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De Pakhuys, Clanwilliam, Western Cape, South Africa

Place: De Pakhuys, Pakhuis Pass, Western Cape
Closest Town: Clanwilliam (28km)
Facilities: Standard ablutions facilities, which likely have hot water…hard to say because we had no water whatsoever
Water: Dam nearby, rivers on the farm and walking distance to river and waterfall
Surroundings: Splendid, rugged Cederberg
Turf: Informal, mostly gravely ground, fair amount of shade
Distance from CT: 256km
Privacy: You could certainly escape immediate neighbours on non-busy weekends.
Highlight: I’d imagine the river and waterfall that we unfortunately didn’t have time to see, bouldering/ rock climbing for those that way inclined
Cost: I seem to remember something along the lines of R70 per person (roughly)
Contact: Website, Email, +27 (0)27 482 1879
GPS Coordinates: -32.119946,19.059219
De Pakhuys Campsite
De Pakhuys

A fully accurate account of camping at De Pakhuys is slightly impossible because we only stayed for a night and left early the next morning to look at a farm. However, here is a slightly biased account of our night:
I’ll start with the few ‘obstacles’.
1)      We phoned to book a site for a random Friday night and were told to simply pitch up. I like this policy, but, it comes with its downfalls, apparently. We arrived at about 9pm on Friday and, as expected, the office was closed and farmhouse pretty silent. We presumed we could just proceed to the campsite, but missed the small sign for it and subsequently spent about half an hour chugging around the wrong side of the farm trying to locate it. This failed, so we backtracked to the farm house to find a sign or a person. Or even a door to the farmhouse. No luck. When we retreated out the gate, we found the inconspicuous sign and made our way in the opposite direction to the campsite. Worse luck. It was access controlled – guarded by a brand new electric gate that required a token or card.  We headed back to the farmhouse and decided to finally pester the people in a cottage adjoining the main house. They informed us that the owners went to bed ages ago, but kindly (and drunkenly) offered us their token. We didn’t hesitate to take it and arrived back at the campsite. Finally. In one minute flat, our tent was up, our bed made, the chairs out, the fire was blazing and, importantly, our glasses were full.

2)      Some farm workers seemed to be having a raging Friday night jol. “I like to move it move it” echoed off the Cederberg mountains and reached us almost as flawlessly as it left the speakers. We found it quite funny. Even two hours later at midnight.
3)      It’s bed time i.e. time to mission to the ablutions, brush teeth, pee and get a stash of water for next to the bed. There’s no water. Whatsoever. Okay, there is. One drop, which Mike tried to get before it evaporated. I panic. Not because of the toilet. I’ll wee anywhere. I need water. So, in the middle of the night, we make our way to the dam. We can’t reach the water. Mike laughs. I swear and then laugh.
That’s the unfortunate side of De Pakhuys.
I have no doubt, however, that it is a brilliant place to spend some time. The website reveals all the kinds of things in the vicinity that I love about the Cederberg and has the added benefit, for those that care, of some pretty well known bouldering/ rock climbing spots.
The actual campsite seemed pretty accommodating too- offering plenty sites away from immediate neighbours, lots of shade options, the ablutions were great (albeit our experience of no water), and for those travelling from afar, wifi is available…a pretty unique find in the mountains of the Western Cape.
I’ll go back because I’m curious. But, I’ll arrive early. And I’ll take water.

Very early morning
Vague early morning view

Extra Info:
Rocklands Boulders (for climbing enthusiasts)


Jamaka Organic Farm, Cederberg, Western Cape

Place: Jamaka Organic Farm, Cederberg, Western Cape

Closest Town: Clan William (about 25km)
Facilities: One basic ablution a little far from most sites, and very far from the end ones
Water: Nicely situated on the Rondegat River
Surroundings: Cederberg
Turf: Beach-sandy, some more grassy, shady
Distance from CT: 224km
Privacy: Great! (A rare thing when camping)
Highlight: The River
Cost: R120 per campiste per night (includes 4 people), R30 pp extra
Contact:, 027 482 2801, 082 466 4331,
GPS Coordinates: -32.320794,19.014587

Campsite on the Rondegat River
Road to Jamaka Farm

Finding a hike

River pool at the older campsite

Newer campsite

Our spot 

My first impression of the Jamaka campsite was a good one. It seemed that someone finally got the design of a campsite right. The entire campsite is essentially separated into two parts and the part we camped at felt a little more private and less resorty than the other (I believe it is the newer part of the campiste). Almost all the sites are situated on the Rondegat River (with direct access to it), they’re generously spaced out, but purposefully separated by trees and bushes that work well to keep out views of the neighbours and the sounds of their accompanying conversations. There’s also a big field in the middle of the campsite where camping is restricted, which enhances the feeling of privacy.
There are two main problems though. First, the only ablution block on our part of the campsite was small and is situated on the other side of the field- stupidly far from the sites further down the river. Second, there is little to do in general, but be lazy. The river is better suited to kids and the walks on the farm are short and fairly disappointing, which resulted in a bumpy 45 minute drive south to Sanddrif to climb up to The Cracks.
If you want a place to lounge around and drink beer with a bunch of mates or a place where your kids can roam free, it’s a great spot. Personally, I wouldn’t rush back. 

