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Gabriel Trail

Cederberg Heritage Route, Western Cape

Travel north from Cape Town and over the Piekenierskloof Pass beyond Piketberg and you descend into a different world. You are only two hours drive from Cape Town and yet the country has changed; wilder, warmer with a raw, dramatic beauty. Towering mountains, brilliant purple in the late afternoon light, preside over a fruit-filled valley laden with the scent of orange blossom in the spring.

The majestic and rugged Cederberg Mountains are a gigantic mass of sandstone, richly coloured by iron oxides and eroded into a variety of strange shapes. This 100-km long range rises splendidly above the vineyards and citrus groves of the Olifants River valley. The Cederberg is most famous for these unique rock formations as well as for fine examples of San (Bushmen) rock paintings and spectacular wild flowers in spring (early/mid August to early September). Most of the Cederberg is a designated Wilderness area and thus remains one of the most undisturbed areas of the country. The hiking trails of the Cederberg Heritage Route aim to make this beautiful area accessible to walkers via the use of charming community guest cottages in the Moravian Mission villages of Heuningvlei, Brugkraal and Wupperthal on the eastern side of the Wilderness area and other guesthouses in or near Clanwilliam on the western side.

Rating of the severity of the hikes/walks

Most of the hiking and walking on the Cederberg Heritage Route trails is not very severe, though the paths are usually stony and uneven and occasionally the route goes through the veld with no path. However, some optional hikes are more challenging. There are also numerous streams and rivers to be crossed, which may involve taking off shoes and socks and wading. We use the following Rating System to describe each day’s hike/walk on our trails.

Hike/Walk severity

  • Fairly easy walk on undulating terrain, up to 8km
  • Relatively easy walking on undulating terrain, about 8-12km
  • Steeper walking/hiking and/or a longer distance, up to about 18km
  • Steep mountain hike with several hours of uphill walking

Walk exposure to heights and/or scrambling

  • no exposure to heights and no scrambling
  • some walking up rocky steps
  • some steep rock scrambling and exposure to heights involved. People with a severe problem with heights may want to avoid this hike

Day Packs & Estimated Times

The times estimated below include stops for tea and lunch and some time for photography, swimming and other activities. Hikers are provided with a packed picnic lunch at the start of each day so that you only need to carry a day-pack containing items needed during the day (water, snacks, additional clothing, rain gear), as your other luggage is transported from one overnight stop to the next.

Community Trail Escorts/Guides

Please note that the members of the local communities who escort you on the hikes from one night stop to the next are not necessarily trained and accredited tourist guides. Some of them are, but others are just local community members who know the local paths and will guide you to your next night stop and introduce you to your host. They have local knowledge that they should try to impart to you, but generally their home language is Afrikaans and they may have difficulty expressing themselves in English.

Accommodation on the trails

Accommodation on the Cederberg Heritage Route Trails is either in comfortable B&Bs or in community-based ‘homesteads’. Please note that, though the community-based homesteads are well kept, they do not have the bathroom facilities or perhaps the level of comfort that you may be used to. Bathrooms will usually have to be shared between the group and the room configuration may require three persons to share a bedroom, given the traditional nature of the mission cottages. We aim to describe this as accurately as possible but please come with an attitude of acceptance. The revenue from your walking trail is directly helping the local community.

Day 1

1 night, Clanwilliam Hotel/Blommenberg Guest House, Dinner & Bed

Arrive at Clanwilliam Hotel/Blommenberg Guest House, in Clanwilliam, by 17:00, where you will overnight on a Bed, Packed Breakfast & Packed Lunch basis.  There you will be met by Michelle Truter, who will hand over your documents. You will also receive a meal voucher to the value of R250 to enjoy dinner at The Badgers Grill Restaurant/Bella-Louise Restaurant.


Clanwilliam is one of South Africa’s oldest towns. Colonialists settled the area by 1725. In 1820 about 350 Irish settlers arrived in Clanwilliam. You can still see some of the attractive 1820 settler houses in Park Street. Clanwilliam is now a centre for an agricultural community cultivating the uniquely South African Rooibos tea, citrus, table grapes and vegetables. The citrus orchards can be seen along the Olifants valley from Citrusdal to Clanwilliam. Further north there are a number of vineyards producing both wine and table grapes.

