Trail Daze - Cederberg, South Africa | Where It All Started

May 14, 2015 at 6:26
by Ewald Sadie  
While visiting the Cederberg mountains in 2014, I quickly realized this uniquely beautiful and surreal vast landscape would lure me back to try and capture its magical atmosphere through photography. The emphasis being on try, as the sheer size and unlimited features of this area would make that impossible. It was this same atmosphere, and the idea of simple, uncontested riding and exploring with a couple of friends, without time limits, that inspired the whole Trail Daze project to begin with.

The Cederberg mountain range lies roughly 300km from Cape Town, near the small town of Clanwilliam. We opted to access the range from Ceres' side as the gravel road is usually less rough and rutted, and more suitable for a fully loaded, non off-road, van. The highest part of the range goes up to 2026m with the dominating characteristic being sharp, reddish sandstone rock formations. Summers are very hot and dry, and not the best time to be out there. On the flipside, the winter is when this area receives its rain and the nights can get extremely cold, so the best time of year to get out here is autumn or spring.

bigquotesArriving in the dark left the imagination running wild until we woke up in the morning to our first view of the Cedarberg - an almost Martian landscape, with wind and rain-eroded rock giving way to trails that shouldn't have been possible to make, but somehow manage to find their way through the labyrinth. Amazing fast flowy trails, interspersed with techy rock sections kept everyone challenged, the "woops" of joy echoing off the cliffs and blokes' banter flowing just as fast as the bikes - this is mountain biking at its purest. - Harry Millar

Photo Epic - May 2015
Photo Epic - May 2015
  You can't help but get excited about the riding that lies ahead as you approach these hills.

Photo Epic - May 2015
  Into the Ceres valley, towards Gydo pass we headed.

Photo Epic - May 2015
Photo Epic - May 2015
  Rupert watering the plants.

Photo Epic - May 2015
Photo Epic - May 2015
Photo Epic - May 2015
Photo Epic - May 2015
  From Ceres it's still a long way to go to our final destination, but the aptly named 'Oasis' gave us a good excuse to stop for some grub, and a couple of cold ones.

Photo Epic - May 2015
Photo Epic - May 2015
  Not many pubs as old school as this still around - no barman, just an 'honesty box' and a pen and paper.

Photo Epic - May 2015
Photo Epic - May 2015
  Pretty sweet cottage we hooked up. Cozy, but had everything we needed.

Photo Epic - May 2015
Photo Epic - May 2015
Photo Epic - May 2015
  First light.

Photo Epic - May 2015
Photo Epic - May 2015
Photo Epic - May 2015
Photo Epic - May 2015
  Everything checked. Water and snacks packed. Nothing to do now but hit the trails.

Photo Epic - May 2015
Photo Epic - May 2015
  One of the natives keeping an eye on things as we head into the mountains. Klipspringer, aka 'Rock jumper'.

Photo Epic - May 2015
Photo Epic - May 2015
Photo Epic - May 2015
Photo Epic - May 2015
  Fast, technical, rocky singletrack as far as the eye can see.

Photo Epic - May 2015
Photo Epic - May 2015
Photo Epic - May 2015
Photo Epic - May 2015
  As a photographer, documenting these trails often prove tricky as the number of photogenic rock features can be downright overwhelming.

bigquotes"A 4 hour drive to find new trail always presents the usual worrying anxiety about missing out on riding the local trails and getting guaranteed satisfaction. Thank you for wanderlust. It takes you to better places. The Cederberg is where I found that better place and the place that allows 27.5,165mm travel bikes to excel on the rock hard descending trails. The location and sheer beauty will fade all cognitive dissonance into oblivion. If Meatloaf wrote a song about this place, it would be called Flaming Eagle out of Hell. - Rupert von Tutschek

Photo Epic - May 2015
Photo Epic - May 2015
Photo Epic - May 2015
  The steep and tight, off-camber rocky trails can be pretty tricky to get right. If you do get it wrong out here, help will take some time to get to you, so it's best to take it easy and get out in one piece.

Photo Epic - May 2015
Photo Epic - May 2015
Photo Epic - May 2015
Photo Epic - May 2015
Photo Epic - May 2015
  Some more of the locals going about their daily routine.

Photo Epic - May 2015
Photo Epic - May 2015
Photo Epic - May 2015
Photo Epic - May 2015
Photo Epic - May 2015
  With an unprecedented dry summer this year, the greater Cederberg area is as barren as can be. But somehow nature still manages to provide us with crystal clear, ice cold water to make sure we stay alive.

Photo Epic - May 2015
Photo Epic - May 2015

bigquotesCederberg is the perfect place to spend time out of the civilization - no cell phone signal, no noise except birds and baboons. The trails are a perfect mix between slow technical sections and fast single tracks at the middle of an incredible landscape - the best I've ridden in South Africa. - Matthieu Hamel

Photo Epic - May 2015
Photo Epic - May 2015
Photo Epic - May 2015
  Most of the dams and reservoirs have dried up completely, and it's clear to see it's been long since the last drops fell from the sky.

Photo Epic - May 2015
  We looped back to our cottage for a spot of lunch and some time to chill before heading back out for another run.

Photo Epic - May 2015

bigquotesA massive wilderness area sporting crazy rock formations, technical trails and loads of sun mean that the Cederberg is a very special place to ride. Throw in starry night skies, braais and beers with friends and you're guaranteed a perfect weekend mountain bike getaway! - Daniel Dobinson

Photo Epic - May 2015
Photo Epic - May 2015
Photo Epic - May 2015
Photo Epic - May 2015
Photo Epic - May 2015
Photo Epic - May 2015
  Late afternoon, dusty, fast and flowy trails. Check.

Photo Epic - May 2015
Photo Epic - May 2015
Photo Epic - May 2015
  Last rays of the day before we head back for a braai and some beers.

Photo Epic - May 2015
Photo Epic - May 2015
Photo Epic - May 2015
Photo Epic - May 2015
Photo Epic - May 2015
Photo Epic - May 2015
  One more advantage of getting away from the city. The Milky Way at its finest.

Photo Epic - May 2015
Photo Epic - May 2015
  Goodbye Cederberg. Until we meet again.

Photo Epic - May 2015
Photo Epic - May 2015

Riders: Matthieu Hamel and Daniel Dobinson

Experience your own Trail Daze with iRideAfrica.
@EVOCSports_SA
@Hullabaloo.co.za


MENTIONS: @esphotography @irideafrica, @evoc






5 Comments

  • 6 0
 One of the best trips I have been on last October. Trails are super fun even without any built features...
  • 5 0
 Yea, We were there just a couple of weeks ago !
  • 5 0
 Great article, some excellent photos!
  • 4 0
 EPIC.
  • 2 0
 Lekker shots Ewald! Looks like it was a great trip for you and the okes.

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