Cederberg Bike Trip – 2 Day gravel and tar road trip (overnight at Cerderberg Oasis)
The Cederberg motorcycle route is a two day route of roughly 250 to 300km per day covering well know roads such as the Karoopoort, R355 (longest gravel road in the WC), Katbakkies Pass, and Blinkberg Pass. While most of the mentioned roads are gravel roads there are also some scenic stretches of tarred roads on this trip.
Day 1 Route:
* Areas marked in red are gravel roads.Get it on Google Maps
Day 2 Route:
* Areas marked in red are gravel roads.Get it on Google Maps
Cederberg Bike Trip Highlights:
- Du Toitskloof Pass
- Mitchells Pass
- Prince Alfred Hamlet
- Theronsberg Pass
- Tankwa Padstal
- Blinkberg Pass
- Grootrivierhoogte Pass
- Cederberg Oasis
- Gydo Pass
- Bain’s Kloof Pass
Cederberg Bike Trip Report:
A Day of playing catch-up. Cape Town to Cederberg Oasis.
Day one was an early morning start from Welgemoed where I realized that my chain had seen better days. There was however no time (or any shops open yet) to solve the problem and I had to make do by just adjusting the chain tension.
I set off on the N1 in the direction of Paarl from where I took Du Toitskloof Pass where I would meet up with the rest of the group. Unfortunately due to struggling with my chain I arrived late at our meeting point and just missed them.
And so my race started to catch up with the group.
I raced onward through Slanghoek to Ceres via Mitchell’s Pass knowing that I had to catch them at some point.
At Ceres I quickly filled the steed with gas knowing that fuel stops would be non-existent later on. Once fully fueled the race began to Prince Alfred Hamlet where the group were stopping to buy meat for the nights braai.
I finally caught up with the group in front of the local butchery preparing to head off to Tankwa Padstal but as I stopped realized my chain needed to be set again. Aish… what a mission this was becoming.
I waved them goodbye and after setting the chain as best as I could the race started again.
I took the Sarel Cilliers gravel road which is a shortcut between Prince Alfred Hamlet and Theronsberg Pass. This was a great condition gravel road and gave me the opportunity to appreciate the beauty of barren landscape in this area.
The next stop was Karoopoort to the R355 (longest gravel road in the western cape) to try to catch the group again at Tankwa Padstal.
The ride through Karoopoort was very enjoyable but as soon as the R355 started I knew this was to be a grueling road ahead.
The road was so badly corrugated, and with my already limp chain, I could not muster speeds above 60km/h without shaking everything to bits. I wondered how much of my bike would be left when reaching Tankwa Padstal.
I had to stop often to check if the chain was holding up as well as to rest my hands and wrists from all the shaking.
On the plus side, it was truly peaceful every time I parked the bike. There was nothing around as far as the eye could see.
As I reached the turn-off for Swartrug Rd that leads to Katbakkies Pass. I had to decide whether to continue to Tankwa Padstal or head for Katbakkies. The reason for this was that I did not know if the group was still at the Padstal or on their way to Katbakkies yet. I decided to opt for the latter and took a left on the Swartrug Road.
After the badly corrugated R355, the Swartrug Road turned out to be heaven on earth. The views were wonderful, the road condition nearly perfect, it offered some tough inclines, and various spots to stop to appreciate the surroundings.
I came across this rock formation after one of the steep inclines and had to stop for some photos.
After the quick break, I rode onward to a braai spot at the beginning of Katbakkies Pass. I knew the group mentioned they would make lunch there but had no Idea if they were still there or not. Upon reaching an empty braai spot, and after resetting the chain once more, I decided it best to just head onward to Katbakkies Pass.
Now Katbakkies Pass is a marvel and though the pass has been tarred to preserve the flora in the area the views are simply magnificent.
I stopped at the end of the pass to enjoy a quick pre-packed lunch and coffee while enjoying the beauty around me. It was simple harmony and I felt as if I could spend hours there just being one with nature.
