About the challenge
South Africa is a land of incredible contrast and beauty. It possesses a vast array of landscapes, from dense tropical bush to open desert. Our trek takes us into the stunning Cederberg Wilderness Area, a land of colourful mountains and incredible rock formations. We have the rare opportunity to experience a genuine wilderness: the beauty of crisp clean air, stunning scenery, crystal clear streams and pools – real tranquillity of nature. Our challenge culminates at the summit of the world-renowned Table Mountain, overlooking Cape Town and the Atlantic Ocean. This is a challenging and unique African experience ending in the fantastic city of Cape Town.
Day 1: Fly London to Cape Town
Our flight to Cape Town usually takes us over the Cederberg Wilderness Area; night in flight.
Day 2: Cape Town – Kromrivier
Drive approx 3.5 hours
Upon arrival in Cape Town, we transfer north to our accommodation at Kromrivier, in the Cederberg. The scenery on the drive will whet your appetite for the trekking to come! We will be spending the next four days hiking in this pristine wilderness environment. Night cottages.
Day 3: Kromrivier – Kromrivier
Trek approx 12km / 4-5 hrs
Today’s orientation hike gives us a flavour of what is to come and gives us a chance to become accustomed to trekking in the intense heat. We hike out down a jeep track, then turn left into Nature Conservation Land and climb up to the Stadsaal (City Hall) with its fantastic sandstone rock formations; we literally explore all the ins and outs. A short walk down a sandy jeep track brings us to the ancient Bushman paintings, a rock art panel painted by the indigenous San tribesmen. From here our route takes us along a jeep track back to the top of the pass and back down to Kromrivier. Night cottages.
Day 4: Kromrivier – Sandrif
Trek approx 22km / 8-10 hrs
We leave early to avoid the strong sun as much as possible, and follow the Kromrivier up the valley, slowly rising to Disa Pool, where it is possible to cool off before hiking up between the Sneeuberg – the Cederberg’s highest point – and its neighbouring peak, the Pup. It’s a stiff climb, but there are fabulous views once we reach the top. We descend the shale band of Kokspoort hill, taking our time and enjoying our first view of the famed Maltese Cross. This monolithic rock formation is truly impressive. We continue down the Dwarsrivier valley, eventually reaching the Observatory, which is a popular place to view the clear night skies. We meet the vehicles and transfer to camp (approx 4-5km) at Sandrif. The facilities are good and you can opt for a swim in the river – very refreshing after this long day. Night huts.
Day 5: Sandrif – Driehoek
Trek approx 15km / 9-11 hrs
After breakfast we start our trek with a 500m zig-zagging ascent up to the magnificent Wolfberg Cracks. The cracks, sheer cliffs on either side, have been weathered over many years and in places are only a foot apart. They are simply awesome and make for interesting and testing trekking. We continue to Wolfberg Arch, another of the amazing rock formations for which this unique area is so renowned. The sandstone arch is 30m high and provides fantastic views, and a great lunch-stop! We skirt Tafelberg Mountain, soaking up the impressive views of this flat-topped, steep-sided slab of rock 1968m high. We then walk downhill to Driehoek, at the northern end of the range, through stunted cedar trees and eroded sandstone sculptures. Night huts.
Day 6: Driehoek – Algeria
Trek approx 14km / 8-10 hrs
Our morning’s trek starts with good trails as we pass Mied Se Berg; we then have a tiring gradual uphill climb before us to reach the top of Uitsigkloof (1400m). Your body should be used to the dry heat and hilly terrain by now, and you can relax and enjoy the spectacular views! Crossing a wide plateau, our trail descends fairly steeply into the valley, taking us to an old farmstead at the bottom of the Cederberg Pass. We have a short walk through trees to our night-stop. Night huts.
Day 7: Algeria – Waterfall Trek – Cape Town
Trek approx 8km / 4 hrs
Today we enjoy a short out-and-back trek (approximately 4 hours) to a lovely waterfall. There should be an opportunity for a leisurely dip before packing up and heading for the bright lights of the city of Cape Town. Free to explore the city for dinner. Night hotel.