If you arrive in the town earlier in the afternoon, you may like to visit the Old Gaol Museum, the Strassberger’s Shoe Factory to purchase a pair of locally made ‘veld’ shoes, or the House of Rooibos for a video of the tea-making process. You can also do a very informative and interesting rooibos tea tasting at Velskoendraai Farm Stall.

Accommodation at Clanwilliam Hotel

The Clanwilliam Hotel is situated in the heart of the little town of Clanwilliam, one of the 10 oldest towns in South Africa.  Only 2 hours’ drive from Cape Town, the hotel offers air-conditioned rooms, swimming pool and limited secure parking.  There are 42 rooms with en-suite bathrooms.  The Badgers Grill Restaurant is situated inside the hotel, where you can enjoy your meals.


Accommodation at Blommenberg Guest House, Clanwilliam

Blommenberg Guest House has nine en-suite rooms are situated around our lush garden courtyard with a swimming pool. Eight are standard rooms. Of these, six have twin beds and two have queen size beds. The bathrooms have walk-in showers. All are quiet, secure, spacious and airy.

Day 2

1 night, Langkloof Homestead, Packed Breakfast, Packed Lunch, Dinner & Bed

This morning, you will park your vehicle at De Vlei Guesthouse, in town.  From here you will be transferred at 05:30 to Driehoek Tourist Farm for the start of your day hike to Langkloof.  Today at 07:00 or 08:00, you enjoy a guided day hike of about 12km (6 to 7 hours) from Driehoek Tourist Farm, over the very scenic Gabriel’s Pass in the Cederberg Wilderness area, to the little Moravian village of Langkloof (ascend 530m and descend 430m, Rating 3B).  NOTE:  You do have the option to extend your day hike to include a walk to the Wolfberg Arch (additional 3km, 2h) at no extra cost.  Please let us know if you think that you would like to do this.  You will stay overnight at Langkloof Homestead on a Dinner, Bed, Breakfast & Packed Lunch basis.

Driehoek Tourist Farm in the central Cederberg

Driehoek Tourist Farm is situated in the heart of the central Cederberg Mountains. It offers accommodation facilities ranging from camping sites to fully equipped chalets. Driehoek is surrounded by magnificent mountains and is ideal as a base for hiking to well-known landmarks such as Tafelberg, Sneeuberg, the Maltese Cross and the Wolfberg Arch. A beautiful river with natural swimming pools runs through the well-treed farm. Driehoek is an operating farm where children are able to pet the animals and watch some of the farm activities. A recent development is the production of high quality wines.

The villages of the Wupperthal Moravian Church in the eastern Cederberg area

Langkloof, Eselbank and Kleinvlei are all members of the fourteen outpost villages of the Moravian Mission Church at Wupperthal, the successor to the Rhenish Missionary Society that founded Wupperthal in the 1830s.  The communities are mainly involved in subsistence farming, running herds of sheep and goats and cultivating crops such as sugar beans, potatoes, sweet potatoes and Rooibos tea. Many community members are seasonal or occasional contract workers in surrounding areas, depending on what work is available. The villages are all situated in areas with perennial water and arable land.

Langkloof is the smallest and most remote of the three villages. It lies at the eastern end of the beautiful Langkloof valley and the Langkloof stream, overshadowed by Tafelberg (1 969m) and Corridor Peak (1 838m) to the south and Langberg (1 857m) and Shadow Peak (1 890) to the north. The only vehicle access is via the so-called “jeeptrack”, a very poor 35km road that connects Matjiesrivier, in the south, with Wupperthal, to the north. Langkloof village is about half way between; about 1,5km off the “jeeptrack” road. The nearest substantial town is Clanwilliam, about 90km away by road.

Accommodation at Langkloof Homestead

There are three rooms with two single beds each with a separate bathroom with bath, shower, toilet and basin.  There is also a lounge area, dining area and a kitchen.  Note: This accommodation is modest/rustic!

