About Tafelberg and Spout Cave Trail

Start: Driehoek Farm, on the road to Algeria, north of Citrusdal, after the Uitkyk Pass
Finish: Driehoek farm
Duration: roughly 8 hours; an overnight hike, set off in the afternoon of the first day
Fitness: moderate fitness, and an affinity for steep climbs
Our tip: you'll need a permit to do this hike; in summer take along enough water and always hike the Cederberg with an all-weather jacket
Contact: CapeNature who have offices at Algeria, or phone ahead to ensure a permit

The Cederberg is renowned for its wilderness. Its vastness stretches between the Middelberg Pass, near Citrusdal, and the Pakhuis Pass, just outside Clanwilliam.

Its peaks, its sand rock formations, the brilliance of the blue sky overhead, and the ensuing silence and solitude that accompany any party setting out for days of wilderness hiking, are what gives it its reputation.

There are numerous caves in which to overnight, and it is unusual to come across any other hiking party, unless on one of the less difficult, more popular trails.

Tafelberg is Afrikaans for 'Table Mountain'. It is the second highest peak in the Cederberg range of Mountains (the highest is Sneeuberg). It is also one of the most recognisable mountains in the area because of its flat top - a great hulk of sandstone.

Getting to the top is quite a climb. And to summit the huge slab of rock that is the mountain's top is only possible along one gully on its 'backside' (to find it, you aim for the nek between it and the Spout – the little mountain alongside Tafelberg).

The shortest route up the mountain is through Welbedacht kloof on Driehoek farm via Welbedacht Cave (where you can overnight). There is a zigzag path up Welbedacht Kloof that crisscrosses a stream en route.

After about an hour a cairn marks the track up to Welbedacht Cave. This path heads steeply uphill before joining a jeep track. Take a right here, looking out for the trail to your left up to the Spout Cave (just below the nek).

This route is the most popular route, and in peak season, it is possible you will end up sharing Spout cave with other hikers.

Once on the nek follow the path down to the Pillar Box, an incredible rock formation that looks more like a column. Now you will begin to make out the gully up the back of Tafelberg. This is the tricky part as the last scramble involves a set of chains and a good clamber up a chimney.

Once up the chains a series of cairns mark the route across the top of the mountain to bring you to some of the most awesome views you have seen for a while, if ever! Look out for the 'chicken heads' and the 'flying saucer' – various rock formations at the top of Tafelberg.

The longer route, but incredibly scenic, starts also at Driehoek Farm and climbs through a valley lined with cedar trees and red sandstone formations to Die Rif – an overnight camping space just below Gabriel's Pass.

From Die Rif there is a good walk to the path up to Tafelberg from Welbedacht Kloof. The rest of the hike up to the summit is the same. On the way down, you return via Welbecht Kloof.

Need to Know

WhereStart and finish at Driehoek Farm on the road to Algeria, north of Citrusdal, after the Uitkyk Pass.

WhenAvoid when raining or when it is too hot

How muchPrices on request.

TelephoneCapeNature on +27 (0)21 483-0190

OvernightThe closest town is Clanwilliam, in Western Cape

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