From the foot of Katbakkies the gravel road started that leads to the road for Cederberg Oasis our overnight stop. This gravel road once again did not disappoint and was in great riding condition. I reached the turn-off for the road to Cederberg Oasis in no time.
After enjoying the gravel road through Swartrug and from Katbakkies I was in heaven, but when I reached the gravel road that leads through the Cederberg to Oasis I was even more in my element! This road was absolutely fantastic! The road snakes through the valley between the mountains and every view was to die for.
The first pass on this road was Blinkberg Pass. This pass is also tarred to preserve the flora in the area but also did not disappoint.
The lovely gravel road continued at the end of the pass and I reached a lookout point on the crest of a hill. As I was by then halfway en-route to our overnight stop I decided to spend some time there and enjoy the views.
Shortly after dismounting my workhorse a smaller part of the group caught up with me.
I checked my chain tension again, thereafter we set off in small groups, as to not eat too much of each others dust, thirsty for some refreshments at the oasis.
We rode over Grootrivierhoogte Pass, multiple low water bridge crossings, and through the lovely valley on some of the greatest gravel road stretches I have encountered.
The gravel road crisscrossed its way through the mountain and kept me on my toes in corners, especially in the uphill and downhill sections.
We reached the Oasis in time for rugby match in their “Honesty Bar” followed by an evening of stories shared around the camp fire.
The second day started off with a hearty breakfast at Cederberg Oasis after which we settled our bills for the camping and honesty bar.
We repacked our bikes and set course back to Cape Town via the same gravel route we entered the Cederberg Mountain.
Right from the start I realized that my chain was now on its last breath and stretched to its limits. I could no longer adjust the chain to resemble anything near a tentioned chain and knew it was to be a day of nurturing the bike home.
I had no choice but to keep to the lower end of speed levels which resulted in me eating everyone’s dust as they passed by.
The great fun started in the downhill sections where I could no longer use gears to slow down the bike. This made for some exciting braking maneuvers in downhill sections.
After what felt like forever we reached the end of the gravel road from Cederberg Oasis and the start of the tarred road to Die Dorp Op Die Berg.
We needed to refuel at Die Dorp Op Die Berg as this is the only place to find fuel in the area and some of us were running on fumes by then (must be before 13:00 as they close early). This was also a good time to check tire pressures as the rest of the trip was on tar. And yes, I tried one last attempt at adjusting the chain tension!
The next stop was Gydo Pass to take a breather and marvelous photos while overlooking the scenic plateau.
We continued onward to Ceres through Prince Alfred Hamlet an then again through Mitchell’s Pass until we reached the R43 to Wellington turn-off.
Our final stop for the trip was Bain’s Kloof Pass where we had a quick chat, said our goodbyes and headed home after another fantastic weekend of riding.
Cederber Bike Trip Videos:
Cederberg Bike Trip Gallery:
Link to their website: Click here
Cederberg Oasis offers affordable tented camping with all bedding included. You can also pitch your own tent if you prefer. The venue offers a fully stocked bar and restaurant. No electricity for camping but free Wifi and phone charging points available in the bar/restaurant.
Important Notes For Planning This Bike Trip:
- Ensure you have enough fuel for this trip by either carrying a reserve tank or planning carefully according to your fuel range as there are no petrol stations between Ceres and Cederberg Oasis and back to Die Dorp Op die Berg. You can get fuel at a premium per 5l at Cederberg Oasis if need be. Also Remember Die Dorp Op Die Berg only serves fuel until 13:00 and the only next stop is Prince Alfred Hamlet.
- The Karoopoort road can be extremely slippery after / during rainfall.
- The R355 between Karoopoort and Tankwa Padstal can be badly corrugated after / during rainfall.
- Cellphone reception is very limited if not non-existent. Recommend to not do this trip on your own in case something goes wrong.