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Clanwilliam

© Jennifer Stern© Jennifer SternAlthough it’s best known for its spectacular spring flowers, there is more to this lovely town, conveniently situated between the West Coast and the Cederberg and on the southern edge of Namaqualand. A community-run cultural programme highlights the local rock art, and there is a satisfactory smattering of craft shops and art galleries.

The Cederberg is the home of one of South Africa’s best loved exports (after gold, diamonds and wine, of course). Rooibos tea originally grew wild in the mountains around Clanwilliam and still does, but now it is cultivated as well. This tea has become internationally recognised for its wonderful therapeutic qualities, as it is naturally caffeine-free and contains many health-giving substances. You can tour the local factory where it is processed and, of course, sample a range of products.

Clanwilliam is the gateway to the northern Cederberg and the scenic, Pakhuis Pass. An unpaved road leads over the hills, through some spectacularly rugged rock formations to the small Moravian mission village of Wuppertal and the Biedouw Valley which is renowned for its spring flowers. Just outside the town is the Clanwilliam Dam and the Ramskop Nature Reserve with its small wildflower garden, which is worth a visit at any time of year, but is utterly spectacular in spring. As well as the well-known spring flowers, this area is exceptionally well endowed with rock art and it is close to the Cederberg Wilderness Area. There is a short horse trail nearby and a unique luxury game lodge halfway up the Pakhuis Pass.

Thee are a few good wineries near Clanwilliam, of of which are on the Olifants River Wine Route

Clanwilliam is about 200km north of Cape Town on the N7.


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