Day 8: Table Mountain
Trek approx 10km / 6-7 hrs
Today we climb up and over what is probably the most famous mountain and landmark in the southern hemisphere – Table Mountain. We start our day at the renowned Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens and hike up through Skeleton Gorge to Maclears Beacon. This, the highest point on Table Mountain at 1086m, serves as a great lunch stop. We cross the ‘table’ with unsurpassed views over both Cape Town and the Atlantic Seaboard before descending via Platteklip Gorge. Our final evening allows us to soak up the atmosphere and highlights of Cape Town and includes a celebration meal at The Africa Café, which offers traditional fare from all over the African continent. Night hotel.
Day 9: Depart Cape Town
Free time to explore the delights of Cape Town. Depending on our flight schedules, you may have time to take the beautiful boat trip to Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela and other political prisoners were imprisoned during the apartheid years; it is now a museum. You can also go on a township tour, which is an enlightening view of the city. Or you may just want to soak up the views and do some last minute shopping. We meet up later in the day to transfer to the airport in time for our international flight home.
Day 10: Arrive London
Discover Adventure reserves the right to change the route or itinerary for safety reasons should local conditions dictate.
The trip cost includes all accommodation, as well as all flights and transport; bedding except sleeping bag liner; all meals except two as specified in the itinerary; entry fees or permits to Reserve areas we trek through, and any other sites visited as part of the itinerary. Experienced Discover Adventure leaders and doctor (depending on final group size) are also included, along with a local support crew of guides, cooks and drivers.
It does not include personal travel insurance, airline fuel supplement if charged by the airline, two meals as specified, tips for local crew, or international departure tax. It also does not include any extra food, drinks, personal items or entry to any optional tourist sites you may wish to visit. Remember to allow extra for drinks, souvenirs & other personal expenses. Please note that costs may fluctuate and we have no control over any changes. We strongly recommend you carry a credit card in case of personal emergency.
Group flights leave from London Heathrow or Gatwick, (we regret that we are unable to book connecting flights) and are booked through Discover Adventure Ltd under ATOL licence 5636. By travelling with Discover Adventure you are protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). We are most likely to fly with South African Airlines or British Airways and Comair, however, we don’t always fly with the same airline so this is a guideline only. You will usually receive confirmed flight details several months before departure. Our itineraries are always based on current flight schedules and are therefore subject to change by the airline. If you prefer to book your own flights please ask us for a land-only cost.
Throughout the trek we stay in small huts or cottages in beautiful locations with shared rooms and en suite facilities. These are fairly rustic, but wonderful places to stay. The hotel in Cape Town is comfortable and clean with private facilities but not luxurious! Please do not expect the same standards as you would in a tourist hotel in the UK!
All food is included when trekking. The food is great and there is plenty of it. 2 meals as detailed in itinerary are not included.
Being vegetarian or having other dietary requirements is not usually a problem provided you let us know well in advance. If you know there are plenty of foods you cannot eat you may wish to bring extra snacks from home so you can top up your energy supply. Please feel free to ask us for advice. Any meals not included are listed in the itinerary and are generally when we are in towns or cities and you are free to explore and try other culinary experiences! There is always something to suit every budget.
Discover Adventure Crew
Your trip will be led by experienced Discover Adventure leaders. Our leaders are selected for their experience in harsh wilderness environments, knowledge of travel in remote areas, friendliness and approachability, sense of humour and ability to safely and effectively deal with any situation that arises. You are in very safe hands with a Discover Adventure leader.
All our leaders are from the UK or other English-speaking countries. Most work for us on an ad-hoc basis and have ‘real’ jobs in-between trips! We never send our leaders to the same destination for months on end – we want them to be as enthusiastic about your trip as you are. Although our leaders are trained in expedition first-aid, they are accompanied by an expedition doctor or medic (dependent on group size), who is there to look after the well-being of the whole group and deal with any incidents. They help the leaders to ensure the trip runs smoothly and encourage you when things get tough. The number of crew looking after you will depend on the final size of your group, but at Discover Adventure we pride ourselves on our high leader: trekker ratio and believe it leads to greater trip enjoyment as well as excellent trip safety.
Our main luggage will be carried by vehicles that move the bags and equipment between the night-stops each day. Space each night is limited and hard-sided luggage is not recommended, so we suggest your kit is packed in a soft rucksack or expedition kitbag. Ask us about our specially-designed low-cost kitbags if you don’t have one already. You should bring a daypack to carry for items needed during the day as you will not have access to your main luggage until the evening.
