Citrusdal to Algeria
Leaving Citrusdal, the Ou Kaapse Pad takes you out on the eastern bank of the Olifant's River. It's easy and flat for a time, winding between the green orchards of the citrus farms that dominate the economy in this area. Just 20km out, you pass by the oldest orange tree in the southern hemisphere (1777). You might consider a swim at the low-level bridge off to the left at 27km, as the temperatures around here can soar upwards of 50·C. At the Clanwilliam dam you turn right up the Rondegat River Valley and start climbing all the way to Algeria. This brings you to the Cape Nature campsite, where you can buy hiking permits and check into comfortable accommodation. Look out for a change in the road surface as it unexpectedly turns to brick paving for the last few kms, to the base of Uitkyk Pass.
Uitkyk Pass to Mount Ceder
From the end of the paved road, the Uitkyk Pass rises sharply and winds spectacularly up the side of the mountain. As you hit the top you can get your last cell phone signal. While you make that final call, you can gaze over the majestic mountain peaks to the north or down the Driehoek valley to the south. The next section presents a fairly rough road surface all the way to Cederberg Cellars for 96km. There is a small shop and wine tasting is on offer - it's well worth a visit. 3km farther there is a right turn, and the road rises sharply before dropping down a steep descent to Kromrviier resort where you can swim in the stream and order an ice-cold beverage. As you pass through the gates be sure not to end up in the same pen as the Anatolian sheep dog, as he is a little protective. There are some cave paintings off to the right at Truitjieskraal. but you will need a permit, which is obtainable at the farm. From here there is still a 5km climb before heading down to Mount Ceder Resort.
Mount Ceder to Op Die Berg
From Mount Ceder, on the banks of the Grootrviier, there is a 5km descent, which you zoomed down yesterday. Today, however, you will be climbi ng 5km to get out of the Blinkberg Pass, between the Skurweberge and the Swartruggens mountains. As the land flattens somewhat there are beautiful rock formations seemingly scattered about with innumerable 'gargoyles' keeping watch. The road now turns to tar and thepace picks up all the way to the T-Junction, where the Op Die Berg village is to the left and the route continues to the right.
Op Die Berg to Citrusdal
The first 40km is on tar and is relatively flat, but this is the Koue Bokkeveld and 1s not for the faint¬ hearted. It can be hellishly hot or freezing cold, and if there is a headwind it can be really tough. As the mountains close in from both sides, the road turns to gravel and winds howl through a narrow valley before you climb the Middelberg Pass. The views across to Middelberg Peak, Meulenskop and the Elandkloof valley are brilliant. Easily as good as the descent, which is often rough and skittish. One should take care on the tar road, which is a screamer all the way into Citrusdal and the finish.
For more information visit: www.capecycleroutes.co.za