Day 3

1 night, Kupido’s Homestead, Breakfast, Packed Lunch, Dinner & Bed

Today, at 07:00 or 08:00, you enjoy an escorted day hike of about 11km (6 – 7 hours, Rating 3B) over the mountain from Langkloof to the Moravian village of Eselbank (climb 500m and descend 500m).  Please note:  About 5km of this hike is on a well marked route (white paint marks and stone cairns) through the veld. The route has been cleared of vegetation but there is not a properly constructed path. The terrain on this section is fairly rough under foot, so progress is slower than on a path and more strenuous.  This trail leads over the mountain via the Agtertafelberg path and Wabooms Kloof.  The last 1.5km of this trail is along a jeep track to Eselbank.  However, the route is very beautiful and interesting with tremendous views.  An alternative route on a low level route around the mountain is also available, which is less strenuous.  The alternative route is on a plateau along the side of Moordenaarsgat.  Please consult your guide if you think you might prefer this alternative.  If the weather is unsuitable for the route over the mountain you will be taken to Eselbank by the low level route. As this route takes less time than the route over the mountain your guide may include the visit to the Eselbank Waterfall, instead of doing it the next morning. You stay overnight at Kupido’s Homestead, at Eselbank, on a Dinner, Bed, Breakfast & Packed Lunch basis.

Eselbank is a much larger village than Langkloof, lying about 8km to the north, and straddling the “jeeptrack” road. From there it is another 11km to Wupperthal, down a very rough, narrow and steep section of the road. Sneeukop (1 930m) and South Peak (1 839m) tower above the village to the west and to the east is the precipitous ravine of the Moordenaarsgat River. Nearby, the Eselbank River drops over a spectacular waterfall into a deep, narrow gorge. Around the village are extensive cultivated lands.

Accommodation at Kupido’s Homestead at Eselbank

Kupido’s Homestead is situated in Eselbank, in the heart of the Cederberg.   It is a homely house with a kitchen, living area with lounge and dining table, three bedrooms:  room 1 has a double and a single bed with an en-suite with a shower, basin and toilet;  room 2 has a queen size bed and room 3 has a double bed.  There is a separate bathroom as well with a bath, basin and toilet.  The house has wifi.  Meals will be provided by the ladies of the community.

Day 4

1 night, Kleinvlei Campsite/Zimri’s Homestead, Breakfast, Packed Lunch, Dinner & Bed

Today you have an escorted day hike of about 10km (4 – 6 hours, Rating 3B), to the Moravian village of Kleinvlei.  At 07:00 or 08:00, your hike starts with a walk upstream from the village to an area of impressive rock formations and a cave with San rock art.  Then you walk downstream from the village to visit the very impressive Eselbank Waterfall (if you didn’t do it the previous day), where the Eselbank River plunges into a very dramatic kloof.  Thereafter, the route heads northwards from Eselbank, first on a level section alongside rooibos tea plantations to Uitkyk and then the trail descends 350m down a valley to Kleinvlei.  For the descent into Kleinvlei, your luggage will be carried on packed donkeys. You will overnight in a tent at Kleinvlei Campsite/Zimri’s Homestead on a Dinner, Bed, Breakfast & Packed Lunch basis.

San (Bushmen) Rock Art

One of the most appealing activities in the Cedarberg, is to follow a walking trail to some of the ancient rock paintings of the San people, the first inhabitants of the Cape. The Cederberg is one of the best areas for rock art in Southern Africa with over 2,000 discovered sites (The other three areas are the Drakensberg Mountains in kwaZulu-Natal, the Brandberg in Namibia and the Matopas in southern Zimbabwe.).

Kleinvlei packed donkeys

The Kleinvlei pack donkeys are fitted with special harnesses that enable each donkey to carry two soft luggage bags of the type specified in our Packing List. The reason for using pack donkeys for transferring luggage in and out of Kleinvlei is that they can use relatively short paths from Eselbank to Kleinvlei and from Kleinvlei to Wupperthal, whereas the alternative of using motor transport involves much longer routes on very poor roads.

