In search of the Cederberg and Tankwa’s vast vistas

The remote roads in this quiet corner of the Western Cape reward visitors with endless views. After months at home, the mountain passes of the Cederberg and Tankwa Karoo were just what we needed. By Johann Groenewald

With local travel starting to pick up, we took to the road for a short trip. Our goal? To travel the mountain passes of the Cederberg and Tankwa Karoo and enjoy panoramic views.

We drove from Paarl to the southern Cederberg via Ceres, then followed Katbakkies Pass and Peerboomskloof Pass into the Tankwa. From here we drove to Elandsvlei to have a look at the Doring River flooding from the eastern end of the Old Postal Route.

Gydo Pass
From the Gydo Pass you look back over the fertile valley of Ceres. Pictures by Johann Groenewald
The Katbakkies Pass, one of the iconic Cederberg mountain passes.

We’d been warned by Barry from Mertenhof on the western end of the route not to come their way as the rivers were in flood – good thing we heeded their advice. With our GPS set to Gannaga Lodge, we made our way across Tankwa Karoo National Park. At Gannaga they reported that they are seeing a lot of visitors already and over weekends bookings are advisable!

Also read: Tour de Tankwa in a van

Ready for visitors

The next day we drove back down the Gannaga Pass, which is badly washed away in areas.  We checked in at Tankwa Karoo NP HQ and obtained permits to drive along the smaller tracks in the park. They were ready for visitors, masks on and sanitiser sprays in hand.

Gannaga Pass is a gravel road and can get badly washed away in places.

We then took the route up Ouberg Pass and all the way to Sutherland and then towards the N1. Our destination for the evening was Gatsrivier Guest Farm, where we made a lovely tomato bredie in one of their chalets. The next morning we inspected all their camp sites and I must say I will be back for more. But it was time to head home via Ceres. The gravel road has been upgraded to cater for the construction of the Perdekraal Wind Farm, which is nearing completion.

Also read: Traditional tomato bredie, a winter warmer!

Ours was a mid-week trip but we were told by our hosts that people are travelling on the weekends and that business is making a comeback. This is indeed very good news for our local economy.

Roadside stops

I also see the roadside coffee shops on the R62 are open and that traffic is picking up. In Montagu I always stop at The Rambling Rose, where you will find the best home cooked meals with a Portuguese twist – try their prego role or my favourite, the chicken mayo sandwich with some extra kick from their homemade piri-piri sauce. Sergio told me that they are not open for sit-down meals yet, but you can order takeaways and coffees. Small businesses like these need our support and there are hundreds of them along our scenic routes.

Where will you go next weekend?

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