Sweeping mountain views, bizarre rock formations, pristine pools, exquisite rock paintings and superb hiking trails have long attracted nature-lovers to CapeNature’s Cederberg Wilderness hub, the Algeria Forest Station. But the launch of new MTB trails and a unique musical camp-out this weekend mean that there’s never been a better time to visit. Here are Fiona McIntosh’s top reasons to visit this weekend.
To join the Jimmy Nevis camp-out
The young, Capetonian, alternative pop singer/songwriter and producer leads a supporting cast of local music talents, including The Voice SA Season 2 winner Craig Lucas and guitar and beatbox duo Acoustic at an intimate music gathering at Algeria from 15 to 17 February 2019. What could be more idyllic than chilling out on the shaded riverbanks? Enjoy the sunset glow on the majestic mountains as you listen to fab music at this secluded, family-orientated campsite.
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To ride the new MTB trails
The two new trails were opened this week and offer some exciting new challenges for MTB fans. The 6.6km Honey Badger Trail climbs up behind the campsite and the 3.3km Rock Jumper Trail crosses the road to climb the slopes on the other side then follows a contouring path through old, cleared plantation land before looping back to Algeria on the dirt road – it comprises moderate climbs up old jeep tracks and some fun riding down the purpose-built single track.
The trails can be ridden separately (by taking a couple of short cuts you can reduce the Honey Badger to 5.7km or 3.3km), or together, giving a total loop of nearly 10km with 340m of elevation gain (230m on the Honey Badger and 110m on the Rock Jumper).
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To stay at Algeria’s stunning eco-cabins
If you don’t fancy camping, book into one of the six, great value cottages, each sleeping up to four adults plus two children on a sleeper couch in the lounge. Designed to maximise the spectacular location and sense of space, the self-catering units have big windows and lovely stoeps with wooden benches on which you can sit and enjoy the views and starry night skies.
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To star gaze
The surrounding high peaks cut out most of the light pollution from settlements outside the valley making the Cederberg night skies spectacular. Stargazing from Algeria is always a treat, but for even better viewing, take the half-hour drive to the Cederberg Astronomical Observatory on the Dwarsrivier farm. An amateur astronomer’s paradise, the small observatory opens its doors to visitors on a Saturday night. Local astronomy buffs lay on a short informative slide show and introduction to the night stars, before opening up the telescopes to public viewing.
If you’re a fan of stargazing, then join us on our Food Stars Tour this October.
+27 (0) 21 483 0190; [email protected]
A Cape Town based freelance writer and photographer Fiona McIntosh has the enviable life of adventuring in the name of work. An adrenalin junkie, she’s happiest when stomping up snowy peaks, climbing sheer rock faces, white-water kayaking, diving with sharks and foraging for her supper. Book titles include Slackpacking, A Guide to South Africa’s Top Leisure Trails, Hike Cape Town and Dive Sites of South Africa & Mozambique.