Kleinvlei lies about 7km north of Eselbank via a footpath, but by road it is a roundabout route of  some 28km via Wupperthal, Brugkraal and Grasvlei. Kleinvlei is a picturesque, traditional Moravian village, mainly of thatch-roofed whitewashed cottages. It is a bit smaller than Eselbank. It is set alongside the Dassieboskloof River with Skerpioensberg (1 626m) to the west and Sneeukop to the south west. From Kleinvlei the Dassieboskloof River runs through a beautiful gorge to join the Tra Tra river at Wupperthal. There is also a 4km footpath to Wupperthal through the gorge. Kleinvlei has a small campsite and is at the southern end of the Donkey Cart Trail that starts at Kleinvlei and runs through Agtersvlei, Grasvlei, Brugkraal, Witwater and Heuningvlei to the top of the Pakhuis Pass. 

Accommodation in Kleinvlei

Accommodation in Kleinvlei is usually in summer in tents, in the Kleinvlei Campsite and in homesteads in the winter.   Please note that even if a specific accommodation option has been confirmed to you, it does happen that the community has to move you to another property because of certain reasons. 

Accommodation in tents at Kleinvlei Campsite

Accommodation at Kleinvlei Campsite is in tents.  Each tent has two single matrasses on the floor.  There is also one communal bathroom for ladies and one for men – each with a shower and a separate toilet with basin.  On the premises is also a lapa with a “braai” and an electricity point.  Meals will be served and enjoyed in the community hall.

Please note:  This is the most rustic accommodation on the trail.


Accommodation at Zimri’s Homestead, Kleinvlei

Accommodation at Zimri’s Homestead is provided in three bedrooms, each with a double bed. There is a bathroom with a bath and toilet.  The house also has a kitchen, lounge and stoep.  Meals are provided by the ladies of the community and will be served in the community hall which is about 100m – 150m from the homestead.

Day 5

Return to Clanwilliam and Depart, Breakfast & Light Lunch

This morning you take a short escorted walk through a beautiful Kloof to the main Moravian village of Wupperthal (4km, 2 hours, Rating 1B).  You will then be collected from Wupperthal and transferred back to Clanwilliam, arriving at about 15:30.  En-route, you will be stopping for a 2 hour guided tour of the Sevilla Rock Art Trail (Rating 1A) and enjoy a light lunch (Drinks are for your own account.).  You are then transferred back to De Vlei Guesthouse, where the trail ends, and you depart back home.   PLEASE NOTE:  If you elect not to include the rock art trail and light lunch, you will be back in Clanwilliam by 10:30 – 11:30.  And the price per person will be less.  If you wish not to include the Sevilla Rock Art Trail and Light Lunch, please let us know, on confirming this booking.

Wupperthal Mission Village

The mission village was founded in the early 19th century and remains quiet and seemingly untouched by the 21st century with some villagers still travelling by donkey and cart. Visit the old attractive Moravian Church and also the shoe factory and shop, which sells ‘veldskoene’ – excellent walking/everyday shoes that, are all hand-made and excellent value.

San (Bushmen) Rock Art

One of the most appealing activities in the Cedarberg, is to follow a walking trail to some of the ancient rock paintings of the San people, the first inhabitants of the Cape. The Cederberg is one of the best areas for rock art in Southern Africa with over 2,000 discovered sites (The other three areas are the Drakensberg Mountains in kwaZulu-Natal, the Brandberg in Namibia and the Matopas in southern Zimbabwe.).

The Sevilla Trail consists of 9 different rock art sites, in a very attractive environment, and will take about 2½ – 3 hours (Rating 1A) to complete but you can choose how many sites you wish to visit.


March 2023 – February 2024 Prices

  • Per person price (6 pax) ZAR7 325 per person sharing
  • Per person price (4 pax) ZAR8 225 per person sharing
  • Per person price (2 pax) ZAR10 825 per person sharing

Note:  If you are happy for other people to join you/your group, please specify this when booking. We will invoice you for the number of people in your group, but will reduce the price if other people join your trail, at a later stage. Unless you specify this, we will assume that each booking is a private trail.

Admin Fee:

  • R55.00 admin fee once off per booking.
Gabriel Trail

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