glossary, to help foreign visitors understand and pronounce the many strange-looking, non-English names. The future of this area and its people must lie in tourism, and the available facilities to encourage visitors are already well-developed and attractive. However, for far too long it has been mis-identified as a part of the true Cederberg, and we hope that this book will help the Biedouw Conservancy to develop an "own" identity for this special area. Welcome to the land beyond the Cederberg!
Heuningvlei is a jewel. This tiny village, an outpost of the Wupperthal mission, is situated in the Cederberg proper, but although scarcely twelve kilometres from the Pakhuis Pass can only be reached by vehicle from Kouberg, near Wupperthal - a sixty-four kilometre trip from the Pakhuis! Turn off the main Wupperthal road at the summit of the Kouberg Pass, and turn right past the thatched cottage with the circular stone watertank (pictured on page 47). The high Cederberg peak beyond the cottage is the 1930 metre (6332 feet) Sneeukop - as the name implies, it can be a beautiful sight after winter snowfalls. The Heuningvlei road swings left almost immediately and climbs steeply up through the rocks before levelling out across the plain. The vegetation is suddenly pure mountain Fynbos, alive with flowers in most seasons, and the plain itself is a wonderland of gigantic and fantastic rock formations.
To your right Citadel Kop slowly becomes a narrow, pointed peak. Do not be tempted to take any of the byways off the road unless you have four wheel drive and are prepared for some very bumpy rides. The "main road" itself is little more than a track, most of it in good condition and quite passable for ordinary cars. About twelve kilometres from Kouberg the track descends a small, rocky pass and winds through a little plantation of pines, where it crosses the upper Biedouw River. The high mountain ahead is Krakadouw Peak, 1744 metres (5722 feet). The track turns up stream, passes cultivated lands and, after passing a gate you are suddenly in the charming little village of Heuningvlei. Twenty-one families live here in neat thatched cottages. The residents farm small plots of rooibos tea and vegetables along the banks of the river. Sadly the school is closed; from 1999 the children have boarded during the week at the Wupperthal School, and the parents say that the tiny settlement is lonelier without them.
This is an excerpt from the guide: Beyond the Cederberg, by Peter Slingsby and Ed Coombe.
Title: Beyond the Cederberg
Authors: Peter Slingsby; Ed Coombe
Publisher: Baardskeerder cc
ISBN 0620273100 / ISBN 0-620-27310-0
Cape Town, South Africa 2006
Softcover, 15x21 cm, 81 pages, 1 map, bw-sketches
Slingsby, Peter und Coombe, Ed im Namibiana-Buchangebot
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