Popular Sights And Activities
West Coast of South Africa is an amazing amalgamation that can offer a truly unique ‘slackpack’ experience. There are few places in the world where one can walk for kilometres and not see another soul.
Not to mention spectacular ocean views from paths above cliffs, unique coastal vegetation, an abundance of bird life as well as seasonal wildflowers, whales and dolphins – this is an all-year destination in which each season brings its own surprises.
Rooibos – The Nectar of Nature
The Rooibos plant Aspalathus linearis is a valuable part of the Cape Floral Kingdom, commonly known as ‘fynbos’. This leguminous shrub is a member of the Fabaceae family, which has more than 200 species, and is indigenous to the Cederberg mountains around Clanwilliam.
The raw, rugged wilderness of the craggy peaks, the pristine clear mountain air, together with the clear mountain streams provides the perfect growing environment for this unique, natural, health-promoting plant. Rooibos tea is far more than just a tea – and medical science and merely begun to realise its many benefits. Thus far, research indicates that it is an antidote for stress, is rich in antioxidants, and is free of caffeine, additives, preservatives and even colourants. Rooibos provides a wealth of added benefits and can be used for its anti-spasmodic, anti-carcinogenic and anti-allergenic properties.
Rooibos is the feather in our town’s cap, and we proudly stock and sell a variety of Rooibos products from the area. When in Clanwilliam, drink Rooibos.
Sevilla Rock Art Trail
This easy-going, 4 kilometres trail winds along the Brannewyn River and visits nine sites of San rock paintings, left by those who inhabited the area for thousands of years. The trail offers some of the most excellent examples of rock art in the district and a fascinating glimpse into the world of these early inhabitants.
Over and above Springbok and Eland, small game like dassies and baboons may be encountered on the walk, and a fascinating array of indigenous plant species and birds can be observed. In spring the wildflowers are a bonus!
The wildflower display that takes place up the West Coast, through the central part of the Olifant’s River Valley and up through the Namaqualand offers the chance to witness one of nature’s most colourful, annual phenomenons. Local and international tourists flock to Clanwilliam and surrounds to witness the plethora of colour that melts over fields of what is normally rugged bushveld.
While dependent on winter rains, the flowers tend to peak between mid-August to -September. Take a drive or a stroll through the picturesque area to find some of the 80 species of flowering plants endemic to the region. A spectacle of such magnitude involving these specific flowers is unique to the area and not found anywhere else in the world.
Bird Island is one of just six breeding colonies of Cape gannets on Earth and is also an important nesting and roosting site for a wide variety of other seabirds. Cape cormorants and kelp gulls are also common, while Cape fur seals as also regulars on the rocks of the seaward side of this unique, three-hectare island.
The visitors’ centre offers a guano museum, aquarium and penguin pool, and bird hide with a prime vantage point of the thousands of Cape gannets nesting in below.
Matjiesrivier Nature Reserve
The nature reserve is located just 40 kilometres out of town and hosts some excellent examples of the Cederberg’s geological and archaeological heritage; including the imposing Stadsaal Cave and rare San rock art.
This vast and rugged nature reserve with its rich natural and cultural history is the perfect place to explore while in Clanwilliam. The reserve has an extensive network of clearly marked trails to guide visitors of all ages through a maze of spectacular rock sculptures and rock art sites.
The West Coast Crayfish Trail Company
The Crayfish Trail links a series of quaint coastal towns, nature reserves and noteworthy farms including Rocherpan, Elands Bay, Lamberts Bay and more; each with its own unique story and something to offer any intrepid explorer.
The Crayfish Trails are 'slackpacking' routes (meaning your luggage is transported for you), and all meals are catered for – offering you a cultural taste of the West Coast.
There are three different slackpack options for you to choose from. With either a 2-day or 5-day trail, or a bespoke option – offering you between one and five nights specific to your preferences. The trail guides have extensive knowledge of the area and can put something special together for you!
Clanwilliam Dam and recreational fishing
Located in the Cedarberg Mountain Range, about 250 km away from Cape Town, Clanwilliam is best used as an overnight fishing venue. Fish varieties include bluegill sunfish, smallmouth and largemouth bass, plus the occasional Clanwilliam yellowfish.
Clanwilliam is considered one of the best venues for smallmouth bass fishing in South Africa!
Yellow Aloe is closely situated to the Clanwilliam Dam, but a freshwater licence is required for fishing. These are easily obtainable at the local post office. Boats can also be securely parked at Yellow Aloe behind locked gates.
Elandsberg Eco Tours Safari
For those who want to learn more about the local flora like rooibos and fynbos, two different safaris on offer. The rooibos tour takes guests to a plantation where all aspects of the plant and its cultivation are explained and discussed. Guests are also introduced to the processing plant to experience the full processing of the rooibos – from leaves to the packaged and primed product.
The other tour focuses on fynbos; one of the most vibrant and most varied plant biomes in the world. Discover how these plants cope with the sweltering, dry summers, how they pollinate, protect themselves against pests, and so much more! This is followed by a visit to some of the beautiful rock formations in the area where you can learn how these – and the surrounding mountains – were formed and how they affect the ecology of the Cape Floristic Kingdom.
Cederberg Heritage Route
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. The Heritage Route hiking trails make this beautiful area accessible to visitors via the use of charming community guest cottages in the Moravia Mission villages on the eastern side of the Wilderness area, together with other guesthouses in or nearby Clanwilliam on the western front.
Please take note that the community trail guides are not trained and accredited tourist guides, but members of the local community who have a wealth of knowledge about the area, and are well experienced to guide you to your destination.