Sanddrif, Cederberg Conservancy, Western Cape

Place: Sanddrif, Cederberg Conservancy

Closest Town: Towns are not close
Facilities: Great ablutions, cottages, kids area
Water: On the Dwars River
Surroundings: Slight mountain plateau, typical rugged Cederberg scenery
Turf: Shady, grass patches along the slightly bushy banks of the river
Distance from CT: Roughly 200km
Privacy: Limited campsites, but close proximity to neighbours if you do have one
Highlight: Full moon on a sandy patch of the river bank, The Wolfberg Cracks
Cost: Roughly R160 per campsite per night (last visited in 2008)
Contact:, +27 (0)27 482 2825
GPS Coordinates: S 32° 30’ 14’’, E 19° 15’ 28’’

Sunset at Stadsaal Caves
Dwarsrivier, Sanddrif

Stadsaal Caves

View from Stadsaal Caves

View of Central Cederberg

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View Sanddrif, Cederberg Conservancy, Western Cape in a larger map

My experience of Sanddrif was slightly tainted by the Easter weekend that coincided with my visit. I am admittedly a slight snob at these times, but purely because it seems like some campers crawl out the woodwork over long weekends…those folk that come armed with their enormous 5-roomed tents, security spotlights that get strategically scattered along the borders of their territory, washing lines, kitchenettes, cupboard systems, couches, deep freezers (no lies), a soda stream machine, and a trailer of beer, brandy and bullshit.
It was one of those weekends. The three of us arrived unfashionably late on Good Friday morning. It didn’t feel very good. We were confronted with a colony. A settlement. A laager of modern day ox wagons. And a sea of disapproving stares. We crept onto our site wedged between at least ten people on either side in giant temporary homes, unfolded our chairs, sat down and stared at each other. One wise person went to find beer. And wine. While we contemplated whether we were ready for Easter in what felt like the camping East Rand.

If I try and see beyond the spotlight and hear myself think on the other side of the Soda stream farts, inappropriate jokes and loud bellows, Sanddrif is a great campsite and arguably one of the most pleasant out of “season.” A short walk takes you to a brilliant rock pool (where tons of silly people jump off high ledges) with a splendid view downstream. The Wolfberg Cracks are on its doorstep, roughly an hour uphill over a few boulders, and it’s close to sundowner paradise, the Stadsaal Caves.
I’d go back, but on a normal weekend. Working against this is the fairly long drive from Cape Town, but then again the mission to get there works in favour of a quiet and beautiful camping spot in the heart of the Cederberg.

Klein Kliphuis, Pakhuis Pass, Cederberg

Place: Klein Kliphuis, Pakhuis Pass, Cederberg, Western Cape

Closest Town: Clanwilliam (13km)
Facilities: Nice ablutions but in a slightly odd, unused and collapsed structure, braai areas
Water: Nope
Surroundings: Rugged Cederberg
Turf: Shady, soft, green grass
Distance from CT: 240km
Privacy: Good…but purely because we were the only folk there
Highlight: Convenience
Cost: R30 pppn
Contact: Joan 0274822564

Admittedly, we didn’t stop here to admire the scenery or explore the terrain of the farm or Pakhuis Pass, it was purely chosen as the most convenient, non-commercial stopover. It isn’t well advertised or something I’ve heard anyone mention or recommend, so a little jolt in my memory from having passed it before was quite lucky.
I doubt that too many people stay here. It’s situated a few km into the Pakhuis Pass from Clanwilliam– a location slightly far, awkward and lacking for the avid (and average, for that matter) Cederberg weekend traveller. But, the convenience of a campsite very close to Clanwilliam that isn’t part of that disastrous dam “resort” made it worthwhile, as did the fact that the four available sites were empty, except for us. Camping is dirt cheap, the owners very accommodating and the location functions as a perfect stopover on a Friday night for adventures further inland.
Unfortunately, I have no pics since we arrived late and left early.