Local Support Crew
Our local support crew is made up of local guides, drivers and cooks. Your local guide knows the local area well, and is a great source of knowledge about local customs and lifestyles. Drivers and cooks do not always speak much English but are very friendly and approachable. The Discover Adventure crew work closely with the local crew to ensure your trip runs smoothly and safely.
Your leader will arrange a collection of tips for the local support crew at the end of your trek. Tipping is not obligatory, but once you see how hard they work on your behalf you will be happy to donate something! All our local crew are paid wages, but bear in mind that the wage in this country for many people is far below what you would spend on a normal night out.
Your safety, and that of the rest of the group, is our highest priority. Our trips are designed and planned with safety in mind. Your crew will be equipped with radios and emergency satellite phones, extensive medical kit and other safety apparatus where necessary. They always have access to our 24-hour emergency UK back-up. Our leaders are responsible for safety on the trip, and will make any changes to the itinerary they deem necessary should local conditions dictate. Pre-trip administration – such as compulsory medical questionnaires and travel insurance – is all done with your safety in mind.
Preparing for the challenge
We trek mainly on sandy jeep tracks, though there are some rocky paths. There are some steep inclines both up and down through the rock formations and hills; some of these sections involve some loose shale.
You will trek approximately 80km on this trip overall. Because of the varied terrain and lack of accurate maps, it’s impossible to give more accurate daily distances. It’s also much more useful when training to think about the hours you need to walk for, and the type of terrain you will be trekking over. We are always happy to talk through the trip in more detail with you if you are worried about your fitness at any stage.
We travel at good times for trekking but we can still be exposed to unseasonal weather, such as rain, strong winds and storms.
Clothing & Equipment
We are travelling through varied terrain and could be exposed to bad weather at any time so be prepared for all weathers and temperatures. We provide you with a detailed packing kit-list on registration, as well as details on useful discounts you are entitled to as a Discover Adventure customer. We are always available if you need advice.
Our challenges attract people of all levels of experience and fitness, all ages and backgrounds. We expect all participants to train hard in advance to achieve this challenge, but we respect everyone’s limits. We design our challenges so that everyone can go at their own pace: this is not a race. For logistical and safety reasons we sometimes need to re-group, so the front-runners will find themselves waiting for the slower ones. Please relax, and remember that this is a team effort that enables people to achieve their personal goals and earn sponsorship.
Passport & Visa
A valid ten-year passport is essential; it should be valid for at least 6 months after entry into South Africa. There is currently no visa requirement for UK citizens. Other nationalities should check entry requirements.
We insist that you have had a Tetanus injection in the last ten years, and highly recommend protection against Polio, Hepatitis A and Typhoid. Malaria is not prevalent in South Africa. A Yellow Fever certificate is essential only if arriving from an infected area. You should always check with a GP or travel clinic for up-to-date travel health advice as it does change.
For most people, the main attraction of travelling to a different country is to see new sights and enjoy new experiences. Sometimes those new experiences can make life harder or more inconvenient than you may like, such as toilet hygiene or different food, or simply a different attitude to solving problems. This is all part of the challenge you are signing up for! Travelling exposes us to different challenges – all of which help broaden our horizons. We can guarantee that coming face-to-face with experiences outside your normal ‘comfort zone’ will help you bond with your fellow trekkers and provide you with plenty of things to laugh about! A sense of humour and sense of adventure are two of the most important things to bring with you!
Worldwide Sustainable Tourism
Long before Responsible or Sustainable Tourism became a recognised phrase, we designed and ran our trips to ensure they made minimum impact on the environment and a positive impact on the local communities we pass through.
Discover Adventure Projects
We are supporting a tree-planting project in Peru and a children’s home in Tanzania on a long-term basis. If you would like to ‘give something back’ please consider donating £5 to our projects when you sign up.
We encourage all our customers to offset emissions connected with their trip. You can offset at any time in the lead-up to departure by visiting Climate Care via our website and making a donation to a worthwhile project supported by them. Alternatively, if you wish to take more practical action in the UK you can volunteer for a day with TCV and work on an environmental project local to you. Work may include construction footpaths, dry stone walling, creating wildlife habitats or planting trees in your community. Volunteer today at www.tcv.org or call 01302 388883.