Clanwilliam can be an oasis, even in 40°C heat
West Coast travels don't have to mean coastline coasting. Head inland and discover the quieter (though warmer) small towns kissed with beautiful surrounding rivers, mountains and nature reserves bursting to welcome you as its guest of honour.
Clanwilliam, in particular, recently stole my heart.
It has always been known as one of those super hot places you drive through on your way to another destination. Maybe you'll stop at the Spar, like many people do, and go stand in the air-conditioned aisles for a bit - just to deal with the 40 or more degrees heat beating down on you.
Situated in the Olifants River valley, close to the Cederberg’s 100-kilometre-long mountain range flanked by vineyards and citrus orchards, it's ideally located for hikers, foodies, and all-round nature lovers, much deserving of a city break.
Stay in one of the town's luxe B&B guest houses and opt for daily excursions to take in everything the area has to offer. Apart from the wild flower season that peaks around mid-August, the Cederberg Wilderness Area that's an all-year attraction and the Clanwilliam Dam, there is much more to see and do here.
Where to stay, what to do and experience:
In the centre of town is this little oasis. Pool. Lush garden. You almost won't believe this is possible in a warm town like Clanwilliam. But believe it!
The owners have green fingers like you won't believe, and are very proud of owning Clanwilliam's most diverse garden.
The absolute raw, rugged peaks, and clean mountain air and streams of the area provide the ideal growing environment for rooibos. Try the Rooibos Experience at Velskoendraai Farmer's Market.
A must-see when visiting the Cederberg - especially if you love to take photographs - these open caves and rock formations feature some Bushmen rock paintings from ancient times.
Go cycle or take a drive to taste some of the best local beer. A pale ale in the heat of the day at this microbrewery, situated on the Dwarsrivier Farm, is bitter, but makes for such a sweet moment.
If you're not a fan of beer, go for a refreshing wine tasting on the very same farm. From here you'll have views of the valley, the vineyards and the towering mountains. A perfect way to spend a relaxing day in the Cederberg.
Have some tea (or coffee), or perhaps a refreshing beverage would be more to your liking, while seated in this pretty garden tea room on Clanwilliam's main road. From the veranda you have the most beautiful view of the Cederberg mountains.